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Sharon Silber
Professor Christine Donaldson
Rhetorical Communication: A Theory of Civil Discourse
March 31, 2016
Rhetorical Analysis
Abraham Lincolns Second Inaugural Address and Emily Dickinsons poem
Success Is Counted Sweetest are similar because they both rhetoric writing but in
different styles. They both talk about the Civil War and were written around the same
time. The Civil War was Americas most tragic war with more than 620,000 people dead
an even more injured. (American Civil War) The country was completely divided
between North and South. Due to the fact, they were both inspired to write their work to
demonstrate how terrible the acts of the Civil War were along with all the unfortunate
events that tied into it. They were able to put forward a strong presence to influence the
ending of the war. They werent necessarily proposing a solution, but possibly by
addressing the tragedy people could then realize how frightening the war had become
and come to terms to end it.
Lincolns address and Dickinsons poem are different in the way they use
rhetorical language; Abraham Lincoln wrote a rhetorical address while Emily Dickinson
wrote a poem. However, they are similar because they both contain appeal,
arrangements, argument, and artistic devices. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth
president of the United States of America from the year 1861-1865. The Civil War began
on April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865. Hence, Lincoln was president through the whole Civil
War. As president, he appealed to the country because he understood their suffering

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very well as he dealt with it as president of the United States of America. Lincoln brings
forth the idea of God a few times to relate to the audience. This is a symbolism that he
uses to appeal to the audience and connect with them on a more personal level. It is not
necessarily important to know if Lincoln was religious or not, but when a speaker
addresses to a higher power, which in most cases is God, the vast majority of people
can relate to it because almost everybody believes in a God. Dickinson appeals her
poem to the people that have lost everything or have not yet had the luxury of achieving
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may
speedily pass away. (Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address) In this sentence we see
how Lincoln uses aesthetic resources through rhyme, rhythm, and allusion to make his
speech more moving and beautiful. Dickinsons work is a poem, therefore the aesthetic
artistic device is easier to recognize. One can see how she applied rhythm, rhyme,
figurative language, and other poetic elements.
An Argument is made when a conclusion is supported by reasons. Both works
have the same argument in which they show their harsh and melancholic feelings
toward the Civil War. Lincoln supports his argument with reason while Dickinsons poem
is abstract, meaning that with her short poem she uses words that strongly support her
argument of how horrifying the Civil War is.
Abraham Lincoln did a good job in the proper arrangement of his speech. He
began by introducing the Civil War and how it came about. He explained that it was a
fight that occurred since the Union could not be saved. The North and the South did not
come to terms, which lead to a bloody war that was not expected. Lincoln continues to

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talk of how the war has progressed to a level that is terrifying, especially since this war
is internal and does not include any other countries. It is a war within a nation. To
conclude, Lincoln uses God and an appealing outlook to the dark matter. Basically, he
begins with the sad and unfortunate reality and ends by shining some hope on the
Dickinson takes a different path with her poems arrangement. Her arrangement
was set up in a way that really affected the audience and got the message across. The
main message she gets across is that success is most recognized by those who worked
hard for it. Those fighting hard for success are the fighter out in the field trying to stand
for justice.
From comparing the works of Abraham Lincoln and Emily Dickinson, the use of
the four resources of language helped distinguish that they were both rhetoric pieces.
Each employ the four resources in a different manner, therefore they belong in different
literary categories.

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"American Civil War." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 30 May 2016.
Lincoln, Abraham. "Second Inaugural Address." 29 May 2016. Address.