Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, Benjamin Brown French, March 4, 1861

Inauguration Day

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln took the presidential oath of office on the east steps of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. In his inaugural address, written a few weeks earlier in Springfield, Lincoln called for national unity, stating, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”