Speeches of Abraham Lincoln


What made Abraham Lincoln an extraordinary leader was his ability to communicate by shaping words into reasons and emotions. Considered as the best writer among American presidents Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught man who grew up in the frontiers, how was he able to inspire many people and leave a mark through his words?

Lyceum Address, 1838, Springfield, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln delivered “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions” on January 27, 1838, to the Young Me’s Lyceum in Springfield, Illinois. When he gave this speech, he was only 29 years old, a novice lawyer and legislator. It emphasized how slavery can be a threat to the United States. He implicitly acknowledged the death of an abolitionist writer, Elijah Lovejoy, as he condemns violence and Americans to strive to become better children of God and the nation.

Peoria Speech, 1854, Springfield, Illinois

This speech was about Abraham Lincoln’s objection to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which led him to escalate his political career. He criticized the morality of slavery. He emphasized the rights of slaves to be treated humanely rather than an animal.

The House Divided Speech, 1858, Springfield, Illinois

As the newly established Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln as their candidate against the Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, he delivered “The House Divided Speech” in the Hall of Representatives.

Many believed that a biblical introduction for a speech is too radical and politically incorrect; however, pursuing the opening “A house divided against itself cannot stand” clearly indicates how the representatives address issues, fractioned and ramified.

Despite losing against Stephen Douglas, this speech awakened the people and gave a sense of conscience regarding slavery and faction issues.

Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, 1859, Wisconsin

Abraham Lincoln began to earn popularity as the Republican who debated against Stephen Douglas. He delivered as speech not as a legislator but as a distinguished guest on the last day of the fair.

His speech contains passages regarding labor and education. It shows how he was able to speak about different matters beyond his professional field. Abraham loathed farming, as he deliberately hates hard and manual labor, ironically talked about agriculture. He tried to evade speaking about slavery; hence, he emphasized his insight about economics, work, and individuality.

Cooper Union Address, 1860, New York

Abraham carefully crafted the speech he delivered as he accepted an invitation to lecture at Henry Ward Beecher’s Church in Brooklyn, New York, in October 1859. He initially made an impression on a New York audience. Abraham exposed the inconsistent positions of Senator Stephen Douglas and Chief Justice Roger Taney about how the founding fathers believed in the regulation of slavery. He asserted that Douglas misled the people on what the Founding Fathers believed.

He urged his fellow Republicans to stand for what they believe in and to serve in full honesty and fairness.

Farewell Address, 1861, Springfield, Illinois

As Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois, he paid tribute to his friends and neighbors before departing for Washington, D.C., as he lodged a special presidential train.

Address at Independence Hall, 1861, Philadelphia

During Abraham Lincoln’s journey to Washington, D.C., he delivered numerous stops, and one of these stops occurred in Philadelphia on February 22, 1861.

He made an impromptu speech at the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed. In his remarks, he indicated why he refuses to accept the secession of the Southern States. Symbolically delivering the speech in Independence Hall, he contended that the Union depended on democracy and protected people’s freedom and rights.

First Inaugural Speech, 1861, Washington, D.C.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States. In his first inaugural speech, a Republican leader did not receive a warm welcome from Southern slave states because of Lincoln’s political view about slavery. To prevent the Southern States from seceding, Abraham Lincoln assured him that he would not interfere with slavery.

Gettysburg Address, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The most famous speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln, which changed the world in two minutes, was the Gettysburg Address.

As the administration reaches its turning point during American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln urged to honor the sacrifices of the men who laid their lives for freedom and also successfully emphasize America’s national purpose and the necessity to continue fighting.

It transformed not only the Civil War but the ordeal of achieving universal equality. It forged the United States of America’s soul, to serve and strive to fight for truth and fairness.

Speech to Ohio Regiment, 1864, Washington D.C.

Despite his disappointment about the outcome of the war and the chances of getting re-elected, Abraham Lincoln expressed his gratitude to the sacrifices of the war-weary soldiers to achieve the nation’s purpose. He voiced his vision of democracy and the future of the country.

Second Inaugural Speech, 1865, Washington, D.C.

Abraham Lincoln appeared exhausted and beleaguered in his second inaugural speech on March 4, 1865, but still delivered a powerful message to the country amidst the Civil War. He justified the purpose of the war as the abolition of slavery and the efforts to keep America united. Abraham expressed the horrors that were brought upon the war, brothers fighting brothers, but it was the price the nation needs to pay to liberate the slaves. In the conclusion of his inaugural speech, he urged each citizen to look ahead, forgive, and live with compassion as they work hand in hand to unite the nearly torn nation.

Last Public Address, 1865, Washington, D.C.

Many believed that Abraham Lincoln’s last public speech prompted his killer, John Wilke Booth to assassinate him on the fateful night of April 14, 1865.

Two days before General Robert Lee surrendered, President Lincoln expressed his support to Black Suffrage, permitting Black Americans the right to vote.

His last public address concentrates his vision to reconstruct and adopt a new state constitution.


Abraham Lincoln showed the power of words through his speeches and redeemed the founding fathers’ vision to live in liberty, justice, and truth. His talent has been a gift to the nation; thus, he continued to inspire and give hope throughout the years.


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