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President Lincoln Seeks to Reassure the South After His Election

Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President during a time of national crisis. His election had prompted the secession of South Carolina and six other states, and Federal troops were surrounded at Fort Sumter. In his inaugural address, Lincoln sought to assuage the fears of people in the southern states, declaring that he had no intention of interfering with their "property" (i.e., slaves).

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so..."

… the property, peace, and security of no section are to be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration.

Source | Abraham Lincoln, "First Inaugural Address," U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C., 4 March 1861; from Library of Congress, "American Treasures of the Library of Congress,"
Creator | Abraham Lincoln
Item Type | Speech
Cite This document | Abraham Lincoln, “President Lincoln Seeks to Reassure the South After His Election,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed November 30, 2023,

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