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Monday, January 19, 2009

Generations ago, James Garfield did his imperfect best. The inaugural he delivered, on March 4, 1881, didn’t match Lincoln’s eloquence. But this year it bears rereading:
My countrymen, we do not now differ in our judgment concerning the controversies of past generations, and fifty years hence our children will not be divided in their opinions concerning our controversies. They will surely bless their fathers and their fathers’ God that the Union was preserved, that slavery was overthrown, and that both races were made equal before the law. We may hasten or we may retard, but we can not prevent, the final reconciliation.
More great moments in presidential inaugurations at the New Yorker.