Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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March 4th
Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
When Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol on March 4, 1865, the end of the Civil War was in sight. Sherman had cut through the South, and Grant was slowly tightening the Union vise around Lee’s army at Petersburg. Yet Lincoln did not speak of triumph. Instead, he turned to the task of healing a broken nation. He reminded his listeners that the war would end the evil of slavery, and suggested that it was God’s will that both North and South pay for that evil. He urged his countrymen to maintain their faith in God’s wisdom as they began to “bind up the nation’s wounds.”

Lincoln’s second inaugural address, like his Gettysburg Address, is inscribed on an inner wall of the Lincoln Memorial.

. . . Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

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.
American History Parade
1789
The U.S. Constitution goes into effect as the first session of Congress meets in New York City.

1791
Vermont becomes the fourteenth state.

1829
The White House is overrun with partygoers when Andrew Jackson holds an “open house” to celebrate his inauguration.

1837
The Illinois legislature grants a city charter to Chicago.

1865
Abraham Lincoln delivers his second inaugural address.

1933
Frances Perkins, secretary of labor in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, becomes the first woman to serve in the Cabinet.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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