Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Speech at the Flag-raising before Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [1]

February 22, 1861

FELLOW CITIZENS:---I am invited and called before you to participate in raising above Independence Hall the flag of our country, with an additional star upon it. (Cheers.) I propose now, in advance of performing this very pleasant and complimentary duty, to say a few words. I propose to say that when that flag was originally raised here it had but thirteen stars. I wish to call your attention to the fact, that, under the blessing of God, each additional star added to that flag has given additional prosperity and happiness to this country until it has advanced to its present condition; and its welfare in the future, as well as in the past, is in your hands. (Cheers.) Cultivating the spirit that animated our fathers, who gave renown and celebrity to this Hall, cherishing that fraternal feeling which has so long characterized us as a nation, excluding passion, ill-temper and precipitate action on all occasions, I think we may promise ourselves that not only the new star placed upon that flag shall be permitted to remain there to our permanent prosperity for years to come, but additional ones shall from time to time be placed there, until we shall number as was anticipated byPage  242 the great historian, five hundred millions of happy and prosperous people. (Great applause.) With these few remarks, I proceed to the very agreeable duty assigned me.


[1]   Philadelphia Inquirer, February 23, 1861. Immediately following the speech in Independence Hall, Lincoln was accompanied to a platform outside where he was introduced to the assembled crowd by Stephen Benton, chairman of the Committee on City Property, in charge of the ceremonies. The new flag contained thirty-four stars, the thirty-fourth representing Kansas, admitted into the Union on January 29, 1861.