Lesson 6: Examining the words of President Lincoln

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1 EIGHTH GRADE Lesson 6: Examining the words of President Lincoln TOPIC: SPEECHES, WRITINGS, AND/OR WORDS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN Indiana Academic Standards: Standard 1 History Describe the abolition of slavery in the northern states; conflict and compromises associated with westward expansion of slavery, such as the Missouri Compromise (1820), the Compromise of 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854); and the continued resistance to slavery by people such as Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Core Standard 1C: History: Civil War and Reconstruction to Describe the impact of slavery on the United States. Explain the causes of sectionalism and the Civil War, including key events, individuals, and movements. Describe the policies, practices, and consequences of Reconstruction. Standard 1 History Analyze the causes and effects of events leading to the Civil War, including development of sectional conflict over slavery. Core Standard 1C: History: Civil War and Reconstruction to Describe the impact of slavery on the United States. Explain the causes of sectionalism and the Civil War, including key events, individuals, and movements. Describe the policies, practices, and consequences of Reconstruction. Standard 1 History Describe the importance of key events and individuals in the Civil War. Core Standard 1C: History: Civil War and Reconstruction to Describe the impact of slavery on the United States. Explain the causes of sectionalism and the Civil War, including key events, individuals, and movements. Describe the policies, practices, and consequences of Reconstruction. Standard 1 History Formulate historical questions by analyzing primary sources and secondary sources about an issue confronting the United States during the period from Core Standard 1D: History: Chronology, Analysis, and Interpretation. Recognize historical perspective. Formulate questions about issues confronting the United States, and use a variety of sources to compare and contrast American culture. (OVER) 1 Sisters of Providence Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, IN Phone: Fax:

2 Time needed: This lesson requires writing and some research, so an appropriate amount of time will need to be given. Please note that the vocabulary in these writings may be unfamiliar to some students. Appropriate reading/comprehension skills are needed or assistance may need to be given to students. Teachers and parents are encouraged to make copies of the speeches/writings of Abraham Lincoln. Objectives: 1.) To analyze six different speeches/writings of President Abraham Lincoln. 2.) To discuss how these speeches/writings were received by Northerners, Southerners and slaves. 3.) To compare and contrast Lincoln s first and second inaugural addresses. 4.) To evaluate the effectiveness of these speeches/writings. 5.) To summarize the importance of each of these speeches/writings. Materials needed: Handouts of the speeches/writings of Abraham Lincoln or direct students to specific pages on

3 Activities Activity #1: Have students pretend they are Southern plantation owners reading the words of President Abraham Lincoln s first inaugural address. Have the students write a journal entry expressing their feelings about Lincoln. Activity #2: Have students pretend they are a newspaper reporter assigned to cover the White House. Have them pretend it is the evening of March 4, 1865, and they have just listened to President Abraham Lincoln s second inaugural address. (They were also present for the first inaugural address in 1861.) Have the students write an editorial about these speeches. To make it more interesting, have the students work for major newspapers in Northern and Southern cities. Activity #3: Have students pretend they live in Springfield, Illinois, in 1861 and have been a friend or neighbor of Abraham Lincoln for many years. Have them write a journal entry about how they felt after bidding Lincoln and his family farewell from the train depot in February Activity #4: Have students select being either a Northern or Southern newspaper editor. They have either heard in person or read in the newspaper Abraham Lincoln s House Divided speech of June Have the students write an editorial on the speech from their particular viewpoint. Activity #5: Have students research the Emancipation Proclamation. Have students compare and contrast the viewpoints of slaves, Northerners and Southerners to this proclamation. Activity #6: Have students pretend they are the mother or father of a soldier who lost his life at Gettysburg in July of Have them journal their thoughts or insights into President Abraham Lincoln s Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.

4 A HOUSE DIVIDED (JUNE 16, 1858) On June 16, 1858, Abraham Lincoln delivered what became known as his House Divided speech at the close of the Republication State Convention in Springfield, Illinois. At this convention, Lincoln accepted his party s nomination for the United States Senate, a seat that was held by Stephen A. Douglas. In the years prior to this speech, many events had occurred pushing the nation dangerously close to civil war. Most notably were the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred Scott decision. Lincoln was concerned about the nation splitting in two and the expansion of slavery. Below are the first few lines of this address: If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could better judge what to do, and how to do it. We are now far into the fifth year, since a policy was initiated, with the avowed object, and confidence promise, of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease, until a crisis shall have been reached and passed A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved I do not expect the house to fall but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new North as well as South.

5 FAREWELL ADDRESS (FEBRUARY 1861) In February 1861, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois, for his March inauguration in Washington, D.C., as president of the United States. He gave the following short speech to people gathered at the Great Western Railroad Depot in Springfield: My Friends: No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell. February 11, 1861, Springfield, Illinois

6 INAUGURAL ADDRESS (MARCH 4, 1861) Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States in November In those days, the president was inaugurated in March, thus Lincoln s inauguration took place March 4 in Washington, D.C. By that date, six Southern states had followed South Carolina s lead and had seceded from the Union. The following quotes are from his inaugural address to the nation: Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States, that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their property, and their peace, and personal security, are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him, who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so. It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our national Constitution. During that period fifteen different and greatly distinguished citizens, have, in succession, administered the executive branch of the government. They have conducted it through many perils; and, generally, with great success. Yet, with all this scope for precedent, I now enter upon the same task for the brief constitutional term of four years, under great and peculiar difficulty. A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by national or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. May Congress prohibit slavery in the territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect slavery in the territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearth-stone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature. March 4, 1861, Washington, D.C.

7 EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION (JANUARY 1, 1863) Announced in September 1862 after the Battle of Antietam, a Union victory but the bloodiest day of battle in the Civil War, this proclamation freed the slaves in the rebel states unless they returned to the Union by January 1, The proclamation could not be enforced in the rebel states since they had seceded (left) the Union, but this proclamation changed the war into a fight for liberation (freedom). After the signing of this document, African Americans were allowed to officially fight in the Union armed services. The proclamation, while supported by many people in the North, did have its critics. Also, it did not free slaves in the border states that remained in the Union. Only a Constitutional amendment would truly end slavery in the United States the 13th Amendment which was ratified (approved) in December Here are portions of that proclamation: I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, [Lincoln listed those areas in rebellion against the federal government] are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary selfdefense; and I recommend to them that in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

8 GETTYSBURG ADDRESS (NOVEMBER 19, 1863) On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln participated in ceremonies to dedicate a portion of the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as a National Soldiers Cemetery. The Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, ended in a Union victory, but the casualties were great for both sides more than 5,000 men died. This battle proved to be a turning point in the war for the North. The main speaker for the day was Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours to a crowd of more than 15,000 people. Lincoln s speech, very short, was extremely powerful. Below is a part of this speech: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, 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 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 the nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

9 SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS (MARCH 4, 1865) Reelected to office in November of 1864, Abraham Lincoln focused this speech on what would happen after the war ended. The following are some of Lincoln s thought-provoking and wise words: On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dread 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 effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated [try to avoid by prayer] 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, 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 restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Fondly do we hope fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. 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.

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