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Inauguration and State of the Union Addresses
Inauguration and State of the Union Addresses

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Lincoln’s Final State of the Union Message, 1864

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. New York Observer, New York, N.Y., Dec. 8, 1864. 8 pp. Page 2 contains the complete printing of Lincoln’s last State-of-the-Union address.

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Item #30001.23, $500

Lincoln’s Third State of the Union Address
and Amnesty Proclamation

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. New York Times, New York, N.Y., Dec. 10, 1863, with “Supplement to The New York Times” complete with its own masthead. 12 pp. 14¾ x 21 in.

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Contains Lincoln’s entire 1863 Message to Congress, where he reaffirmed his commitment to emancipation, as well as His Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which laid out a plan to return the rebellious states to the Union fold. Commonly called the “Ten Percent Plan,” it allowed for a state to hold new elections when 10% of its 1860 voters took a loyalty oath to the Union.

Item #30001.20, $950

Broadsheet of Lincoln’s 1862 State of the Union Message

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Broadsheet, “Sentinel Extra” [place unknown[1]], ca. December 2, 1862, 9⅛ x 24 in. 2 pp.

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We cannot escape history… In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free… We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth...”

One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the president proposes colonization and his plan for compensated emancipation, discusses foreign affairs, reports on progress of the Pacific Railroad, the war and finance. This rare “Sentinel Extra” broadsheet (apparently unrecorded in OCLC) has other news of the day on the verso, including a fantastic article quoting General Meagher’s reaction to the resignation of several officers after McClellan was removed.

Item #22179, $5,500

John Tyler Writes After Delivering his First State of the Union Address: “the Ultras on both sides are dissatisfied and the extremes meet...”

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed as President. Washington, D.C., December 9, 1841. 2 pp., 8½ x 11½ in., roughly torn, with lower quarter and at least three lines of text lacking, but signature intact on verso.

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Two days after “His Accidency” delivered his first State of the Union Address, John Tyler affirms that his position had infuriated the “Ultras”: the radicals in both parties: states-rights-leaning Whig such as Clay, and more nationalistic Jacksonian Democrats.

Item #22418, $1,200

William Henry Harrison: Rare Broadside of the Deadly Inaugural Address

[WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON], Broadside, National Intelligencer, Extra. March 4, 1841. “The Inaugural Address of President Harrison.” Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton. Five columns, 1 p., 16¼ x 23¾ in.

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If there is one measure better calculated than another to produce that state of things so much deprecated by all true republicans, by which the rich are daily adding to their hoards and the poor sinking deeper into penury, it is an exclusive metallic currency....

Always the friend of my countrymen, never their flatterer, it becomes my duty to say to them … that there exists in the land a spirit hostile to their best interests--hostile to liberty itself.... It is union that we want, not of a party for the sake of that party, but a union of the whole country for the sake of the whole country, for the defense of its interests and its honor against foreign aggression, for the defense of those principles for which our ancestors so gloriously contended....

On a cold, wet day, March 4, 1841, President Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in history. Contracting pneumonia, 31 days later he was the first president to die in office. This same-day National Intelligencer broadside Extra prints his entire 8,460-word address. Harrison presented a detailed statement of the Whig agenda and a repudiation of the populism and policies of Democratic Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Harrison promised to reestablish the Bank of the United States, to issue paper currency, to use his veto power sparingly, and to appoint qualified officers of government in contrast to the spoils system that Jackson heralded. He favors term limits, limits on the powers of the presidency, and devotion to the nation rather than party. Harrison avoids specifics on the divisive issue of slavery, which in theory he might have opposed but in practice was a staunch defender: “Our citizens must be content with the exercise of the powers with which the Constitution clothes them. The attempt of those of one State to control the domestic institutions of another can only result in feelings of distrust and jealousy, the certain harbingers of disunion, violence, and civil war, and the ultimate destruction of our free institutions....

Item #30029.21, $9,800

Monroe Expands on his Doctrine in Last Annual Message

JAMES MONROE, Broadside. Albany Argus - Extra. Albany, N.Y.: Edward Croswell, December 10, 1824. 1 p., large folio broadside in 6 columns, text extracted from the National Journal, Extra, December 7, 1824. 21 ¾ x 15 ½”.

