Three Presidential Inaugural Addresses

45th President Donald J. Trump recently delivered his inaugural address, a speech which occurs every four years and represents the issues of the day.  Although this most recent address came at a time in which there is much division within the United States, 2017 pales in comparison to the year 1861.  The political climate was a “powder keg” as two presidents, Confederate and Union, were sworn in.

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Click image hear the call to arms in “Everybody’s Dixie.”

Confederate President Jefferson Davis delivered his inaugural address in February of 1861, stating the case for secession and the need to establish an army and navy.  Two weeks later, 16th US President Abraham Lincoln delivered his first speech in the executive role, arguing that secession is the essence of anarchy.  Northern and Southern differences erupted into war within 10 weeks at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Parham Buford’s senior year at La Grange Synodical College was accelerated that year, so he and his classmates could answer the call to arms in Dixie.

Readers are encouraged to view each of the three before mentioned speeches for insight on some of the weighty issues which have shaped the American experience.

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Click image to hear first inaugural address by USA President Abraham Lincoln, given on March 4, 1861.

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Click image to hear inaugural address by  CSA President Jefferson Davis, given on February 18, 1861.

Learning Through Primary Sources

Primary sources are an excellent means to learn about the context in which historical events occurred and the perspectives of people directly affected.  The Library of Congress website documents that examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past.  Letters penned by Parham provide insight on day-to-day life through the eyes of a Mississippi Volunteer Confederate infantryman. Another primary source with respect to this epic within American history is The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederate States of America.  Davis, according to the preface, authored the work with the view that the South was justified by the Constitution and the equal rights of the people of all the states.  Like many primary sources which require a significant undertaking to dissect, the effort is worthwhile in the lifelong pursuit of learning.  Click on the image of the LibriVox logo below to listen to the audiobook recording of Davis’ historical account.

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Click image to listen to Jefferson Davis’ “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.”