Greetings Cosmic Americans!
Lincoln's Second Inaugural is perhaps one of his most compelling speeches. In the end - it is a reconciliationist document...you know the part - "with malice toward none..."
But as with many Unionists toward the end and after the Civil War (which, at the point of the speech, looked to be winding down in favor of the United States), Lincoln spoke of reconciliation with the understanding that one side had been terribly wrong.
Slavery, he suggested, "constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it."
And thus my quick thought: Lincoln, like the millions in the loyal states who would discuss and debate the war in the decades to come, embraced reconciliation without dismissing the war's issues - and veterans of the Union cause would perpetuate this theme...essentially enshrining it in their commemorative efforts for decades. This is a point that many have obscured today...reducing reconciliationist themes to the most benign. I believe that the story of reconciliation is incomplete - or at the very least - could stand a little revision. Stay tuned. I am working on it.