The stakes couldn’t be higher, and Abraham Lincoln has worked on his inaugural speech for two months.
“We are not enemies, but friends,” he assures the seceding states, promising that he will respect their rights.
But those rights, he says, do not include leaving the Union. The Union is “perpetual.” “I shall take care,” he says, “as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins me, that the law of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.”
Any act of violence against the United States, he warns, will be an act of rebellion.