Lincoln's words were well received by the crowd, which included abolitionist Frederick Douglass and journalist and poet Walt Whitman (who wrote about it in a dispatch for the New York Times). Newspapers printed the text of Lincoln's speech, and printers produced prints suitable for framing.
A year later, The Freedman's Third Reader, a book produced to help educate former slaves, included a portion of Lincoln's second inaugural. His words on slavery and the war which ended it were thus put into the hands of those most affected.
This week in Newspaper Sunday we look back to newspaper coverage of Lincoln's second inauguration.
Note: the following links lead to excerpts of newspaper articles at the Chronicling America site of the Library of Congress. On the excerpt pages you can click the "persistent link" to view the entire page of the newspaper.
- New York Tribune, March 4, 1865: In New York City the day was marked with a massive parade billed as "The National Celebration of Union Victories."
- Washington National Republican, March 4, 1865: The text of Lincoln's speech appeared in a late edition of a Washington newspaper, beneath the headline "EXTRA."
- Washington National Republican, March 4, 1865: An ad appeared for the inaugural ball to be held at the large hall of the Patent Office (a landmark building which now houses two Smithsonian Museums, American Art and the National Portrait Gallery).
- New York Tribune, March 6, 1865: The inauguration on the steps of the Capitol was held on a Saturday, and Monday's New York Tribune carried a full report of the proceedings.
- New York Tribune, March 6, 1865: It was noted that African Americans participated in inauguration festivities, as "a citizen and as a soldier. No longer a slave and a chattel."
- Cleveland Morning Leader, March 13, 1865: A scathing reaction to Lincoln's speech in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, appeared in northern newspapers.
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- Vintage Images: 19th Century Inaugurations
- Why Inaugurations Are Held Outdoors
Photograph: Detail from Alexander Gardner's photograph of Lincoln's second inaugural address/Library of Congress
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