The Gettysburg Address of Abraham Lincoln

The first time I heard Gettysburg Address was when I was in high school. One of the contestants in an oratorical contest chose this as his oratorical piece.

At the dedication of the cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered this great masterpiece that is now considered one of the greatest American speeches of all time.

Since then, it became a symbol not just because of what this piece was all about but also how it was written.

Interesting Trivia

- There are five known manuscripts of this speech but only the last one, the Bliss copy has Lincoln's signature. The other four copies are: Nicolay, Hay, Everett and Bancroft.

- Gettysburg address has only 10 sentences and 4 paragraphs, and was delivered in just two minutes.

- Four score and seven years means 87 years. a score is equivalent to 20 years so four score is 80.

- The adverb HERE that refers to hallowed place of Gettysburg was mentioned eight times in the speech.

- Lincoln used the rule of three in this line, "We can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground“ for greater effect.

The Speech

Gettysburg Address

"Fourscore 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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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."

Text from American Rhetoric.

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