Analyzing the Text
The party that “would make war” is the South/Confederacy, while the party that “would accept war” is the North/Union. This sentence sets the tone of the rest of Lincoln’s speech by pointing out that both parties are in some way responsible for this war.
Both sides read the Bible, p>
Lincoln highlights similarities in order to make Americans realize the common ground they share. He highlights their differences in order to show the work that must be done if peace is to be finally achieved.
The Emancipation Proclamation, which he signed, officially freed all the slaves in 1863. However, the Civil War unexpectedly continued to rage on, even though the problem that caused it had been solved.
Lincoln is saying that, if it is now time for slavery to end, it must be supposed that God will make both the North and South pay for their role in it through violence and millions of dollars in resources. The violence and wealth echo the violence inflicted on the slaves and the wealth acquired by slaveowners due to the slaves’ work.
Here, Lincoln is telling the country to trust in God. He says that what happens is God’s will and surely there must be a reason for everything.
He uses religious references not only to give a sense of authority to his message, but because his listeners would have been very familiar with the Bible. These references would help them to understand the point he was trying to make.
Here, Lincoln uses repetition and very clearly states what he sees as the country’s goals for the next four years. Through repetition, he drives home the point he is trying to make. The theme, or point he is trying to make, is that everyone must work together if the country is to “bind up its wounds” and achieve lasting peace not only within its own borders but with other countries as well.