"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." - (Abraham Lincoln)
When Abraham Lincoln decisively won reelection in 1864, he began working speedily toward finishing the war and figuring out its aftermath. With this clear mandate for governing, the Republicans in the House, with Lincoln's support, approved of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which banned slavery in all territories and states. In addition to the 13th Amendment, the future 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were being discussed to protect minorities as well. To assist freed slaves, Congress also created the Freedmen's Bureau to offer food, clothing, and shelter to former slaves in the South. Lincoln did his part as well, issuing a Proclamation for Amnesty and Reconstruction, which offered full pardons and amnesty to all Rebels, except those high level officials involved in governing the Confederacy.
Lincoln wasn't given a chance to finish his work, but his thoughts and visions were eloquently saved for posterity in his second inaugural address, delivered a month before his death and considered one of America's greatest speeches. With the war nearing the end, Lincoln struck a conciliatory tone, reminding both sides that they prayed to the same God for victory and that neither side could divine God's will.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors