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Additional resources for Abraham Lincoln: A Legacy of Freedom

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Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. Cozzens, Peter. Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign. Chapel Hill, NC : University of North Carolina Press, 2008. , and Harold Holzer. Lincoln in The Times: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, as Originally Reported in the New York Times. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2005. Donald, David H. Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. Ferguson, Andrew. Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press; distributed by Publishers Group West, 2007.

Lincoln suggests that some wielded the Bible and prayer almost as weapons to curry God’s favor for one side or the other. But this only produced contrary readings of the same book. On one side stood those who read a Bible that they steadfastly believed sanctioned slavery. On the other were those who understood it to encourage the abolition of slavery. ”) Lincoln instead builds a case for an inclusive God, one who does not take the side of a particular section or party. As the address builds toward its final paragraph, it takes an unexpected turn.

Lincoln invited his countrymen to weigh their own history on the scales of justice. He did this knowing that no nation is comfortable facing up to its own misdeeds. With malice toward none, with charity for all … Lincoln closed by asking the nation to enter a new era, armed not with enmity but with forgiveness. These words immediately became the most memorable expressions of the second inaugural. Well aware that the nation was nearing the close of its most destructive armed conflict, ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A LEGACY OF FREEDOM ˆ 59 one that pitted brother against brother, the president was about to ask Americans for acts of incredible compassion.

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