History Podcasts

History in Public: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

History in Public: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address


Gettysburg Address

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

Nicolay copy of Gettysburg Address

Dedication Ceremony of the Gettysburg National Cemetery in 1863

Following the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, the fallen Union soldiers were interred in graves at the National Cemetery at Gettysburg. For the dedication ceremony, the committee invited President Lincoln with the words:

“It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.”

On the train trip to Gettysburg, Lincoln felt weak and dizzy. After the speech, Lincoln was feverish and pale, with a severe headache. A protracted illness followed, and it was later diagnosed that he had a mild case of smallpox when he delivered his speech.

While it is Lincoln’s two minutes speech that has gone down in history, it was Edward Everett’s two-hour oration that was promoted as the “Gettysburg address” that day. It is now seldom-read.

Edward Everett (1794 – 1865) was an American politician, educator, diplomat, and orator from Massachusetts. Lincoln’s address followed the long oration by Edward Everett.

The first page of George Bancroft’s copy of the Gettysburg Address

President Lincoln’s Speech

Despite the historical significance of Lincoln’s speech, modern scholars disagree as to its exact wording. Handwritten copies by Lincoln himself differ in their text, punctuation, and structure.

Historians have however noted parallels between Lincoln’s speech and Pericles’s Funeral Oration during the Peloponnesian War, as described by Thucydides.

The Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address is often called the “first draft” because it is believed to be the earliest copy that exists. Scholars disagree over whether the Nicolay copy was the reading copy that Lincoln held at Gettysburg.

The existence of the Hay copy was made in 1906 after an extensive search among the papers of John Hay. It differs somewhat from the Nicolay copy and contains numerous omissions and inserts in Lincoln’s hand.

The omissions are critical to the underlying meaning of the sentence. In the Hay copy, as in the Nicolay copy, the words “under God” are not present.


The first page of Edward Everett’s copy of the Gettysburg Address

The Everett copy was sent by President Lincoln to Edward Everett in early 1864, at Everett’s request. Everett was collecting the speeches into one bound volume to sell for the benefit of soldiers. The draft Lincoln sent became the third autograph copy.

The Bancroft copy of the Gettysburg Address was for George Bancroft, the historian and former Secretary of the Navy. Bancroft planned to use it to raise funds at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Sanitary Fair.

Lincoln then wrote a fifth draft, copy, named for Colonel Alexander Bliss, Bancroft’s stepson and publisher, it is the only draft to which Lincoln affixed his formal signature.

The Bliss version has become the standard version of the address and the source for the inscription on the South wall of the Lincoln Memorial.

Crowd with Lincoln at Gettysburg. A red arrow points to Abraham Lincoln.


Discover the meaning and purpose of the Gettysburg Address delivered by President Abraham Lincoln

The Battle of Gettysburg was the single, bloodiest event to take place in the history of the American Civil War. When it was all said and done, over 10,000 Americans had lost their lives. And from all of this death and devastation, people began to ask themselves a number of important questions.

First and foremost, what does it all mean? What are we to take from all of this death and carnage? Is the preservation of the union or the abolishment of slavery, for that matter, truly worth all of this human loss?

All of these questions would perhaps best be answered four months later in what would become one of the most famous speeches in all of world history. That speech would be the Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln right here on this Hillside in Gettysburg.

Lincoln was invited here for a November 19th dedication ceremony to dedicate this Soldier's National Cemetery, the final resting place of over 3,500 Union soldiers who gave their lives in this battle. Lincoln is not the main speaker for this dedication ceremony, and thus he's going to keep his comments rather short and sweet. But that he will eventually rise from the speaker's platform, and he will begin his address by stating that it had only been 87 years earlier that this Nation had been established under the promise that all men are created equal.

He later goes on to say how this awful civil war was worth fighting. Lincoln realized that the fight for freedom in America had been altered here in this very spot.

In Lincoln's view, the United States is the last best hope for free people on earth, and, in his view, that was something that was worth fighting for. And he urges his fellow Americans to consider what is at stake. He speaks of this unfinished work with which this nation must embark on, winning this awful civil war. And indeed, the war would continue, claiming over 620,000 lives in the process, Abraham Lincoln being among the last of them.

Many people in America in the 1860s don't have the basic rights of citizenship. They include women, African-Americans, and Native Americans. Although they don't have the rights of citizenship at this time, it is Lincoln's words, spoken here at Gettysburg, that are embodied in their movements to obtain those basic, American rights, such as casting their vote in an election, letting their voice be heard in a free democracy.

This was some of the work Abraham Lincoln spoke of. And, in many ways, the unfinished work goes on to this very day. Wherever there is oppression, wherever there is injustice, there's work still left to be done. And this is the great task remaining, not only for the generation of the 1860s, but for all generations.


Part 1

I asked a number of people recently how long they thought the Gettysburg Address actually was. Most said 10-15 minutes or they didn’t know. Amazingly to me, the Gettysburg address lasted just over two minutes and was only 300 words, the length of most blogs today.

President Abraham Lincoln delivered these most famous of all his remarks during the American Civil War, on
Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He is as well known for this speech as he is for helping to abolish slavery.

The speaker before President Lincoln on that historic day gave a two-hour address and no one remembers his name. Mr. Lincoln’s place on the agenda was considered an afterthought and look what happened!

Lincoln scholars have revealed that his speaking abilities did not develop overnight and they did not seem to come to him easily. What did he do right?

He knew how to capture and keep attention.

