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The Presidential Inauguration of 1865

lincoln-inagurationWith a new American President about to be sworn in in a few weeks, I thought I’d take a look back at the 1865 inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. With the Civil War still raging, Lincoln hadn’t really expected to be re-elected for a second term. And on the assumption he wouldn’t be re-elected, Lincoln wrote, “it will be my duty to so cooperate with the president-elect as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration, as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save afterwards.”
He was re-elected. He carried 54 percent of the popular votes, in all but the northern states of New Jersey, Delaware, and Kentucky. His second inaugural speech on March 4, 1865, was far from a happy one, even though a Union victory was days away and slavery near an end. Many think he delivered his victory speech to avoid harsh treatment of the South, in evidence of the speech’s conclusion.
“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; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States, was the first in his second inauguration in 1865 to include African-Americans in the inaugural parade.

The description of Lincoln at his inaugural ball in the March 8, 1865 New York Times states: “Mr. Lincoln was evidently trying to throw off care for the time; but with rather ill success, and looked very old; yet he seemed pleased and gratified, as he was greeted by the people. He wore a plain black suit and white gloves.”

Of course, unknown to him at the time, John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, George Atzerodt, Lewis Paine, John Surratt and Edmund Spangler, a few of the conspirators involved with his assassination were present in the crowd at his inauguration.



  1. synve says:

    Great post.

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