"With Malice Toward None" - Original 2nd Inaugural

This facsimile image of President Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address contains the famous phrase: 

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds...

President Lincoln chose those words because he was urging the North to reconstruct the South with forgiveness and without "malice." The whole nation had been wounded, and it was time to "bind up" those wounds in a fair and charitable way.

People in the North considered the "civil war" to be a "war of rebellion." Confederate soldiers were "rebels" to Northerners. Lincoln worried that such attitudes would continue when the war was over.

When he gave this speech, in March of 1865, the war was nearly over. President Lincoln lived long enough—until April 15, 1865—to know that the North and the South would soon be reunited. He did not live long enough to help that reunion go smoothly.

Click on the image to see it in greater detail.


Do you see any similarities between the state of affairs, in the US, during 1865 and 2016? Explain your answer.

What do you think Lincoln meant by his choice of words—"with malice toward none"—and to whom were those words directed?

Do you think those same words could equally apply in 2016?

If so, who would implement them? In other words ... is implementing such a concept—"with malice toward none...let us...bind up the nation's wounds"—the government's job, the people's job or everyone's job?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Oct 19, 2019

Media Credits

Facsimile of the original address which President Lincoln gave to his secretary, Major John Hay on the 10th of April, 1865 - four days before he was shot at Ford's Theater.

Courtesy, Library of Congress.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

""With Malice Toward None" - Original 2nd Inaugural" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Oct 19, 2019.
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