Monday, November 19, 2007

The Gettysburg Address - November 19,1863

On this day, 144 years ago, approximately 6 weeks after 7,500 men died in a 3 day battle, 1 man, bellowed 10 sentences and 272 words in 3 minutes. Little did he know that this short speech would eventually become the most quoted speech in United States history. And for good reason.

The speech rang true with many, even to this day as establishing "a new birth of freedom". It was a speech that would bring equality to all citizens, and create a unified nation where the rights of the states were no longer dominant. This man declared a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

What many probably don't know is that this speech almost didn't happen. The Abraham Lincoln Blog has a pretty cool primary document of a letter addressed to Lincoln asking him for "A Few Appropriate Marks", leaving Edward Everett, a popular orator of the time to be the main attraction.

Funny to think that the President of the United States was playing second fiddle and received the invitation less than 3 weeks before the scheduled event. The Abraham Lincoln Blog has the full text of the letter. (thanks for bringing this to our attention)

And without further ado ... Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address", November 19, 1863

"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."
PS - A new photo of Abraham Lincoln at the Gettysburg memorial ceremony was found. It is the first such discovery since 1952. Here is the link...

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