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Apparently unrecorded, this broadside extra prints President Monroe’s last annual message to Congress, delivered on December 7, 1824. Covers relations with Great Britain, the slave trade, Indian relations, the comprehensive survey of possible road and canal sites in the interior, and an elaboration on the Monroe Doctrine, providing the rationale for exhorting European states not to interfere with the evolution of the newly independent Latin American states. “Separated as we are, from Europe by the great Atlantic Ocean, we can have no concern in the wars of the European governments, nor in the causes which produce them. The balance of power between them, into whichever scale it may turn, in its various vibrations, cannot affect us. It is the interest of the United States to preserve the most friendly relations with every power, and on conditions fair, equal, and applicable to all. But in regard to our neighbours, our situation is different. It is impossible for the European governments to interfere in their concerns, especially in those alluded to, which are vital, without affecting us …

Item #30001.02, $2,750

James Monroe’s State of the Union Address

[JAMES MONROE], Newspaper. American Mercury, Hartford, Ct., December 9, 1817, 4 pp., 13 x 19½ in. With the State of the Union Address in full on page 2.

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Monroe enters office in a time of peace and prosperity well deserving of its moniker, the Era of Good Feelings. Still, the president outlines a plan for the future in his first message to Congress.

Item #30001.04, $950

In His State of the Union Address, Thomas Jefferson Commends Lewis and Clark for Their Successful Explorations

THOMAS JEFFERSON. [LEWIS AND CLARK], Newspaper. Connecticut Courant. Hartford, Conn., December 10, 1806. 4 pp, 12½ x 20½ in.

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Item #22459, $2,000

Rare same day broadside of John Adams’ Fourth State of the Union Address: Opening Washington D.C. as the Nation’s Capital

[JOHN ADAMS], Broadside, Supplement to the National Intelligencer. [Washington: Samuel Harrison Smith, November 22, 1800].

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Adams’ historic fourth Annual Message to Congress—now known as the State of the Union Address—announces the establishment of the District of Columbia as the nation’s capital. The second President, who had just been defeated for re-election, optimistically discusses unprecedented economic growth, considers the recently consummated treaty of amity and commerce with Prussia, and focuses on the need for expanded naval forces and coastal fortifications, which he believes to be necessary given the Quasi-War with France.

A rare broadside extra edition: no institutional copies are listed in OCLC, although it is possible they exist in uncatalogued runs. The National Intelligencer, then in its second month in print, had moved to Washington at the behest of President-elect Thomas Jefferson.

Item #30028.06, $8,500

George Washington’s Eight State of the Union Addresses -
A Complete Collection, 1790 - 1796

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspapers. Massachusetts Centinel and Columbian Sentinel. Eight 4-page issues. January 16, 1790 – December 14, 1796. Boston, MA. 32 pp.

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This remarkable collection of the first eight annual messages to Congress shows the emerging foundation of this American tradition and Constitutional mandate.  Delivered as nearly all Americans in the new nation would have received it—in a newspaper—each address conveys the accomplishments, growth, and challenges, both foreign and domestic, of the new Republic.

Item #30027.01-.08, $12,500

AN EXTRAORDINARY RARITY!
Leaves From George Washington’s Own Draft of His First Inaugural Address

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Autograph Manuscript, Pages 27-28, 35-36, and 47-48 of Washington’s own draft of his undelivered inaugural address. [written ca. January 1789]. 6 pp. on 3 leaves, 7 x 9 in.

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“This Constitution, is really in its formation a government of the people”

George Washington understood that the new government’s success, as had the Constitutional Convention’s, rested squarely on his shoulders. He also knew that everything he did as the first president would set precedents for future generations. He wrote privately about the promise, ambiguity, and tension of high office, and these same themes are woven throughout his original, undelivered inaugural address. Would the government work as intended, or suffer death from a thousand cuts? Still, the former Commander in Chief recognized the nation’s potential, as well as the honorable men who had come together to build the Constitution.

The three unique leaves—six pages—offered here are written entirely in Washington’s hand. They include assertions that government power is derived from the people, and a highly significant section of the Address explicitly arguing that the Constitution is subject to amendment and, by implication, advocating the adoption of the Bill of Rights. They also include the oratorical climax of the address—arguably the most visionary and impassioned passage of the address.

Item #24818, $1,450,000