Civil War and Reconstruction
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln struggled to preserve the American constitutional republic and Union that ensured liberty and equality for all Americans. To that end, Lincoln brought the country to fight to preserve the Union against the secession of the South at his election in 1860. Lincoln also fought to end the moral disgrace of slavery and issued the Emancipation Proclamation during the war in 1863 as a war measure based upon his presidential war powers to weaken the South. At the end of the war, several amendments to the Constitution were ratified to advance the natural and civil rights republic of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution for African-Americans.
On March 4, 1865, President Lincoln delivered his Second Inaugural Address. The speech expressed the moral purposes of the war: “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 bond-man’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” (Abraham Lincoln, “Second Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1865).