Tag Archives: Lincoln’s Second Annual Message to Congress

New Lincoln documents found at National Archives

A researcher working for the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project has uncovered new documents at the National Archives, including the first page of the official copy of his Second Annual Message to Congress.

The whereabouts of this first page were previously unknown, and the second page of is still missing.  The complete text was known only from printed copies, such as the official printing used by the editors of the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.  You can read the full document by clicking here.  The conclusion includes some memorable prose:

Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. The world knows we do know how to save it. We—even we here—hold the power, and bear the responsibility. In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free—honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just—a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless

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