Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

Monday, 4 July 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
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Abraham Lincoln © Alexander Gardner

Abraham Lincoln © Alexander Gardner

The Gettysburg Address is a speech that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered during the American Civil War at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of November 19, 1863, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg. It is one of the best-known speeches in American history.

Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, not even that day’s primary speech, came to be seen as one of the greatest and most influential statements of American national purpose. In just 271 words, beginning with the now famous phrase “Four score and seven years ago,”‍ referring to the signing of the Declaration of Independence 87 years earlier, Lincoln described the US as a nation “conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” and represented the Civil War as a test that would determine whether such a nation, the Union sundered by the secession crisis, could endure. He extolled the sacrifices of those who died at Gettysburg in defense of those principles, and exhorted his listeners to resolve

that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln Address Memorial © National Park Service - NPS photographer Soldiers National Monument at the center of Gettysburg National Cemetery © Henryhartley Abraham Lincoln © Alexander Gardner Evergreen Cemetery © Northern Aggression/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Soldiers National Monument at the center of Gettysburg National Cemetery © Henryhartley
Despite the prominent place of the speech in the history and popular culture of the United States, its exact wording is disputed. The five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s hand differ in a number of details, and also differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech. Neither is it clear where stood the platform from which Lincoln delivered the address. Modern scholarship locates the speakers’ platform 40 yards (or more) away from the traditional site in Soldiers’ National Cemetery at the Soldiers’ National Monument, such that it stood entirely within the private, adjacent Evergreen Cemetery.

Despite the historical significance of Lincoln’s speech, modern scholars disagree as to its exact wording, and contemporary transcriptions published in newspaper accounts of the event and even handwritten copies by Lincoln himself differ in their wording, punctuation, and structure. Of these versions, the Bliss version, written well after the speech as a favor for a friend, is viewed by many as the standard text. Its text differs, however, from the written versions prepared by Lincoln before and after his speech. It is the only version to which Lincoln affixed his signature, and the last he is known to have written.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

— Abraham Lincoln

Read more on NationalGeographic.org – Gettysburg Address and Wikipedia Gettysburg Address (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Johns Hopkins University & Medicine - Coronavirus Resource Center - Global Passport Power Rank - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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