Blurry photograph of Abraham Lincoln giving a speech surrounded by men in suits.

Teaching the Second Inaugural

On this page, teachers will find resources to close-read and teach Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Students will find resources to better understand this historic speech.

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is an example of Lincoln’s masterful oratorical skills. It marks an important moment in our nation’s history, as Lincoln reflects on the cause of the Civil War and share his hope for future of the country. As a primary source document, this speech offers a powerful example of logical reasoning paired with figurative language to move and inspire an audience.

We’ve created a variety of resources to support close-reading this speech with students. On this page you will find the entire speech text, an abridged speech that maintains Lincoln’s message and intent, and an annotated version of the abridged speech to support historical understanding. We’ve also generated a vocabulary list of terms that may be unfamiliar to students, and a teacher-created lesson plan for analyzing an historical speech. Finally, at the bottom of the page is a link to a lesson plan for teaching the Second Inaugural Address.

Speech text and Resources

Here you will find links to the speech text and resources to support close-reading activities of the speech.