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The Friday Flashback: Another Illinois-Related Inauguration

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Nov 14, 2008 3:10PM

Here at the Flashback Desk, we usually like to keep to the timespans of our collective lives – that is, going back to around the 80’s or 70’s. On today’s Flashback, we’re going to take you back to the 60’s – the 1860s, that is. Presumably, as the glow of the election starts to fade, some of your thoughts are bound to turn to inauguration road trips. So for those of us preparing for a January trip to a historic event, this week’s Flashback takes us to March 4th, 1861, and the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln.

It's hard to tell, but Lincoln is in there being inaugurated somewhere, underneath the still-being-constructed Capitol Building.

The country was only 71-years-old, the Confederacy had just elected Jefferson Davis as their leader, and the country was fractured. Slavery & States Rights were on the minds of everyone who had amassed outside the Capitol. Lincoln was pretty famous for his oratory, and while other speeches may be more well known, his first inaugural address still has that Lincoln flair.

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them.

We all know how this story ends a little over 4 years later, and we certainly hope that that is where any Lincoln/Obama similarities may end. And as to your other lingering question - "Why was the inauguration in March?" a voice from the peanut gallery cries - inauguration dates were all sorts of f'ed up until the 20th Amendment (aka the Lame Duck Amendment) to the Constitution was ratified.