Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” Nov. 19, 1863 | Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
President Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” is one of the best- known speeches in American history. Lincoln delivered the short yet deeply meaningful speech on Nov. 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the Civil War. Beginning with the now-iconic phrase, “Four score and seven years ago” — referring to the Declaration of Independence in 1776 — Lincoln examined the founding principles of the United States as stated in the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln also memorialized the sacrifices of those who gave their lives during the Civil War and reminded listeners to ensure that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” In just two minutes and with perfect elocution, Lincoln delivered one of the greatest and most influential statements of national purpose in American history.
Full Text of Lincoln’s “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.”
“WASHINGTON AT VERPLANCK’S POINT” is a full-length oil painting of George Washington at Verplanck’s Point on the North River in New York during the American Revolutionary War. It was painted in 1790 by the American artist John Trumbull.
Excerpts fromWashington’s Farewell Address
“… I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. “... The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism… The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual. “... Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all ... The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. “... The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”
FREEDOM FACT At the event where Abraham Lincoln gave his now-famous
address, Edward Everett also spoke. Everett’s speech lasted two hours while Lincoln’s lasted only minutes.
AMER I CA’ S LEGACY PRESENTED BY STUDENT GOVERNMENTAL AFFA I RS PROGRAM | 47
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