Second Inaugural Address
March 4, 1865
President Lincoln gave his second inaugural address in March 1865. The Civil War had been
raging for years, and hundreds of thousands of Americans were dead. The war was nearly over,
but President Lincoln would not see the country reunited. He was assassinated in April 1865.
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an
extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be
pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public
declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which
still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be
presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the
public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high
hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an
impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being
delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents
were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide
effects by negotiation. 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.
One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the
Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful
interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate,
and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by
war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial
enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has
already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before
the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental
and astounding. 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 God's assistance in
wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not
judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The
Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be
that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that
American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but
which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives
to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came,
shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living
God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of
war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the
bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of
blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three
thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
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.
Teaching Pilots to Fly
At some point in their lives, certain people have a desire to fly—they want to experience the
exhilaration of taking control of an airplane and soaring through the sky. For me, Daryl Estevez,
that desire has been with me my whole life. I grew up surrounded by pilots. My grandfather was
an Army fighter pilot in the Korean War, and three of my uncles fly airplanes for a living. I got
hooked on planes at a young age and dreamed of becoming a pilot. In an officer’s training program
in college, I learned I would not be eligible to fly for the military because of problems with my
eyesight, but I was determined to fulfill my dream anyway.
Earning a pilot’s license is not a simple process. I wanted to earn a private pilot’s license so that I
would be able to fly small airplanes all over the world. To get this type of license, student pilots
must complete at least 40 hours of training, practice flying with a flight instructor in numerous
circumstances—such as at night and in various weather conditions—and practice flying an
airplane solo for at least 10 hours.
Even though my vision did not meet the stringent requirements of the military, I met the criteria
to become a private pilot, and my dream came true in 2004 when I earned my license to fly. Since
then I have flown from coast to coast in the United States, and it’s everything I imagined it would
be and more. There is nothing more thrilling than having the freedom to travel wherever I want.
In 2007, I realized I wanted to help other people follow their passion for flight, too, and that’s
when I earned another license—as a flight instructor.
I truly enjoy guiding students as they build that foundation—from teaching them the mechanics
of how a plane works to helping them master the rules of flight. It is paramount that pilots
develop a solid foundation of aeronautical knowledge before they ever hit the runway. The
Federal Aviation Administration actually requires it. Just like driver’s education classes prepare
students to be skilled and safe on the road, ground school classes teach pilots to be skilled and safe
in the sky.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of deaths every year due to pilot error. But student pilots who
take their training seriously will understand the value of all those hours of preparation and will
learn to operate an airplane safely from takeoff to touchdown. Then, like I did that first time I
climbed above the clouds, they will know the thrill of flight.
The word utopia means “a perfect society,” and was coined by British author and statesman Sir
Thomas More in 1516 as the title for his book that described an imaginary society of that type.
Importantly, the word utopia is a combination of the Greek words for “not” and “place,” implying
that a perfect society cannot exist. Many authors since More have imagined utopias, often in order
to show readers how a better society might be created. However, it is usually understood by
reader and author alike that in real life, no society can overcome all human flaws.
Some hopeful thinkers have decided to try the experiment in the real world. Numerous utopian
communities were planned and built in the Americas during the 1600s to 1800s. Believers were
recruited, farms and schools and dwellings were constructed, and groups of starry-eyed but
courageous folk retreated to the countryside to try to change the world. Many of the communities
were based in shared religious beliefs. Others strove to bring to life the ideals of political theories
such as socialism.
One such community, New Harmony, Indiana, was founded in 1825 by a British manufacturer,
Robert Owen, to foster cooperative living, rational thinking, and free public education. The
colony soon failed, partly because it had attracted many residents who could not, or did not want
to, work productively. However, it created the first kindergarten, the first trade school, and the
first free library in the United States—ideas that spread and bore fruit throughout the land.
Another utopian experiment, Brook Farm, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, was a community of 70 to
80 intellectuals, crafts workers, and farmers who tried to create a simple life in which people
working together raised their own food, cultivated their minds, and educated their children in a
nurturing environment. The community lasted only a few years, from 1841 to 1847, but it
inspired leading writers of the day to discuss how to make a better world.
The idea of utopia has appealed to people throughout the ages. In practice, however, perfection is
found “no place.” Nevertheless, perhaps having an unreachable goal in mind may help society
attain a more reachable goal that, while not perfect, is a step forward from what has gone before.
excerpt from Third Class in Indian Railways by M.K. Gandhi
I have now been in India for over two years and a half after my return from South Africa. Over
one quarter of that time I have passed on the Indian trains travelling third class by choice. I have
travelled up north as far as Lahore, down south up to Tranquebar, and from Karachi to Calcutta.
Having resorted to third class travelling, among other reasons, for the purpose of studying the
conditions under which this class of passengers travel, I have naturally made as critical
observations as I could. I have fairly covered the majority of railway systems during this period.
Now and then I have entered into correspondence with the management of the different railways
about the defects that have come under my notice. But I think that the time has come when I
should invite the press and the public to join in a crusade against a grievance which has too long
remained unredressed, though much of it is capable of redress without great difficulty.
