Compare and contrast Abraham Lincoln's First and Second Inaugurals, including a discussion of how his views changed. 

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The first and second inaugural speeches of Abraham Lincoln are framed by their historical contexts. At the time of the first inaugural speech, which Lincoln delivered on March 4, 1861, seven states from the Deep South had seceded from the Union and the Civil War was about to begin. At the time of the second inaugural speech on March 4, 1865, the Civil War was all but over and Reconstruction was about to begin.

In his first inaugural speech, as the threat of war was palpable, Lincoln issued a warning to the South that the federal government would protect its property—by which he referred to enclaves such as Fort Sumter in South Carolina, which would soon afterwards be attacked. He emphasized that the Constitution was written to form a more perfect Union and that Union could not be abolished without an agreement between all the states. He would see to it that federal laws were obeyed even in the South. If the South attempted to take up arms against the North, they would meet with a firm...

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