Here is what was written about another time President Lincoln spoke:

“Mr. Lincoln spoke nearly two hours and we believe he would have held his audience had he spoken all night.”
–Dover (New Hampshire) Inquirer, March 8, 1860

In fairness, there were no movies, no TV, no Internet, no digital devices to otherwise distract audiences in the 19th Century. Speakers were a popular form of entertainment. Nonetheless, I don’t believe human nature has changed that much. We are easily bored and good speakers are those people who have mastered how to select and deliver their words in a way that makes us want to listen.

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Gettysburg Address Delivered by Lincoln

President Lincoln’s most famous speech of 10 poetic sentences was at first received along partisan lines, but it is now regarded as one of the best in American history.

On this day in history, November 19:

President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, four months after Union forces vanquished Confederate troops on the bloody battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the major turning point in the American Civil War.

The townsfolk of Gettysburg built a cemetery for the dead soldiers, who numbered 28,063 Confederates and 23,049 Federals after the three-day battle. A local attorney then invited Lincoln to offer a “few appropriate remarks” after the main speech by Edward Everett, a renowned orator. Everett spoke to the crowd of 15,000 assembled in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery for two hours before Lincoln’s remarks, which lasted only two or three minutes.

Afterward, the Chicago Times wrote of Lincoln’s speech: “The cheeks of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances.” But on June 1, 1865, after Lincoln’s assassination, Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, the well-known abolitionist, said: “That speech, uttered at the field of Gettysburg … and now sanctified by the martyrdom of its author, is a monumental act.”

The Gettysburg Address

“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 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.”

Speech Celebrated American Revolutionary Ideals

The speech was radical because it celebrated “a new birth of freedom” for the American Revolution’s ideals of equality and democratic government over the compromises of the Constitution, which sanctioned the subjugation of enslaved African-Americans in law. After the Gettysburg Address and the end of the war, the Constitution was changed to include the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth amendments.

The Thirteenth Amendment reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The Fourteenth Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

And the Fifteenth Amendment proclaims: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude … The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Battle of Gettysburg Was Turning Point in Civil War

The battle of Gettysburg was the major turning point in the Civil War. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, had pushed into the North to pressure President Lincoln to end the war.

On July 1, 1863, Lee’s army met the Union Army of the Potomac, led by Major General George Meade, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. After two days of fierce fighting, Lee ordered a charge of about 12,000 men into the heart of the Union army. “Pickett’s Charge,” named for Major General George Pickett, ended in disaster. The devastated Confederate army retreated south the next day and never again advanced in any significant way into the North.

This battle proved to be a decisive factor in the Union’s ultimate victory in the war two years later. And the Gettysburg Address, which Lincoln delivered in his high-pitched, Kentucky twang, was soon widely hailed as an exceptional, poetic piece of writing and one of the greatest speeches ever made in the United States.


History in Public: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - HISTORY

Lincoln standing on the station platform - he of the stovepipe hat - at Hanover Junction awaiting his departure to Gettysburg.

Late in 1863, the Union states then fighting in America's Civil War purchased a 17-acre cemetery in Gettysburg, Pa., and planned a commemoration for November 19 of the ferocious battle fought there against Confederate forces in July of that year. Among those receiving one of the hundreds of printed invitations to the ceremony was President Abraham Lincoln, who, surprisingly, was not on the program. In fact, the date for the somber event was established just to accommodate the scheduled speaker, Edward Everett.

When Lincoln RSVP'd his intention to attend, embarrassed organizers hurriedly altered the agenda and invited him to make a few remarks.

For his journey to Gettysburg, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad furnished the president with a special four-car train, and planned its departure from Washington, D.C., for the morning of November 19. Lincoln's concern for his own security led him to reschedule the departure for November 18. The 80-mile trip took his train from Washington through Maryland to Baltimore, where it was transferred to the Northern Central Railway by a team of horses. The Northern Central moved it north to Hanover Junction, Pa., where it was transferred to the Gettysburg Railroad for the remainder of the trip.

This year on November 19 we commemorate the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's brief - just over 270 words - Gettysburg Address. It is thought by many to be the greatest speech ever delivered on American soil. You can retrace much of Lincoln's route to Gettysburg, and stand on the spot he occupied at Hanover Junction, using either of two rail-trails that mark the route of the former Northern Central Railway.

Photo of Heritage Rail Trail County Park © TrailLink.com

The Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail runs 21 miles north out of Cockeysville, Md., to the Maryland-Pennsylvania border near New Freedom, Pa. It continues as the Heritage Rail Trail County Park beyond the border for another 23 miles into Pennsylvania, past Hanover Junction and to York. The route from New Freedom to the junction is a rail-with-trail, as it shares the right-of-way with the active tourist train service, Steam into History. This new excursion railroad features a replica of a Civil War-era locomotive and passenger cars, and shares many activities with Civil War reenactors for added authenticity.

Just 15 months later, this route served an even more somber occasion, as it carried Lincoln's funeral train from Washington, D.C., toward Springfield, Ill.

Tagged with:

James D. Porterfield is Director of the Center for Railway Tourism at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, W.Va., and a contributing editor of Railfan & Railroad magazine.


Abraham Lincoln Was Wrong

Lincoln at Gettysburg – in center without a hat.

In his now famous Gettysburg Address that he delivered on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln misjudged the significance of his comments in dedicating a cemetery for the thousands of Union soldiers who had died at the Battle of Gettysburg just four and a half months earlier.

Lincoln’s Small Part in the Program: Surprisingly, President Lincoln wasn’t the main part of the dedication ceremony. That honor belonged to Edward Everett, a well known orator who gave the main address that droned on for more than two hours. He was followed by the Lincoln whose scant 272 words were delivered in just two minutes.

