Tragedy Is Our Unity Essay

720 words - 3 pages

Walt Whitman’s essay, Death of Abraham Lincoln, explains what Lincoln brought to our nation through his life and what he left behind through his death. Whitman observes Lincoln from afar, noticing the reactions a crowd has to his presence. He expresses the importance of first impressions through the awkward silence of the streets and crowds when Lincoln walks out of his unprepossessing carriage on his way to the Astor House prior to his inauguration. Lincoln’s presence took over the moment unlike any figure had before. On the day of April 14, 1865, Whitman recalls his sight of beautiful lilacs at the time of the harrowing event and how this alluring flower became a symbol for him. The lilacs represented the great tragedy on that spring day with their sight or even just with the presence of their soft scent. Whitman was extremely inspired by both the life and death of Abraham Lincoln. Still to this day, Lincoln is known as one of the greatest Presidents to exist in our country and Whitman portrays him as more important than any other heroic figure in our past. In comparison, President Warren G. Harding is known as one of the worst presidents who corrupted our nation. Unlike Lincoln, who is responsible for the emancipation of three million slaves and known as the savior of our union, President Harding was involved in scandals across the nation and is known for his shady presidency. Although Lincoln’s death brought hardship and grief to our country, Harding’s death may have been more extreme leaving us in one of the most corrupt periods in our history. Nonetheless, to Walt Whitman, President Lincoln was our Union’s first Martyr Chief. However, Lincoln’s death along with others tragedies were necessary to form the strength of our nation today.
In his essay, Walt Whitman explains his belief that tragic events that have occurred throughout history, although obviously unfortunate and distressing at the time, are what truly form our sense of nationality. These occurrences are the reasons behind the strength and power in our nation. Whitman saw so much within both Lincoln’s life and his death. In Lincoln’s...

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