The approaching sesquicentennial of the Second Inaugural, well, inaugurates a month and a half of momentous and bittersweet events, and closes out the 150th celebrations. March 4th, April 3rd, April 9th, April 14th, May 9th. We can relive the dates and realise how quickly the war drew to a close, after decades of its gathering storm. Sadly, from here on ’til 2027 the Reconstruction150 milestones will be far more bitter and far less sweet.
Observers looked forward (whether with pleasure or apprehension) to a Second Inaugural Address in which the unyielding war president would celebrate his vindication and promise just deserts for the vanquished traitors in the South who had brought so much misery upon the country.
But that isn’t at all what the country got. Instead, Lincoln delivered a brief, sorrowful sermon on the ultimate meaning of America’s terrible ordeal.