Lincoln Was Wrong: As Lincoln came toward the end of his comments, he inaccurately pronounced that the words spoken at the somber cemetery dedication would be quickly forgotten: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” He didn’t realize – and no one present that day would have fathomed – that the President’s brief comments would go down in history as some of the most poignant, powerful, and inspirational words ever spoken by a president.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: Here is the text of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

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 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 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.

Reaction to Lincoln’s Address: Lincoln felt insecure about his comments on the occasion, perhaps partially because he had a fever and was physically weak. His secretary, John Hay, observed that as the President spoke, his face was “a ghastly color.” Lincoln was encouraged by Edward Everett’s letter to him the next day praising the speech, prompting the President to reply that he was gratified to learn that his speech had not been a “total failure.” The public’s reaction to Lincoln’s address was predictably split along party lines. One unsympathetic newspaper attacked Lincoln’s words as “silly, flat and dishwatery utterances.” On the other hand, a Republican newspaper wrote that the speech was “tasteful and elegant in every word and comma.”

New Book: “Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address” was published on April 1, 2015. The book is a compilation of 100 current responses to and reflections of the Gettysburg Address by notables including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Ken Burns, Steven Spielberg, Sandra Day O’Connor, Lech Walesa, and Colin Powell. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum challenged the contributors to the book to respond to Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg in 272 words – the same length as Lincoln’s address – not a word less nor a word more.

How Would You Respond to the Gettysburg Address? What do you think is the significance of Lincoln’s timeless words at Gettysburg? What would you write in 272 words as your response? Your response can focus on your reflection of his words, how the Gettysburg Address is relevant today, how it should be relevant today, or any other aspect of how you respond to Lincoln’s words spoken more than 150 years ago. If you’re up for the challenge, you can either comment to this blog posting or email me your contribution. In a future blog posting, I will compile all of the responses so that everyone can read them. Remember to make your response exactly 272 words!


Today in History 11/19/1863 – Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.

The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing. The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee’s defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army’s ultimate decline.

Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln—just two weeks before the ceremony—requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the grounds. Read more

Gettysburg Address

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.


Free Example of Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address Essay

The Gettysburg address happened on 19th November, 1863 by the then president of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln. He delivered the speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was during the Soldiers National Cemetery dedication. Gettysburg at this time was a victim of a three days plight that took place at its premises in early July. Lincoln was addressing approximately fifteen to twenty thousand American citizens who had attended the inauguration of the cemetery. Lincoln speaks with suppliant, requesting citizens to embrace the beginning and endless freedom and democracy, and talks of the sacrifices that would be done to achieve that. The speech describes the history of freedom of America from the hands of its colonizers, and a section on consecration of the cemetery and appreciation of soldiers who perished in the just ended carnage. The essay will look at the antithesis and the climax that appears in the last paragraph of the speech. It will show the effects that arose through the use of by the antithesis and the climax then and even today (Nancy, 1999)

In his speech, Lincoln uses a number of rhetoric speeches, but the most striking appear in the last paragraph of his speech. Antithesis contrasts ideas by directly opposing them linguistically in a series. The use of antithesis is obvious where he states &ldquothe brave men, living and dead&hellip" and, &ldquoThe world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.&rdquo(Carmichael, 1917). He meant that deeds were necessary than words (Peterson & Merrill, 1994). The climax of his address states, &ldquoIt is rather for us to be here dedicated to the formidable task remaining before us from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they give their last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain"(Rivera, 2004). This nation under God, shall have a new rebirth of freedom, and that the government of the people by the people, by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth.&rdquo (Peterson & Merril, 1994).

The effects of the words have been evident in the subsequent years, in America's history. It is evident when he says that, people will never remember or note what they say is still in force and a philosophy in America. Contrary to that, it has become a political philosophy of American people. The children of America are on terms in memorizing the address of Lincoln every day of their lives. On 11th September, 2002, after the attack on the world trade centre, New York governor read the Gettysburg address instead of giving a speech of his own (Peterson & Merrill, 1994). His antithesis of living and the dead are a preposition that brings defines the expression of unity and togetherness in struggling to achieve a steady state. He tells them not to vacillate on the tedium old union of slavery and hatred but to adopt a new union of change and togetherness.

The climax gave a shift from the focus of the past plight to a presumptuous future. Its effect is in force even today in America. It is a practice in the forgetting of the old union and formation of the new union where it is no longer &lsquoA united states of America but rather &lsquoThe united states of America&rsquo. He the Americans now has gained the efficacy in maintaining a stable government through the constitution, wealth and power (Garry, 1992). He tells the people to own the government with impetus mind that would see them flourish and become a sovereign nation. (Garry, 1992)

In conclusion, it is exceptionally clear and evident that Lincoln speech has found it roots in America&rsquos life. It is a foundation stone that has seen America stand together to forget the miseries that they suffered centuries ago, and thrust forward. The use of antithesis and the climax specially brings a noticeable effect in the whole issue and a turning point from the old union


Contents

Following the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1–3, 1863, the removal of the fallen Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield graves and their reburial in graves at the National Cemetery at Gettysburg began on October 17, though on the day of the ceremony, reinterment was less than half complete. [11]

In inviting President Lincoln to the ceremonies, David Wills, of the committee for the November 19 Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, wrote, "It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks." [12]

On the train trip from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg on November 18, Lincoln was accompanied by three members of his Cabinet, William Seward, John Usher and Montgomery Blair, several foreign officials, his secretary John Nicolay, and his assistant secretary, John Hay. During the trip Lincoln remarked to Hay that he felt weak on the morning of November 19, Lincoln mentioned to Nicolay that he was dizzy. Hay noted that during the speech Lincoln's face had "a ghastly color" and that he was "sad, mournful, almost haggard." After the speech, when Lincoln boarded the 6:30 pm train for Washington, D.C., he was feverish and weak, with a severe headache. A protracted illness followed, which included a vesicular rash it was diagnosed as a mild case of smallpox. It thus seems highly likely that Lincoln was in the prodromal period of smallpox when he delivered the Gettysburg address. [13]

