In Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address before the end of the civil war, he displays the affects of the civil war and then expresses his hope for the future. Lincoln strives for peace and unity of a torn nation. He achieves this purpose though his utilization of elemental rhetorical strategies.
Lincoln's honesty that is prevalent throughout the piece creates direct credibility to his audience. He ordains a humble perspective among his people. Lincoln connects his people to one nation by implying that “all dread it, all sought to advert it. Pronouns such as “we”and “us” link together a nation lost in strife. At the same time, Lincoln also establishes his authority as he speaks by demonstrating his knowledge of the matter. He identifies the problem and then speaks of his hope for the future though he has “no prediction in regard to it is ventured."
By intentionally establishing one common purpose among all people, North or South, he brings unity to a nation that is in desperate need for nationalism. Lincoln does not act superior to his people, instead he states that progress of arms is “... well known to the public as (myself).” He then continues to say, “…I trust, reasonably satisfactory to all.” Although Lincoln's authority is inevitable, he is able to relate to his people on a more personal level acknowledging that he is no different than them.
Lincoln displays logic to bring the civil war into realistic perspective of society. An example of this is seen when he states that, “One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves.” By implementing this, Lincoln lays a foundation which the war was based on, ultimately leading to progressing forward as a nation. Lincoln emphasizes that “neither party”wanted the war to begin, knew how long it would last, and neither is willing to compromise. Then he logically reiterates that both parties read the same bible and pray to the same God. Lincoln logically asserts that asking “God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces.... The prayers of both could not be answered." This reasoning was fundamental to Lincolns message.
Lincolns affiliation to the Lord is undeniable. Considering that the majority of people at his time were Christ followers, Lincoln appeals strongly to the moral standards and beliefs of his people. Lincoln portrays a great deal of trust in the Lord and clearly demonstrates God's sovereignty among all people. He believes that the “almighty has his own purposes” and that the judgment of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” He emphasizes that with the power and strength of God, it will become possible to “bind up the nation's wounds.” This personification of the nation shows the need for peace. Some of the characteristics of Lincolns address can be interpreted as an allusion to the bible. The objectives of Lincolns speech is much like those of the biblical character, Salomon who holds high expectations for his people and evaluates their progress.
Lincoln is effective in addressing his purpose to bring a nation together because of his sincere authority, reasoning, and his connection to his people. He gives this speech in a crucial point in the war, in hopes that peace can result from it. By addressing both the North and South as won his motivation for unity is accomplished.