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men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.
About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of this government, and consequently those which ought to shape its administration. I will compress 10 them in the narrowest limits they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations : Equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the 15 support of the State governments in all their rights as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the general government, in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at 20 home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people, a mild and safe corrective of abuses, which are lopped by the sword of revolution, where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of repub- 25 lics, from which there is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a welldisciplined militia, our best reliance in peace, and for the first moments of war till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; econ- 30 omy in public expense that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public 35 reason; freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and
freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected.
These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation : the wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment; they should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the
services of those we trust; and should we wander from 10 them in error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps
and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.
I repair then, fellow-citizens, to the post which you have assigned me. With experience enough in subordinate 15 stations to know the difficulties of this, the greatest of all,
I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it. Without
pretentions to that high confidence you reposed in our 20 first and greatest revolutionary character, whose preëmi
nent services had entitled him to the first place in his country's love, and had destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence
only as may give firmness and effect to the legal adminis25 tration of your affairs. I shall often go wrong through
defect of judgment; when right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my errors, which will never be intentional; and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not, if seen in all its parts.
The approbation implied by your suffrage is a great consolation to me for the past; and my future solicitude will
be to retain the good opinion of those who have bestowed 35 it in advance to conciliate that of others by doing them
all the good in my power, and to be instrumental to the
happiness and freedom of all. Relying, then on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power to make. And may that infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.
GETTYSBURG ADDRESS • BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN. (NOVEMBER 19, 1863) FOURSCORE and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, 10 and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of 15 that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper
that we should do this. But, in a larger sense we cannot dedicate — we cannot 20 consecrate we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, 25 the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ;
that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS •
BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN. (MARCH 4, 1865) FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN : At this second appearance to 5 take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four
years, during which public declarations have been con10 stantly called forth on every point and phase of the great
contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else
chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to my15 self; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and en
couraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil
All dreaded it — all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war
seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide 25 effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war;
but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, 30 not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in
the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar
and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the Government claimed no right to do more than to 5 restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked 10 for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the 15 sweat of other men's faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered — that of neither has been answered fully.
The Almighty has his own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the Providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman'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
that this 30