After arriving in Gettysburg, which had become filled with large crowds, Lincoln spent the night in Wills's house. A large crowd appeared at the house, singing and wanting Lincoln to make a speech. Lincoln met the crowd, but did not have a speech prepared, and returned inside after saying a few extemporaneous words. The crowd then continued to another house, where Secretary of State William Seward delivered a speech. Later that night, Lincoln wrote and briefly met with Seward before going to bed at about midnight. [14]

The program organized for that day by Wills and his committee included:

Music, by Birgfeld's Band [15] ("Homage d'uns Heros" by Adolph Birgfeld)

Prayer, by Reverend T. H. Stockton, D.D.

Music, by the Marine Band ("Old Hundred"), directed by Francis Scala

Oration, by Hon. Edward Everett ("The Battles of Gettysburg")

Music, Hymn ("Consecration Chant") by B. B. French, Esq., music by Wilson G Horner, sung by Baltimore Glee Club

Dedicatory Remarks, by the President of the United States

Dirge ("Oh! It is Great for Our Country to Die", words by James G. Percival, music by Alfred Delaney), sung by Choir selected for the occasion

Benediction, by Reverend H. L. Baugher, D.D. [12]

While it is Lincoln's short speech that has gone down in history as one of the finest examples of English public oratory, it was Everett's two-hour oration that was slated to be the "Gettysburg address" that day. His now seldom-read oration was 13,607 words long [16] and lasted two hours. [17]

Lengthy dedication addresses like Everett's were common at cemeteries in this era. The tradition began in 1831 when Justice Joseph Story delivered the dedication address at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Those addresses often linked cemeteries to the mission of Union. [18]

Shortly after Everett's well-received remarks, Lincoln spoke for only a few minutes. [19] With a "few appropriate remarks", he was able to summarize his view of the war in just ten sentences.

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. [20] [21] 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. [22] 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. [22]

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.

In Lincoln at Gettysburg, Garry Wills notes the parallels between Lincoln's speech and Pericles's Funeral Oration during the Peloponnesian War as described by Thucydides. (James McPherson notes this connection in his review of Wills's book. [23] Gore Vidal also draws attention to this link in a BBC documentary about oration. [24] ) Pericles' speech, like Lincoln's:

  • Begins with an acknowledgment of revered predecessors: "I shall begin with our ancestors: it is both just and proper that they should have the honor of the first mention on an occasion like the present"
  • Praises the uniqueness of the State's commitment to democracy: "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences"
  • Honors the sacrifice of the slain, "Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonor, but met danger face to face"
  • Exhorts the living to continue the struggle: "You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue." [23][25]

In contrast, writer Adam Gopnik, in The New Yorker, notes that while Everett's Oration was explicitly neoclassical, referring directly to Marathon and Pericles, "Lincoln's rhetoric is, instead, deliberately Biblical. (It is difficult to find a single obviously classical reference in any of his speeches.) Lincoln had mastered the sound of the King James Bible so completely that he could recast abstract issues of constitutional law in Biblical terms, making the proposition that Texas and New Hampshire should be forever bound by a single post office sound like something right out of Genesis." [20]

Several theories have been advanced by Lincoln scholars to explain the provenance of Lincoln's famous phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people". Despite many claims, there is no evidence that a similar phrase appears in the Prologue to John Wycliffe's 1384 English translation of the Bible. [26]

In a discussion "A more probable origin of a famous Lincoln phrase", [27] in The American Monthly Review of Reviews, Albert Shaw credits a correspondent with pointing out the writings of William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner, who wrote in the 1888 work Abraham Lincoln: The True Story of A Great Life that he had brought to Lincoln some of the sermons of abolitionist minister Theodore Parker, of Massachusetts, and that Lincoln was moved by Parker's use of this idea:

I brought with me additional sermons and lectures of Theodore Parker, who was warm in his commendation of Lincoln. One of these was a lecture on 'The Effect of Slavery on the American People' . which I gave to Lincoln, who read and returned it. He liked especially the following expression, which he marked with a pencil, and which he in substance afterwards used in his Gettysburg Address: 'Democracy is direct self-government, over all the people, for all the people, by all the people.' [28]

Craig R. Smith, in "Criticism of Political Rhetoric and Disciplinary Integrity", suggested Lincoln's view of the government as expressed in the Gettysburg Address was influenced by the noted speech of Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, the "Second Reply to Hayne", in which Webster famously thundered "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" [29] Specifically, in this speech on January 26, 1830, before the United States Senate, Webster described the federal government as: "made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people", foreshadowing Lincoln's "government of the people, by the people, for the people". [30] Webster also noted, "This government, Sir, is the independent offspring of the popular will. It is not the creature of State legislatures nay, more, if the whole truth must be told, the people brought it into existence, established it, and have hitherto supported it, for the very purpose, amongst others, of imposing certain salutary restraints on State sovereignties." [30]

Wills observed Lincoln's usage of the imagery of birth, life, and death in reference to a nation "brought forth", "conceived", and that shall not "perish". [31] Others, including Allen C. Guelzo, the director of Civil War Era studies at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, [32] suggested that Lincoln's formulation "four score and seven" was an allusion to the King James Version of the Bible's Psalms 90:10, in which man's lifespan is given as "threescore years and ten and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years". [33] [34]

