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Analysis of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address - Essay Example

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Analysis of Lincolns Second Inaugural Address
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Download file to see previous pages However, the speech was also intended to try to bring together the two warring halves of the nation that was still involved in the last-gasp efforts of the South to secede from the union. As a result, only about half of the population truly recognized Lincoln as their leader and commander in chief. In this speech, Lincoln attempts to use rhetoric to bring the nation back together again, emphasizing how both North and South had benefited from the slave market and how both North and South should now take up the expense of rebuilding the nation that had been ripped apart over the issue. In making this argument, Lincoln strips away the North’s ability to sanctimoniously condemn the South for profiting off others’ suffering at the same time that Lincoln removes the South’s ability to deny all responsibility for the cost of the war. Within Lincoln’s speech, one can identify all three of the essential elements, exigence, audience and a set of constraints, which Lloyd Bitzer suggests are required to create rhetorical communication. Like many of his public speeches, Lincoln kept his second inaugural address short and to the point, presenting a cogent rhetorical argument that addresses the exigence of reuniting the warring factions, the audiences of both North and South and the set of constraints in realizing that human nature would stand in the way of progress.
The speech clearly outlines Lincoln’s foundational ideas regarding the Reconstruction he envisioned happening once the war was officially over by releasing both North and South of their objections to working together. The exigence, as it is described by Baxter, emerges as the impending end of the war and national response to the necessary rebuilding of the South. Many of the cities and towns had been destroyed, farmlands were now graveyards and the large plantations had been stripped of more than half of its labor force and required to hire ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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