How does Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address show that his views have changed since his First Inaugural Address?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

President Lincoln’s second inaugural address showed that his views had changed from when he gave his first inaugural address. When President Lincoln first took office, our country was splitting apart. Several states had left the Union already, and there was concern additional states could leave. As a result, President Lincoln had to make it very clear that he had no intention of ending slavery where it already existed. If he came out and said he was against slavery and wanted to end it, more states might have left the Union. He might also have lost the support of some people in the North who were not against slavery but were in favor of saving the Union.

In his second inaugural address, President Lincoln made it very clear that he opposed slavery. He made it clear that the Civil War was about the issue of slavery, which he considered to be an evil institution. He believed it was our duty to solve the slavery issue. By this time, it was clear the North would win the war. This allowed President Lincoln to use this address to try to heal the wounds the Civil War had caused and to focus on reuniting the country.