Gettysburg -adressen: En ny uafhængighedserklæring

Gettysburg -adressen: En ny uafhængighedserklæring


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Gettysburg -adressen indeholder to enkle sandheder - vi skal kæmpe for dem

Gettysburg -adressen indeholder to enkle sandheder. Den ene findes i sin første sætning, en i den sidste.

Den første er, at "alle mænd er skabt lige". Det andet ligger i Abraham Lincolns beslutsomhed om, at "... folkets regering, af folket, for folket, ikke skal forgå fra jorden." Halvandet århundrede efter at de blev talt, er kraften i de 21 ord ikke formindsket.

Dette er ikke at sige, at resten af ​​adressen ikke længere har betydning. Vi skal huske dem, der kæmpede og døde i den amerikanske borgerkrig. Alle Lincolns ord er vidunderlige at læse og skrive på en måde, der er let for folk at forstå. Hans taler har en poetisk enkelhed.

Men i dag, når vi læser Gettysburg -adressen, skal vi først mindes om, at i USA - som i hele verden - er de enkle sandheder, de udtrykker, under vedvarende angreb.

Madstempler. Nedskæringer i den offentlige service. Angreb på stemmerettigheder i et demokratisk system fuldstændig prisgivet. Dødsstraf, det forfærdelige symbol på et strafferetligt system vægtet mod de fattige. Skattemæssig ulighed. Skatteydernes penge bruges til at komme op ad Wall Street. Modstand mod sundhedspleje for alle. Modstand mod immigrationsreform. Regeringens overvågning.

Ingen har brug for en historieeksamen for at vide, at kampen for ligestilling og folkedemokrati ikke sluttede med den amerikanske borgerkrig i 1865.

Lincoln førte en krigsindsats, der resulterede i afskaffelse af slaveri. Vi bør aldrig glemme dette - især når kraftfulde påmindelser er tilgængelige. Marker 150 -årsdagen for Lincolns tale med en visning af 12 Years a Slave, og du vil blive mindet med en række frygtelige ryk om, at Lincoln i Gettysburg -adressen simpelthen sagde sandheden.

Forfatteren til den film, Tony Ridley, er amerikansk. Men ligesom mig er instruktøren, Steve McQueen, britisk. Så er hans stjerne, Chiwetel Ejiofor. Den kvindelige hoved, Lupita Nyong'o, er kenyansk. Gettysburg -adressen er en grundsten i amerikansk historie, men ligesom uafhængighedserklæringen (som den citerer) giver den også genlyd rundt om i verden. Lincolns ord taler klart til os, der er fra lande, uanset hvor godartet de er, hvor alle mennesker ikke anses for at være lige. Det taler mere presserende til dem, der stadig lever under slaveri, eller teokrati eller diktatur.

Vi er alle lige - uanset fødsel, farve, religiøs tro eller mangel på det, køn eller seksuel orientering. Vi er alle lige uanset rigdom. Vi har gjort fremskridt med at anerkende den ligestilling, men i halvandet århundrede siden slaveriet faldt, er vi ikke kommet tæt på at perfektionere den. Vores regeringer bør i det mindste forsøge at gøre det.

I dag kan vi så spørge: opfordret til at læse Lincolns ord, kunne nogen af ​​vores ledere muligvis gøre dem retfærdige?

Vi har en chance for at finde ud af det. For PBS har dokumentaren Ken Burns filmet offentlige personer, der læser Gettysburg -adressen. Listen indeholder alle levende præsidenter samt kongresmedlemmer, borgmestre, historikere, journalister og Whoopi Goldberg. Stephen Colberts præstation er beregnet til at være sjov. Marco Rubios mindre end det. Tea Party -favorit Ted Cruz, ak, har endnu ikke besvaret opkaldet.

Det repræsenterede meningsspektrum - fra Bill O'Reilly til Rachel Maddow - demonstrerer kaotisk karakter af ethvert demokrati. Men hvis vi kan blive enige om, som deltagerne i Burns 'projekt formodentlig gør, at Gettysburg -adressen udtrykker de grundlæggende sandheder, som Amerika var baseret på, bør vi i det mindste være ærlige over for os selv om, hvordan disse sandheder relaterer til Amerika og verden i dag. Lincolns ord skal ikke blot fejres uden at stille spørgsmålstegn ved, hvad han mente med dem. Vi bør også spørge, hvad hans ord betyder for os.

Om ægte ligestilling under ægte regering af, af og for folket nogensinde kunne eksistere, kan naturligvis diskuteres. Det, der ikke er i tvivl i dag, er, at Abraham Lincoln for 150 år siden fremsatte den mest kraftfulde erklæring, som den burde.


Gettysburg -talen var en tale holdt af præsident Abraham Lincoln den 19. november 1863 ved den officielle indvielse af Soldiers National Cemetery (nu kaldet Gettysburg National Cemetery) på Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Det var en vigtig anledning for nationen at ære dem, der havde givet deres liv under slaget ved Gettysburg.

