What do Abraham Lincoln's "Inaugural Address" and "The Gettysburg Address" have in common and how are they different?
Both Addresses tried to find common ground and values for Americans. Lincoln made his inaugural address (1861) five weeks before the Civil War broke out. In it he tried to appeal for a reconciliation with the South to avoid the war, although the address is firm in rejecting challenges to the Union. Lincoln tried to reassure Southerners that he would not interfere with slavery and famously shifted the burden of the Civil War to Southern States:
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of the civil war.
Of course, in the Gettysburg Address (1863), all hope of reconciliation had been lost as the Union and the Confederacy had been fighting the Civil War for two years. At Gettysburg Lincoln linked the cause of the War to the revolutionary ideals of freedom that had been elaborated by those who fought for American Independence in 1776. Lincoln argued for a "new birth of freedom" raising the war to the high moral ground of the American Revolution.