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their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of

four years.


My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking 400 time ; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your framing under it ; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it 405 would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this 410 favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. "The Government will not assail you.

You can have 110 415 conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.

You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend it.”

I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. 420 We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every

battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the 425 chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.



1. Look up in some good history of the United States the important political events that preceded Lincoln's inauguration as President. What unusual circumstances characterized the inauguration of Lincoln ? How did these events and circumstances determine the character of Lincoln's first inaugural address ?

2. What was Lincoln's great purpose in this address ? Outline the logical divisions of the address. What seems to have been Lincoln's purpose in the introductory paragraphs ? in the conclusion ? What is the relation of the introduction and the conclusion to the main thought?

3. Give an illustration, in this address, of Lincoln's faculty of discussing the essential question. Are there any digressions from his chief thought ?

4. Give five distinct steps of Lincoln's argument for the rule of a majority.

5. Give Lincoln's reasons for the perpetuity of the Union general, historical, geographical.

6. How does Lincoln show the folly of secession, so far as the principle at stake is concerned? If secession be unsound in principle, could it ever be wholly successful in practice ?

7. State carefully Lincoln's thought in regard to the authority of decisions of the Supreme Court.

8. What is the final test of the meaning of a law? What is the necessary condition for the successful enforcement of a law ?

9. What do you imagine the feelings of Lincoln were as he was delivering this address?

10. Compare this inaugural address with any others that you have read. In what respects do you consider this one superior to the others?


Page 137. 2. What custom is meant ? 3. Where were the · Fellow-citizens” to whom he spoke? t. prescribed. 6. execution. 9. What are some of the “matters of administration" usually discussed in inaugural addresses? 11. apprehension. 12. uccession. 13. Does “ administration” mean the same here as in line 9? 27. recanted.

Page 138. 28. What is meant by “the platform”? 35. inviolate. 36-44. What states advocated this doctrine most vigorously? 43. exclusively. 45. What does the expression “ balance of power” mean here? Has it any other application ? 48. What comparison is implied in the words “our political fabric”? 19. denounce. 55. pretext. 57. reiterate.

Page 139. 62. susceptible. 65. consistently. 69. controversy. 70. Who are meant by “fugitives from service or labor"? 82. “ is the law' means, determines the validity of the law. How does the same principle apply in regard to morals and conduct? 88. unanimity.

Page 140. 93–96. Notice that Lincoln deals with the essential point of the question under discussion and simply puts aside all the minor and unsubstantial thoughts which some people debated so much. 95. consequence. 102. humane, jurisprulence. 107. immunities. 96-108. Why are all these statements in the form of questions? Do you think they express indirectly Lincoln's own opinions ? To whom does he leave the decision ? Was this characteristic of the man? 109. What is a “mental reservation ”? 110. construe. 111. hypercritical. 116-117. Do citizens of our country ever do this? (The income tax part of the Wilson Bill may illustrate; or the more recent “ war revenue stamp act.) Show that such people are not “patriotic” in the true sense of that word. 117. impunity. 124. scope, precedent. 126. Why were the difficulties at this time “peculiar”?

Page 141. 127. disruption. What is meant by the “ Federal” Uvion ? 128. menaced, formidably. When had secession been threatened before? Give the circumstances. How does this statement introduce the discussion which is to follow ? Bear in mind the main proposition of the discussion. 129. How do you understand the phrase “in contemplation of universal law”? 131. perpetuity. 134. What is a government's “organic law”? termination. 1:38. What is meant by “ the instrument”? 140. " an association of states who held this theory? 143. Distinguish between “violate” and “rescind.” Why


is the interrogative form stronger than a plain statement of fact would be? 146. What special meaning has “ Descending” as used here? To what “ general principles” does Lincoln refer? 151. matured, 153. What part of speech is “ then ”? What does it modify? 15t. plighted. 146–158. Show that the statements of this paragraph are arranged so as to form a climax. 159. How could one state destroy the Union ? Page 142.

102. vital. 164. What meaning has “motion ” here? 165. What are “resolves and ordinances ”? void. 168. Distinguish between “insurrection” and “revolution.” Give examples of the former in our history; ove example of the latter. 175. practicable. 176. “my rightful masters ”. see Matthew xx. 27, “ And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” 177. How could the people do this? requisite, authoritative. 185. Show that this had not been done during Buchanan's administration. 187. imposts. 191. competent. 192. Name some “ Federal offices." Page 143. 193. Tell when “obnoxious strangers

were forced upon the people of part of this country. What was the result ? 206. exigency, discretion. 208. Has this wish ever been fully realized ? 209. fraternal. 218. What are some of the benefits of having a national Union ? 219. What did the speaker mean by “its memories and its hopes”? 220. ascertain, hazard. 222–224. This language was probably suggested by Shakespeare's lines in the third act of Hamlet:

“Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of soinething after death —
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns — puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of ?”

Page 144. 234. What is meant by “a majority”? a minority”? 2:35. Why from a “moral point of view”? 239 f. Quote from the Constitution to illustrate each - affirmations and negations, guarantees and prohibitions.” 241–244. How does the nature of things make this impossible? 212. specifically, applicable. 246. erpress. 256. acquiesce. 257. alternative.

Page 145. 265. arbitrarily. 269. identity. 272. Give a full interpretation of this thought. 275. How often and in what way do we in America make a record of public opinion ? Distinguish between “opinions ” and “sentiments.” Which of these had been appealed to most strongly during the campaign which preceded Lincoln's election ? 278. Why is “unanimity” impossible? Has there been any time in the history of our country when there was practical unanimity in politics? 279. Why is the rule of a minority impossible in a free country? 281. Show that “anarchy” and “ despotism” are two opposite extremes of government. Where shall “ the majority principle” be placed ? 282 ff. Be careful, in reading this paragraph, to place the emphasis and pauses so as properly to express the sense intended. 283. Give examples of “constitutional questions.” 288. What are the two other great departments of our government?

What are “parallel” cases? 289. obviously. 290. erroneous.

Page 146. 292. evils of a different practice. Give examples of judicial practices different from ours. 293. candid. 296. irrevocably. 297. litigation. 300. “ that eminent tribunal” refers to what? 301. Note this statement well; demagogues have frequently misrepresented Lincoln by quoting only the sentence immediately preceding. What is the relation of this paragraph (lines 282–305) to the main discussion ? 313. Give illustrations to show that no law can be enforced if the majority of the people are opposed to its enforcement — or even if they are simply indifferent in regard to the matter. 318. What was the “foreign slave trade”? 319. ultimately, rerived. 323. What does “physically” mean here? Would “geographically” be clearer? 321. respective.

Page 147. 329. amicable. 333. aliens. 330 ff. What is your answer to these questions? Give reasons for your opinion. 350. What are the modes prescribed for amending the Constitution ? (See Article V of the Constitution.) 352. How does this show Lincoln's attitude toward the Constitution and its amendments ? 354. preferable.

Page 148. 368. What does “implied constitutional law” mean? Did such an amendment ever become finally adopted ? 376. transmit, unimpaired. 378. How would this question be answered in England ? Russia ? 385. How was this question finally settled by the American people? Is this equivalent to saying that God is always with the side that wins in war ? 389. How was this effected by the framers of the Constitution ?

Page 149. 392. vigilance. 400. frustrated. 408. Was there any “precipitate action ” by either party in this dispute? How do the

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