Featured Questions from the Secession Crisis

  • Lincoln’s House Divided speech targeted Northern sentiments in 1858, whereas the First Inaugural Address (1861) aimed more toward the country as a whole.  How did Lincoln’s message change depending on the context of his audience? (Ava Yuninger)


  • In Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech of 1858, he mentioned that the Democrats in 1856 were the same “enemies” as those facing the Republicans in the 1858 election. In Lincoln’s First Inaugural of 1861, he mentioned that “we must not be enemies” in regard to the slaveholders of the South. Did Lincoln reach out to the slaveholders in his First Inaugural because he believed he could win over the white southerners or was it because he was being pressured to do so?  (Camera Bailey)


  • How did Lincoln’s audience respond to his claim that he had “no inclination” to “interfere with the institution of slavery?” How might historians interpret his stance knowing that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation later in the war? (Etsub Taye)


  • Abraham Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech stated, “We shall not fail—if we stand firm, we shall not fail.” In this quote, “we” was emphasizing to Republicans that they would triumph over the Democrats.  How might Lincoln attempt to unite red and blue America today? (Ajla Salkic)