Glenn LaFantasie, writing for the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, also connected "four score and seven years" with Psalms 90:10, and referred to Lincoln's usage of the phrase "our fathers" as "mindful of the Lord's Prayer". [35] He also refers to Garry Wills's tracing of spiritual language in the address to the Gospel of Luke. Philip B. Kunhardt Jr. suggests that Lincoln was inspired by the Book of Common Prayer. A 1959 thesis by William J. Wolf suggested that the address had a central image of baptism, although LaFantasie believes that Wolf's position was likely an overstatement. [36]

Each of the five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address is named for the person who received it from Lincoln. Lincoln gave copies to his private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. [37] Both of these drafts were written around the time of his November 19 address, while the other three copies of the address, the Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss copies, were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after November 19. [38] [39] In part because Lincoln provided a title and signed and dated the Bliss copy, it has become the standard text of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. [40]

Nicolay and Hay were appointed custodians of Lincoln's papers by Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln in 1874. [37] After appearing in facsimile in an article written by John Nicolay in 1894, the Nicolay copy was presumably among the papers passed to Hay by Nicolay's daughter Helen upon Nicolay's death in 1901. Robert Lincoln began a search for the original copy in 1908, which resulted in the discovery of a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address among the bound papers of John Hay—a copy now known as the "Hay copy" or "Hay draft". [37]

The Hay draft differed from the version of the Gettysburg Address published by John Nicolay in 1894 in a number of significant ways: it was written on a different type of paper, had a different number of words per line and number of lines, and contained editorial revisions in Lincoln's hand. [37]

Both the Hay and Nicolay copies of the Address are within the Library of Congress, encased in specially designed, temperature-controlled, sealed containers with argon gas in order to protect the documents from oxidation and continued deterioration. [41]

Nicolay copy

The Nicolay copy [a] is often called the "first draft" because it is believed to be the earliest copy that exists. [42] [43] Scholars disagree over whether the Nicolay copy was actually the reading copy Lincoln held at Gettysburg on November 19. In an 1894 article that included a facsimile of this copy, Nicolay, who had become the custodian of Lincoln's papers, wrote that Lincoln had brought to Gettysburg the first part of the speech written in ink on Executive Mansion stationery, and that he had written the second page in pencil on lined paper before the dedication on November 19. [42] Matching folds are still evident on the two pages, suggesting it could be the copy that eyewitnesses say Lincoln took from his coat pocket and read at the ceremony. [43] [44] Others believe that the delivery text has been lost, because some of the words and phrases of the Nicolay copy do not match contemporary transcriptions of Lincoln's original speech. [45] The words "under God", for example, are missing in this copy from the phrase "that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom . " In order for the Nicolay draft to have been the reading copy, either the contemporary transcriptions were inaccurate, or Lincoln would have had to depart from his written text in several instances. This copy of the Gettysburg Address apparently remained in John Nicolay's possession until his death in 1901, when it passed to his friend and colleague John Hay. [37] It used to be on display as part of the American Treasures exhibition of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. [46]

Hay copy

The existence of the Hay copy [b] was first announced to the public in 1906, after the search for the "original manuscript" of the Address among the papers of John Hay brought it to light. [37] Significantly, it differs somewhat from the manuscript of the Address described by John Nicolay in his article, and contains numerous omissions and inserts in Lincoln's own hand, including omissions critical to the basic meaning of the sentence, not simply words that would be added by Lincoln to strengthen or clarify their meaning. [ citation needed ] In this copy, as in the Nicolay copy, the words "under God" are not present.

This version has been described as "the most inexplicable" of the drafts and is sometimes referred to as the "second draft". [43] [47] The "Hay copy" was made either on the morning of the delivery of the Address, or shortly after Lincoln's return to Washington. Those who believe that it was completed on the morning of his address point to the fact that it contains certain phrases that are not in the first draft but are in the reports of the address as delivered and in subsequent copies made by Lincoln. It is probable, they conclude, that, as stated in the explanatory note accompanying the original copies of the first and second drafts in the Library of Congress, Lincoln held this second draft when he delivered the address. [48] Lincoln eventually gave this copy to Hay, whose descendants donated both it and the Nicolay copy to the Library of Congress in 1916. [49]

Everett copy

The Everett copy, [c] also known as the "Everett-Keyes copy", was sent by President Lincoln to Edward Everett in early 1864, at Everett's request. [ citation needed ] Everett was collecting the speeches at the Gettysburg dedication into one bound volume to sell for the benefit of stricken soldiers at New York's Sanitary Commission Fair. The draft Lincoln sent became the third autograph copy, and is now in the possession of the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield, Illinois, [48] where it is displayed in the Treasures Gallery of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Bancroft copy

The Bancroft copy [d] of the Gettysburg Address was written out by President Lincoln in February 1864 at the request of George Bancroft, the famed historian and former Secretary of the Navy, whose comprehensive ten-volume History of the United States later led him to be known as the "father of American History". [50] [51] Bancroft planned to include this copy in Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors, which he planned to sell at a Soldiers' and Sailors' Sanitary Fair in Baltimore. As this fourth copy was written on both sides of the paper, it proved unusable for this purpose, and Bancroft was allowed to keep it. This manuscript is the only one accompanied both by a letter from Lincoln transmitting the manuscript and by the original envelope addressed and franked by Lincoln. [52] This copy remained in the Bancroft family for many years, was sold to various dealers and purchased by Nicholas and Marguerite Lilly Noyes, [53] who donated the manuscript to Cornell University in 1949. It is now held by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell. [48] It is the only one of the five copies to be privately owned. [54]

