Lincoln was an orator as well as a statesman and many of his speeches will go down in history through all time. In his second inaugural address he made use of the following striking expressions:
"ĎOn the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish; and the war came. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just Godís assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of the other menís faces; but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayer of both could not be answered. That of another has been answered fully. With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the Nationís wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all Nations."
Eloquent, is it not? Beautiful, is it not? And yet there is not a word in it that a child could not understand. Lincolnís English was like himself, simple, forcible, direct, natural, eloquent, full of heartthrobs. As his unadorned language still stirs the heart of every American like the roll of a drum, and as beside it the tinsels, and flowers, and gewgaws of polished speech are but as pulseless marble, so the rugged nature of Americaís greatest man looms above all lesser public men, the spotless, genius-crowned Shasta of our National history.