On March 4,1861 Abraham Lincoln becomes the 16th president of the United States. Although he extended an olive branch to the South, he also made it clear that he intended to enforce federal laws in the seceded states.
Since Lincoln's election in November, seven states had left the Union. Worried that the election of a Republican would threaten their rights, especially slavery, the lower South seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. In the process, some of those states had seized federal properties such as armories and forts. By the time Lincoln arrived in Washington for his inauguration, the threat of war hung heavy in the air. Lincoln took a cautious approach in his remarks, and he made no specific threats against the southern states. As a result, he had some flexibility in trying to keep the states of the upper South--North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware--in the Union.
In his address, Lincoln promised not to interfere with the institution of slavery where it existed, and he pledged to suspend the activities of the federal government temporarily in areas of hostility. However, he also took a firm stance against secession and the seizure of federal property. The government, insisted Lincoln, would "hold, occupy, and possess" its property and collect its taxes. He closed his remarks with an eloquent reminder of the nation's common heritage:
"In your hand, my fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend" it...We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."(Information from history.com)
Other historic events for March 4th
1789 1st Congress declares constitution in effect (9 senators, 13 representatives)
1791 Vermont admitted as 14th state (1st addition to the 13 colonies)
1793 President Washington's 2nd inauguration, shortest speech (133 words)
1797 John Adams inaugurated as 2nd President of US
1801 1st President inaugurated in Washington DC (Thomas Jefferson)
1825 John Quincy Adams inaugrated as 6th President
1829 Andrew Jackson inaugurated as 7th President
1837 Martin Van Buren inaugrated as 8th President
1845 James K Polk inaugrated as 11th President
1861 Confederate States adopt "Stars & Bars" flag
1863 Territory of Idaho established
1865 Confederate congress approves final design of "official flag"
1865 President Lincoln inaugurated for his 2nd term as President
1869 Ulysses Grant inaugurated as 18th President
1881 James A Garfield inaugurated as 20th President
1885 Grover Cleveland inaugrated as 1st Democratic President since Civil War
1889 Benjamin Harrison inaugurated as 23rd President
1893 Grover Cleveland (D) inaugrated as 24th US President (2nd term)
1897 William McKinley inaugurated as 25th President of US
1901 President William McKinley inaugurated for 2nd term as President
1902 American Automobile Association (AAA) founded in Chicago
1909 President Taft inaugrated as 27th President during 10" snowstorm
1913 Woodrow Wilson inaugurated as 28th President
1917 Republican Jeanette Rankin of Montana took her seat as the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
1921 Hot Springs National Park created in Arkansas
1925 President Coolidge's inauguration broadcast live on 21 radio stations
1929 Herbert Hoover inaugurated as 31st President
1930 Coolidge Dam in Arizona dedicated
1933 FDR inaugrated as 32nd President, pledges to pull US out of Depression
1944 1st US bombing of Berlin
1964 Jimmy Hoffa convicted of jury tampering
1966 John Lennon says "We (Beatles) are more popular than Jesus"
1985 War veterans returned to the "Bridge over the River Kwai"
1987 President Ronald Reagan addressed the nation on the Iran-Contra affair, acknowledging his overtures to Iran had "deteriorated" into an arms-for-hostages deal.
1991 Iraq releases 6 US, 3 British & 1 Italian POW
1993 Authorities announced the arrest of Mohammad Salameh, who was later convicted of playing a key role in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City.
1995 Blind teenage boy receives a 'Bionic Eye' at a Washington Hospital
1997 President Clinton bans federally funded human cloning research