Bliss copy

Discovering that his fourth written copy could not be used, Lincoln then wrote a fifth draft, which was accepted for the purpose requested. The Bliss copy, [e] named for Colonel Alexander Bliss, Bancroft's stepson and publisher of Autograph Leaves, is the only draft to which Lincoln affixed his signature. Lincoln is not known to have made any further copies of the Gettysburg Address. Because of the apparent care in its preparation, and in part, because Lincoln provided a title and signed and dated this copy, it has become the standard version of the address and the source for most facsimile reproductions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It is the version that is inscribed on the South wall of the Lincoln Memorial. [40]

This draft is now displayed in the Lincoln Room of the White House, a gift of Oscar B. Cintas, former Cuban Ambassador to the United States. [48] Cintas, a wealthy collector of art and manuscripts, purchased the Bliss copy at a public auction in 1949 for $54,000 ($587,000 as of 2021), at that time the highest price ever paid for a document at public auction. [55] Cintas' properties were claimed by the Castro government after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, but Cintas, who died in 1957, willed the Gettysburg Address to the American people, provided it would be kept at the White House, where it was transferred in 1959. [56]

Garry Wills concluded the Bliss copy "is stylistically preferable to others in one significant way: Lincoln removed 'here' from 'that cause for which they (here) gave . ' The seventh 'here' is in all other versions of the speech." Wills noted the fact that Lincoln "was still making such improvements", suggesting Lincoln was more concerned with a perfected text than with an 'original' one. [57]

From November 21, 2008, to January 1, 2009, the Albert H. Small Documents Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History hosted a limited public viewing of the Bliss copy, with the support of then-First Lady Laura Bush. The Museum also launched an online exhibition and interactive gallery to enable visitors to look more closely at the document. [58]

Associate Press report

Another contemporary source of the text is the Associated Press dispatch, transcribed from the shorthand notes taken by reporter Joseph L. Gilbert. It also differs from the drafted text in a number of minor ways. [59] [60]

Eyewitness reports vary as to their view of Lincoln's performance. In 1931, the printed recollections of 87-year-old Mrs. Sarah A. Cooke Myers, who was 19 when she attended the ceremony, suggest a dignified silence followed Lincoln's speech: "I was close to the President and heard all of the Address, but it seemed short. Then there was an impressive silence like our Menallen Friends Meeting. There was no applause when he stopped speaking." [62] According to historian Shelby Foote, after Lincoln's presentation, the applause was delayed, scattered, and "barely polite". [63] In contrast, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin maintained, "He pronounced that speech in a voice that all the multitude heard. The crowd was hushed into silence because the President stood before them . It was so Impressive! It was the common remark of everybody. Such a speech, as they said it was!" [64]

In an oft-repeated legend, Lincoln is said to have turned to his bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon and remarked that his speech, like a bad plow, "won't scour". According to Garry Wills, this statement has no basis in fact and largely originates from the unreliable recollections of Lamon. [12] In Garry Wills's view, "[Lincoln] had done what he wanted to do [at Gettysburg]". [ page needed ]

In a letter to Lincoln written the following day, Everett praised the President for his eloquent and concise speech, saying, "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes." [65] Lincoln replied that he was glad to know the speech was not a "total failure". [65]

Other public reaction to the speech was divided along partisan lines. [9] The Democratic-leaning Chicago Times observed, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States." [66] In contrast, the Republican-leaning The New York Times was complimentary and printed the speech. [61] In Massachusetts, the Springfield Republican also printed the entire speech, calling it "a perfect gem" that was "deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma". The Republican predicted that Lincoln's brief remarks would "repay further study as the model speech". [67] In 2013, on the sesquicentennial of the address, The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, formerly the Patriot & Union, retracted its original reaction ("silly remarks" deserving "the veil of oblivion") stating: "Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives. . the Patriot & Union failed to recognize [the speech's] momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error." [68] [69]

Foreign newspapers also criticized Lincoln's remarks. The Times of London commented: "The ceremony [at Gettysburg] was rendered ludicrous by some of the luckless sallies of that poor President Lincoln." [70]

Congressman Joseph A. Goulden, then an eighteen-year-old school teacher, was present and heard the speech. He served in the United States Marine Corps during the war, and later had a successful career in insurance in Pennsylvania and New York City before entering Congress as a Democrat. In his later life, Goulden was often asked about the speech, since the passage of time made him one of a dwindling number of individuals who had been present for it. He commented on the event and Lincoln's speech in favorable terms, naming Lincoln's address as one of the inspirations for him to enter military service. Goulden's recollections included remarks to the House of Representatives in 1914. [71] [72]

Audio recollections

William R. Rathvon is the only known eyewitness of both Lincoln's arrival at Gettysburg and the address itself to have left an audio recording of his recollections. [73] One year before his death in 1939, Rathvon's reminiscences were recorded on February 12, 1938, at the Boston studios of radio station WRUL, including his reading the address, itself, and a 78 RPM record was pressed. The title of the 78 record was "I Heard Lincoln That Day – William R. Rathvon, TR Productions". A copy wound up at National Public Radio (NPR) during a "Quest for Sound" project in 1999. [74]

Like most people who came to Gettysburg, the Rathvon family was aware that Lincoln was going to make some remarks. The family went to the town square where the procession was to form to go out to the cemetery that had not been completed yet. At the head of the procession rode Lincoln on a gray horse preceded by a military band that was the first the young boy had ever seen. Rathvon describes Lincoln as so tall and with such long legs that they went almost to the ground he also mentions the long eloquent speech given by Edward Everett of Massachusetts whom Rathvon accurately described as the "most finished orator of the day". Rathvon then goes on to describe how Lincoln stepped forward and "with a manner serious almost to sadness, gave his brief address". During the delivery, along with some other boys, young Rathvon wiggled his way forward through the crowd until he stood within 15 feet (4.6 m) of Mr. Lincoln and looked up into what he described as Lincoln's "serious face". Rathvon recalls candidly that, although he listened "intently to every word the president uttered and heard it clearly", he explains, "boylike, I could not recall any of it afterwards". But he explains that if anyone said anything disparaging about "honest Abe", there would have been a "junior battle of Gettysburg". In the recording Rathvon speaks of Lincoln's speech allegorically "echoing through the hills". [ citation needed ]

