Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address Analysis

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In this section of David Donald’s Lincoln, Donald discusses Abraham Lincoln’s notable Lyceum Address. Analyzing President Lincoln’s observations of a “lawless and mobocratic spirit” present throughout the nation, Donald comments on how despite the chaos ensuing in the country, Lincoln’s rationality enables him to identify the problem and propose a plausible solution (Donald 81).

Through a balanced mixture of his concern about the issues present in the country, and his desire for a simple solution for these issues, Lincoln addresses the rise of mob violence and riots, ultimately concluding that this simple solution must be having reverence for the law. Donald focuses on this and the notion of reason being a recurring theme in Lincoln’s Lyceum Address. Rather than speaking radically, Lincoln is careful and sensible, meticulously choosing what to say, demonstrating his adherence to his desired “Reign of Reason”.

The focus of Lincoln’s speech is the law and the dangers caused by people not abiding the law as well as encouraging the audience to look towards reason rather than emotion to resolve the problems. Throughout the passage, Donald concentrates on how Lincoln repeatedly alludes to “reason” being a large part of the solution to conflicts in the country. Specifically, he references certain parts of the speech gathering that “he [Lincoln] proposed erecting a new ‘temple of liberty’ not resting on emotion and custom but carved ‘from the solid quarry of sober reason’” (Donald 82).

The significance of this is shown as Donald subsequently cites an example of Lincoln being cautious and rational in his own speech claiming that his omission of a specific instance of mob violence, the killing of Elijah P. Lovejoy, was intentional because Lincoln was aware of the controversy surrounding the topic, so he was careful not to agitate his audience.

Furthermore, Donald mentions that Lincoln was very reserved when it came to humanitarian movements. This is interesting because Lincoln “disliked the emotionalism” that many activist groups had because it led to condescension which he did not condone; instead he preferred kind persuasion to address the problem (Donald 82). These examples testify to Lincoln’s mild-tempered and reserved nature but also give further insight on his beliefs.

This source could be relevant to my first essay because it explores a lot about what kind of person Lincoln was in terms of his temperament, beliefs, ideas and much more. Donald not only analyzes Lincoln’s speech, he also provides essential information about Lincoln’s reasoning for solutions to many of the issues he was presented with, and elaborates on how those ideas spoke to who Abraham Lincoln was as a person, both morally and politically.

I think that this information and interpretation could be helpful for my essay because it would help me organize and solidify my ideas by providing me with good evidence to develop and support a lot of my points. Additionally this source will help me create a stronger opinion and paint a better picture of Lincoln’s character at this point to hopefully strengthen my essay.

Cite this paper

Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address Analysis. (2021, Feb 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/abraham-lincolns-lyceum-address-analysis/



At what point shall we expect the approach of danger by what means shall we fortify against it?
We should expect the approach of danger when there are signs of potential threat or harm. To fortify against it, we can prepare by being vigilant, taking preventive measures, and having contingency plans in place.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected I answer if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us it Cannot come from abroad if destruction?
The approach of danger is to be expected when it reaches us. It cannot come from abroad if destruction.
What are the props that now decayed and crumbled away that Lincoln is referring to?
The props that Lincoln is referring to are the Founding Fathers and the principles they established.
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