On the 12th instant I booked at Bombay for Madras by the mail train and paid Rs. 13-9. It was
labelled to carry 22 passengers. These could only have seating accommodation. There were no
bunks in this carriage whereon passengers could lie with any degree of safety or comfort. There
were two nights to be passed in this train before reaching Madras. If not more than 22 passengers
found their way into my carriage before we reached Poona, it was because the bolder ones kept
the others at bay. With the exception of two or three insistent passengers, all had to find their
sleep being seated all the time. After reaching Raichur the pressure became unbearable. The rush
of passengers could not be stayed. The fighters among us found the task almost beyond them. The
guards or other railway servants came in only to push in more passengers.
A defiant Memon merchant protested against this packing of passengers like sardines. In vain did
he say that this was his fifth night on the train. The guard insulted him and referred him to the
management at the terminus. There were during this night as many as 35 passengers in the
carriage during the greater part of it. Some lay on the floor in the midst of dirt and some had to
keep standing. A free fight was, at one time, avoided only by the intervention of some of the older
passengers who did not want to add to the discomfort by an exhibition of temper.
On the way passengers got for tea tannin water with filthy sugar and a whitish looking liquid miscalled milk which gave this water a muddy appearance. I can vouch for the appearance, but I cite
the testimony of the passengers as to the taste.
Not during the whole of the journey was the compartment once swept or cleaned. The result was
that every time you walked on the floor or rather cut your way through the passengers seated on
the floor, you waded through dirt.
The closet was also not cleaned during the journey and there was no water in the water tank.
Refreshments sold to the passengers were dirty-looking, handed by dirtier hands, coming out of
filthy receptacles and weighed in equally unattractive scales. These were previously sampled by
millions of flies. I asked some of the passengers who went in for these dainties to give their
opinion. Many of them used choice expressions as to the quality but were satisfied to state that
they were helpless in the matter; they had to take things as they came.
On reaching the station I found that the ghari-wala would not take me unless I paid the fare he
wanted. I mildly protested and told him I would pay him the authorised fare. I had to turn passive
resister before I could be taken. I simply told him he would have to pull me out of the ghari or call
The return journey was performed in no better manner. The carriage was packed already and but
for a friend's intervention I could not have been able to secure even a seat. My admission was
certainly beyond the authorised number. This compartment was constructed to carry 9 passengers
but it had constantly 12 in it. At one place an important railway servant swore at a protestant,
threatened to strike him and locked the door over the passengers whom he had with difficulty
squeezed in. To this compartment there was a closet falsely so called. It was designed as a
European closet but could hardly be used as such. There was a pipe in it but no water, and I say
without fear of challenge that it was pestilentially dirty.
Marty woke up much too early for a weekend. He was still a little groggy from staying up late
talking with relatives he hadn’t seen in five years. There was a house full of people in town for the
family reunion. Marty, the oldest of the younger cousins, was ten years old at the last reunion, and
almost all the cousins near his age were back for the reunion. Today was the day of the actual
reunion at his grandparents' house in the country. His parents were hosting two of his father’s five
brothers and their families, which included three cousins near his age and three that were closer
to his younger sister’s age. Four boys—Marty, the two cousins who were also teens, and a nineyear-old cousin—slept in his room, and as Marty awakened, he could hear their soft sounds of
slumber around him. His mother had suggested he give up his bed to company, but Marty and his
cousins assured her that they could work out the sleeping arrangements among themselves.
Marty stretched now as his ears opened to the sounds outside his bedroom door. Clanging pans,
adult laughter, and the smell of bacon told him that manna from heaven had arrived in the form
of breakfast, which would be ready soon. Above the clanging of dishes he could also hear
shrieking and what seemed to be giggling. Of course there was giggling. There were girls in the
house, preteen girls who always seemed to giggle. Marty had learned long ago from his two sisters
to ignore their giggles, as the giggling had nothing to do with him. He chuckled as their muffled
noises reminded him of whimpering puppies down at the animal shelter where he volunteered.
Puppies always seemed to make noises as they played and whined for attention from the older
dogs or volunteers. He liked working in the smaller dog area, where all the older dogs looked out
for the puppies, just like his family of older members looked out for the younger ones. He glanced
over at his younger cousin, who was curled up in the sleeping bag. Andre was his name, and
Marty towered over him like Goliath over David, but Andre didn't care. He was grateful to be
with the big dogs, as he called his cousins. It made Marty smile as he recalled how Andre beamed
when he found out he would bunk with the older cousins and then practically begged to sleep in
the sleeping bag. He had never slept in a sleeping bag before, and he jumped at the chance. Marty
hadn’t wanted to be a Scrooge, so he agreed.
Marty sat up in bed and noticed that someone had put a pile of navy blue T-shirts on the chair by
the door. He chuckled to see the “Wear These Today” sign that had been posted on the pile and
stepped over his sleeping cousin, Charlie, to grab one of the shirts. He unfolded it, held it up to
look at it, and smiled. There was the family name, Hamilton, printed in white capital letters in a
semicircle at the top, the Statue of Liberty and a palm tree in the center to represent what they
came to and came from, and the words “St. Croix-New York” in a semicircle underneath. His
family had migrated to New York from the tropical island of St. Croix years ago, though by
airplane and not through Ellis Island where European immigrants had first come. They hadn’t
seen the Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island as they waited to be processed, but his family paid
tribute to the lady with the torch every summer, noting that they owed a lot to this country for
the freedoms and opportunities it offered. Marty flung the T-shirt over his shoulder and turned to
his sleeping cousins. "Hey, fellas," he called out to them as he tossed a T-shirt to each cousin.
"Time to wake up and get this party started!"
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