March 4 - 1865 - Abraham Lincoln's Second Inauguration
As he mentioned at the start of his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term in very different circumstances than prevailed in his first inauguration. Instead of staring down the barrel of a potential Civil War, Lincoln took the dais on the precipice of victory, having led the Union war effort and freeing the slaves. Therefore, Lincoln's address reflected on why the war happened, specifically pinpointing the role of slavery. Lincoln then invoked God's providence, noting that the price that would have to be paid for slavery might have to equal the unpaid debt of slavery. He stood as a victor, decrying the assumption made by Southerners that they had God on their side, while also subtly acknowledging the Union believed God was on their side as well. His famous final passage seemed to speak about reconciliation, but he also promised to bring the nation together in the newly forged Union, made from the war. Exactly how that would have played out is uncertain, though, because of one of the people in the crowd, Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth.