Lincoln’s Second Inauguration

March 4, 1865 – Abraham Lincoln began a second term as U.S. president in Washington, D.C.

The vice presidential inauguration took place first inside the Senate chamber, as Andrew Johnson replaced Hannibal Hamlin. Attending dignitaries included Major General Joseph Hooker (representing the army), Rear Admiral David G. Farragut (representing the navy), the governors of most northern states, Lincoln’s cabinet members, and the nine Supreme Court justices. Lincoln sat in front between the justices and the cabinet.[1]

Hamlin began by delivering a farewell speech. Johnson then delivered a rambling, partly incoherent inaugural address; he had taken whiskey to relieve his typhoid fever and the room was overheated. As Hamlin tried pulling his coattails, Johnson repeatedly mentioned his poor upbringing and told the audience that they too were “creatures of the people.” The speech shocked many spectators.[2]

The officials then proceeded to the east portico of the Capitol for the presidential inaugural ceremony at 12 p.m. An estimated 50,000 people gathered to witness the proceedings, an unexpectedly large number considering the rainy, dismal day. Guests invited to attend the ceremony included famed actor John Wilkes Booth, who had an excellent vantage point. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered sharpshooters at every window and rooftop for Lincoln’s safety. As Lincoln prepared to speak, the sun appeared between the clouds.[3]

Lincoln's Second Inaugural | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural | Image Credit: Wikispaces.com

Lincoln’s address, the shortest since George Washington’s second inaugural (1793), lasted less than five minutes and contained just 703 words on a single sheet of paper. Lincoln did not discuss future policies, instead focusing on restoring the Union, blaming the Confederacy for starting the war, and offering his belief that the war had been God’s punishment for the sin of slavery.[4]

When the speech concluded, U.S. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase summoned the Court clerk to present the open-faced Bible on top of which Lincoln placed his hand. Chase then administered the oath of office. The crowd cheered, cannons fired a salute, and bands played as the ceremony ended. Lincoln returned to the White House with his 10 year-old son Tad and without the security escort that had surrounded him during his first inaugural four years earlier.[5]

The White House gates opened to the public for a three-hour reception at 8 p.m. Lincoln greeted an estimated 6,000 people in one of the largest gatherings ever held in the Executive Mansion. Some guests cut fabric from the expensive draperies for souvenirs. Guards barred civil rights leader Frederick Douglass from participating because of his race, but Lincoln ordered them to escort Douglass into the East Room where Lincoln could meet him.[6]

Two nights later, the Inaugural Ball took place at the Patent Office building. Tickets cost $10 per person and were sold to 4,000 guests, with proceeds going to aid the families of fallen military personnel. The midnight supper included beef, veal, poultry, oysters, salads, jellies, cakes, chocolate, and coffee.[7]

—–

[1] Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox (Vintage Civil War Library, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Kindle Edition, 2011-01-26), Kindle Locations 16952-16992; Long, E.B. with Long, Barbara, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 647

[2] Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox, Kindle Locations 16952-16992; Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005), p. 697-99; Murphy, Richard W., The Nation Reunited: War’s Aftermath (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 16

[3] Clark, Champ, The Assassination: The Death of the President (Alexandria, VA: Time-Life Books, 1983), p. 42-45; Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, p. 697-99; Ward, Geoffrey C., Burns, Ric, Burns, Ken, The Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), p. 360

[4] Clark, The Assassination: The Death of the President, p. 42-45; Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox, Kindle Locations 17022-17043; Long with Long, The Civil War Day by Day, p. 647; White, Howard Ray, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed (Southernbooks, Kindle Edition, 2012-12-18), Locations 57106-57107

[5] Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative: Volume 3: Red River to Appomattox, Kindle Locations 17022-17043; Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, p. 697-99; Ward, Burns, Burns, The Civil War, p. 360-61

[6] Goodwin, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, p. 697-99; Long with Long, The Civil War Day by Day, p. 647; White, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed, Kindle Locations 57106-57107

[7] Long with Long, The Civil War Day by Day (New York: Da Capo Press, Inc., 1971), p. 648; White, Bloodstains, An Epic History of the Politics that Produced and Sustained the American Civil War and the Political Reconstruction that Followed, Kindle Locations 57106-57107

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: