As we think about endings, however, it is also useful to think about beginnings. That is what President Abraham Lincoln did in his Second Inaugural Address, delivered just five weeks before the surrender at Appomattox and his own assassination soon thereafter. All knew, he said reflecting sadly and thoughtfully on how the Civil War came about, that slavery was, "somehow," the cause. In fact, "somehow," however, lay puzzles, contradictions, and questions. The connections between slavery and the Civil War have concerned Americans ever since the events at Appomattox.

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Copyright © 2002 Department of Interior National Park Service. This chapter first appeared in Appomattox Court House: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia.

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