Abe’s eloquence

Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural.
By Ronald C. White Jr. Simon & Schuster, 203 pp., $24.00.

A mark of how little in the way of eloquence we expect from our presidents is that our most memorable political utterances come from people who, like Daniel Webster or William Jennings Bryan, were chronically rebuffed in their bids for the great prize. In the long catalogues of presidential papers, volume after volume and page after page of proclamations, addresses and dispatches read like the literary equivalent of a muggy August day in Washington.


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