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Abraham Lincoln's Farewell Address | Study Guide

Abraham Lincoln

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Course Hero. "Abraham Lincoln's Farewell Address Study Guide." June 14, 2020. Accessed May 27, 2023.


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Abraham Lincoln

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At a Glance

  • Abraham Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861, as the 16th president of the United States.
  • He lived in Springfield, Illinois, with his family for nearly 25 years before setting out for Washington, DC, on February 11, 1861.
  • Lincoln gives this short speech at the Great Western Depot train station where a large crowd gathers to say goodbye.
  • In his address he displays gratitude toward the people of Springfield for their support.
  • Lincoln states that God will help him to succeed as president and that God will also look over Springfield.
  • The speech ends with Lincoln asking the crowd to entrust God to take care of him and bidding farewell to the crowd.
  • Lincoln's farewell speech is impromptu, but he is asked to write it down afterwards. He recalls the first few lines of his speech, but his secretary, John Nicolay (1832–1901), has to write down the rest.
  • This speech is a significant part of Lincoln's presidency because he is becoming president at a difficult time. There were tensions between northern and southern states due to different political stances, especially concerning slavery. His election faced some controversy throughout the nation since it was primarily the northern states that voted for him. Southern states believed it likely that slavery would be abolished if he became president. His emotional words show that he recognizes the challenges he will face.


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