Lincoln's Greatest Speech
November 11, 2010
Most of us have at least heard parts of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. We might even have read its chiseled words on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It is a memorable speech to be sure. However, I believe Lincoln’s greatest speech, only 703 words long, is his Second Inaugural Address.
The pundits of Lincoln’s time gave the speech mixed reviews. But, Lincoln’s words have stood the test of time. Its final paragraph inspires me in today’s circumstances:
"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."
The Library of Congress has an excellent website if you’d like to further explore this address.
Our library contains many biographies about Lincoln. My favorite is Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Our online resources are also fun to explore on this topic. Go to "Online Resources", click on "Research Databases", and go to "Dictionaries and Encyclopedias". World Book Online is a resource that is especially user friendly.
To me, Lincoln is a touchstone in our history, and his speeches still ring true.