On Saturday, March 4th, 1865, a tall man with dark, tussled hair and a beard, dressed in a large great coat with top hat removed, stood on the portico of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., addressing the large crowd that had gathered to hear him speak. These civilians crowded near to the balcony, not only to hear the speaker but also to fend off the cold, leftover from the rain of the preceding weeks. After briefly discussing the issues of civil war and slavery, he appealed to the Almighty for assistance and closed with these now familiar lines: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds... to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and all nations." In 1908, forty-three years later, Lincoln would have been pleased that North and South had reconciled one another, re-fused the weakened bonds of Union, and taken the meaning of his speech to heart. However, not all was well in the state of Illinois. In Springfield, the birthplace of emancipation, shouts of "Lincoln freed you, now we'll show you where you belong," rang throughout the streets in the summer air, clearly demonstrating that "with malice toward none and charity for all," applied only to those who belonged to Lincoln's race.
""With Malice Towards None": The Springfield, Illinois Race Riot of 1908,"
The Gettysburg Historical Journal: Vol. 7
, Article 5.
Available at: https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/ghj/vol7/iss1/5