Abraham Lincoln was a Christian president, and he embedded Christian ethics of inclusivity, humility and reconciliation within his speeches, writings and presidency, said Ronald C. White Jr., the author of A. Lincoln: A Biography and Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural. White presented Monday’s 2 p.m. Interfaith Lecture in the Hall of Philosophy.
White opened this season’s Week Nine religion lecture theme, “The Ethics of Presidential Power,” with a lecture titled “Abraham Lincoln’s Sermon on the Mount: the Second Inaugural Address.”
White began his lecture with a reading of the 701-word document, which only took Lincoln six minutes to read to an audience of 25,000 to 30,000 people on March 4, 1865. At the time the president delivered the speech, the crowd was full of soldiers who had lost limbs during the Civil War, family members who had lost sons and brothers, White said. The atmosphere was turbulent, and already there were threats of Lincoln’s assassination or abduction. Nearby rooftops were strewn with sharpshooters, White said.