Photographs

The only known and confirmed photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg, [75] taken by photographer David Bachrach, [76] was identified in the Mathew Brady collection of photographic plates in the National Archives and Records Administration in 1952. While Lincoln's speech was short and may have precluded multiple pictures of him while speaking, he and the other dignitaries sat for hours during the rest of the program. Given the length of Everett's speech and the length of time it took for 19th-century photographers to get "set up" before taking a picture, it is quite plausible that the photographers were ill-prepared for the brevity of Lincoln's remarks. [ citation needed ]

Usage of "under God"

The words "under God" do not appear in the Nicolay and Hay drafts but are included in the three later copies (Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss). Accordingly, some skeptics maintain that Lincoln did not utter the words "under God" at Gettysburg. [77] [78] However, at least three reporters telegraphed the text of Lincoln's speech on the day the Address was given with the words "under God" included. Historian William E. Barton argues that: [79]

Every stenographic report, good, bad and indifferent, says 'that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom.' There was no common source from which all the reporters could have obtained those words but from Lincoln's own lips at the time of delivery. It will not do to say that [Secretary of War] Stanton suggested those words after Lincoln's return to Washington, for the words were telegraphed by at least three reporters on the afternoon of the delivery.

The reporters present included Joseph Gilbert, from the Associated Press Charles Hale, from the Boston Advertiser [80] John R. Young (who later became the Librarian of Congress), from the Philadelphia Press and reporters from the Cincinnati Commercial, [81] New York Tribune, [82] and The New York Times. [82] Charles Hale "had notebook and pencil in hand, [and] took down the slow-spoken words of the President". [83] "He took down what he declared was the exact language of Lincoln's address, and his declaration was as good as the oath of a court stenographer. His associates confirmed his testimony, which was received, as it deserved to be, at its face value." [84] One explanation is that Lincoln deviated from his prepared text and inserted the phrase when he spoke. Ronald C. White, visiting professor of history at the University of California, Los Angeles and professor of American religious history emeritus at the San Francisco Theological Seminary, wrote in this context of Lincoln's insertion and usage of "under God":

It was an uncharacteristically spontaneous revision for a speaker who did not trust extemporaneous speech. Lincoln had added impromptu words in several earlier speeches, but always offered a subsequent apology for the change. In this instance, he did not. And Lincoln included "under God" in all three copies of the address he prepared at later dates. "Under God" pointed backward and forward: back to "this nation", which drew its breath from both political and religious sources, but also forward to a "new birth". Lincoln had come to see the Civil War as a ritual of purification. The old Union had to die. The old man had to die. Death became a transition to a new Union and a new humanity. [8]

The phrase "under God" was used frequently in works published before 1860, usually with the meaning "with God's help". [85]

Outside of either entrance to the National Cemetery, twin historical markers read:

Nearby, Nov. 19, 1863, in dedicating the National Cemetery, Abraham Lincoln gave the address which he had written in Washington and revised after his arrival at Gettysburg the evening of November 18. [88] [89]

Directly inside the Taneytown Road entrance are the Lincoln Address Memorial and Rostrum, which has hosted speeches by five U.S. Presidents. Lincoln was not one of them, and a small metal sign near the speech memorial stirs controversy by stating:

The Address was delivered about 300 yards from this spot along the upper Cemetery drive. The site is now marked by the Soldiers' National Monument. [90]

Holding title as the Traditional Site, the validity of the Soldiers' National Monument has been challenged by platform occupants (in the distant past) and by (relatively recent) photographic analyses. Based upon a pair of photographic analyses, the Gettysburg National Military Park (G.N.M.P.) has placed a marker (near 39°49.199′N 77°13.840′W) which states, "The location [of the platform] was never marked, but is believed to be in Evergreen Cemetery, on the other side of the iron fence." [91]

The observer of this newer marker stands facing the fence which separates the two adjacent cemeteries (one public and one private). Another heavy endorsement of the Traditional Site, this one in bronze and placed by Lincoln's native Commonwealth, stands nearby. [92]

Absent an original and enduring marker, the location of the platform is in the hands of rhetoricians and scholars. The Superintendent of Evergreen Cemetery, Brian Kennell, emphatically endorses the findings of William Frassanito's photographic analysis. [93]

Pre-modern

Colonel W. Yates Selleck was a marshal in the parade on Consecration Day and was seated on the platform when Lincoln made the address. [94] Selleck marked a map with the position of the platform and described it as "350 feet [110 m] almost due north of Soldiers' National Monument, 40 feet [12 m] from a point in the outer circle of lots where [the] Michigan and New York [burial sections] are separated by a path". [95] A location which approximates this description is 39°49.243′N, 77°13.869′W.

