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Andrew Johnson

How Abraham Lincoln said that black lives matter

How Abraham Lincoln said that black lives matter

A decade and a half into the 21st century, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is under fire, and white-on-black violence brings the cry that black lives matter. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, we would do well to reconsider his most famous imperative: “with malice toward none; with charity for all.”

In his second inaugural address, delivered March 4, 1865, Lincoln declared that the fighting would last “until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword.” The war, he meant, would not end until slavery ended. Lincoln closed that address with the appeal for “malice...