As pointed out in 1973 by retired park historian Frederick Tilberg, the Selleck Site is 25 feet (7.6 m) lower than the crest of Cemetery Hill, and only the crest presents a panoramic view of the battlefield. A spectacular view from the location of the speech was noted by many eyewitnesses, is consistent with the Traditional Site at the Soldiers' National Monument (and other sites on the crest) but is inconsistent with the Selleck Site. [96] [97]

The Kentucky Memorial, erected in 1975, is directly adjacent to the Soldiers' National Monument, and states, "Kentucky honors her son, Abraham Lincoln, who delivered his immortal address at the site now marked by the soldiers' monument." With its position at the center of the concentric rings of soldiers' graves and the continuing endorsement of Lincoln's native state the Soldiers' National Monument persists as a credible location for the speech. [98] [99] [100]

Writing a physical description of the layout for the Gettysburg National Cemetery under construction in November 1863, the correspondent from the Cincinnati Daily Commercial described the dividing lines between the state grave plots as "the radii of a common center, where a flag pole is now raised, but where it is proposed to erect a national monument". [101] With the inclusion of this quotation Tilberg inadvertently verifies a central principle of future photographic analyses—a flagpole, rather than the speakers' platform, occupied the central point of the soldiers' graves. In fact, the precision of the photo-analyses relies upon the coincidence of position between this temporary flag pole and the future monument. [102]

Confusing to today's tourist, the Kentucky Memorial is contradicted by a newer marker which was erected nearby by the Gettysburg National Military Park and locates the speakers' platform inside Evergreen Cemetery. [103] Similarly, outdated National Park Service documents which pinpoint the location at the Soldiers' National Monument have not been systematically revised since the placement of the newer marker. [104] [105] Miscellaneous web pages perpetuate the Traditional Site. [106] [107] [108]

Photo analysis

2-D and optical stereoscopy

In 1982, Senior Park Historian Kathleen Georg Harrison first analyzed photographs and proposed a location in Evergreen Cemetery but has not published her analysis. Speaking for Harrison without revealing details, two sources characterize her proposed location as "on or near [the] Brown family vault" in Evergreen Cemetery. [109] [110]

Resolution

The GNMP marker, Wills's interpretation of Harrison's analysis, and the Frassanito analysis concur that the platform was located in private Evergreen Cemetery, rather than public Soldiers' National Cemetery. The National Park Service's National Cemetery Walking Tour brochure is one NPS document which agrees:

The Soldiers' National Monument, long misidentified as the spot from which Lincoln spoke, honors the fallen soldiers. [The location of the speech] was actually on the crown of this hill, a short distance on the other side of the iron fence and inside the Evergreen Cemetery, where President Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address to a crowd of some 15,000 people. [112]

The locations determined by the Harrison/Wills analysis and the Frassanito analysis differ by 40 yards. Frassanito has documented 1) his own conclusion, 2) his own methods and 3) a refutation of the Harrison site, [113] but neither the GNMP nor Harrison has provided any documentation. Each of the three points to a location in Evergreen Cemetery, as do modern NPS publications.

Although Lincoln dedicated the Gettysburg National Cemetery, the monument at the Cemetery's center actually has nothing to do with Lincoln or his famous speech. Intended to symbolize Columbia paying tribute to her fallen sons, its appreciation has been commandeered by the thirst for a tidy home for the speech. [114] Freeing the Cemetery and Monument to serve their original purpose, honoring of Union departed, is as unlikely as a resolution to the location controversy and the erection of a public monument to the speech in the exclusively private Evergreen Cemetery. [115]

The importance of the Gettysburg Address in the history of the United States is underscored by its enduring presence in American culture. In addition to its prominent place carved into a stone cella on the south wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the Gettysburg Address is frequently referred to in works of popular culture, with the implicit expectation that contemporary audiences will be familiar with Lincoln's words.

In the many generations that have passed since the Address, it has remained among the most famous speeches in American history, [116] and is often taught in classes about history or civics. [117] Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is itself referenced in another of those famed orations, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. [118] Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, King began with a reference, by the style of his opening phrase, to President Lincoln and his enduring words: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice."

Phrases from the Address are often used or referenced in other works. The current Constitution of France states that the principle of the French Republic is "gouvernement du peuple, par le peuple et pour le peuple " ("government of the people, by the people, and for the people"), a literal translation of Lincoln's words. [119] Sun Yat-Sen's "Three Principles of the People" as well as the preamble for the 1947 Constitution of Japan were also inspired from that phrase. [120] [121] The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has as its ship's motto the phrase "shall not perish". [122] [123]

U.S. Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts wrote of the address and its enduring presence in American culture after Lincoln's assassination in April 1865: "That speech, uttered at the field of Gettysburg . and now sanctified by the martyrdom of its author, is a monumental act. In the modesty of his nature he said 'the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here.' He was mistaken. The world at once noted what he said, and will never cease to remember it." [9]

U.S. President John F. Kennedy stated in July 1963 about the battle and Lincoln's speech: "Five score years ago the ground on which we here stand shuddered under the clash of arms and was consecrated for all time by the blood of American manhood. Abraham Lincoln, in dedicating this great battlefield, has expressed, in words too eloquent for paraphrase or summary, why this sacrifice was necessary." [124]

In 2015, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation compiled Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The work challenges leaders to craft 272 word responses to celebrate Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, or a related topic. [125] One of the replies was by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in which he made the point that one of Lincoln's greatest legacies was establishing, in the same year of the Gettysburg Address, the National Academy of Sciences, which had the longterm effect of "setting our Nation on a course of scientifically enlightened governance, without which we all may perish from this Earth". [126]

Envelope and other myths

A common American myth about the Gettysburg Address is that Lincoln quickly wrote the speech on the back of an envelope. [127] This widely held misunderstanding may have originated with a popular book, The Perfect Tribute, by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews (1906), which was assigned reading for generations of schoolchildren, sold 600,000 copies when published as a standalone volume, [128] and was twice adapted for film.

Other lesser-known claims include Harriet Beecher Stowe's assertion that Lincoln had composed the address "in only a few moments," and that of industrialist Andrew Carnegie, who claimed to have personally supplied Lincoln with a pen. [129]


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