Slaget ved Gettysburg 1-3. Juli 1863 var et af borgerkrigens blodigste kampe (1861-1865). Union Nord og Sydstat tabte mere end 7.000 mand under den tre dage lange kamp. Over 45.000 blev såret, og mere end 10.000 blev fanget eller savnet. Kirkegården var planlagt som det sidste hvilested for mere end 3.500 unionsoldater, der mistede livet i Gettysburg.

Lincolns Gettysburg -adresse begynder med ordene: "Fire point og for syv år siden frembragte vores fædre på dette kontinent en ny nation, undfanget i frihed og dedikeret til forslaget om, at alle mennesker er skabt lige." En score er en anden måde at sige 20, så Lincoln refererede til 1776, hvilket var 87 år før 1863. Lincoln erklærede, at USA ville fortsætte med at kæmpe for at bevare den nation, der blev skabt af grundlæggerne, der skrev erklæringen om Uafhængighed i 1776.

Gettysburg Adresse fakta og tal:

  • På Lincoln Memorial i Washington, DC, er teksten i Gettysburg -adressen udskåret i en af ​​væggene ved siden af ​​statuen af ​​præsident Lincoln.
  • Lincolns tale varede kun to minutter og indeholdt kun 272 ord, en af ​​de andre talere ved arrangementet, Edward Everett, talte i to timer.

For at se kopier af den originale Gettysburg -adresse, se Library of Congress -webstedet.


Gettysburg -adressen: Poetry

Denne tale var ikke en hvilken som helst tale, denne tale ville blive den ild og lidenskab, der ville føre Unionen til sejr over Amerikas Forenede Stater. Denne tale var det største tale, som Abraham Lincoln nogensinde holdt, og den er den dag i dag stadig en af det største taler i USA ’ historie. På grund af sin korthed og poetiske strømning er Gettysburg -adressen blevet en af ​​de mest gentagne taler til dato. Dele af det blev endda brugt i den berømte ‘I Have a Dream ’ tale, leveret af Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lincoln ’s Gettysburg Address var en lille fordeling af en dedikationspræsentation, hvor et område på slagmarken ville blive omdannet til Soldiers ’ National Cemetery, i Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Denne indvielsesceremoni ville finde sted den 19. november 1863, fire en halv måned efter unionssejren i Gettysburg. (For at læse om denne sejr og den som et “ vendepunkt ” i borgerkrigen, klik her. For at starte min borgerkrig mini-serie fra begyndelsen, klik her.)

David Willis, udvalgsformand for Gettysburg National Park og Soldiers ’ National Cemetery, havde en fuld eftermiddagsplan for indvielsesceremonien. Med musik (4 forskellige sange), bøn og en to-timers tale af Edward Everett skulle præsident Lincoln ’s “ få passende bemærkninger ” bare være en formalitet. Da byen Gettysburg stadig var fortvivlet fra det slag, der havde hærget deres by og vidste, at unionssoldaterne, mens de for nylig sejrede, havde lidt et betydeligt slag, ønskede præsident Lincoln at forsikre alle om, at en sejr i USA var sikker. Edward Everett, en af ​​de mest anerkendte talere i sin tid, holdt en veltalende og langvarig tale (13.607 ord, cirka to timer) for at mindes de mænd, der var faldet og kæmpet i den seneste kamp. Når jeg er færdig, er jeg sikker på, at Everett følte sig sikker på i sin tale, og at en del af hans, ikke Lincoln ’s, ville falde af tusinder af læber i de kommende generationer.

Taler færre end tre minutter, en tale indeholdende ti sætninger og bestående af blot to hundrede og halvfjerds ord (ish –I vil forklare kort tid), ville Gettysburg-adressen vække alle menneskers følelser, fremkalde patriotisme og minde dem om principperne hvilket førte til Amerikas frihed. Det primære formål med Lincoln ’s tale var en af ​​politikken at bevare Unionen. Hvis du lytter og analyserer talen, er den poetisk og fra begyndelsen til slut. Med sin præcision og overflod af litterære anordninger ville Lincoln ’s tale indeholde mange karakteristika ved almindelig poesi, såsom: hentydning, alliteration, antitese, grammatisk parallelisme og gentagelse. Talen var vigtig, idet den mindede alle om krigens underliggende mål. Borgerkrigen var en rensning af etiske og moralske principper, en mulighed for at rette op på grundlæggernes fejl. Disse mænd, der brugte udtrykket “ alle mænd er skabt lige ” i deres lands grundlæggende dokument, startede en nation med slaveri i fælles eksistens. Hvad angår hvordan ‘ alle mænd skabes lige ’ betød, at en mand kunne eje en anden? ”, ville være spørgsmålet om tilsyn, som i sidste ende ville splitte en nation.

Præsident Lincoln holder Gettysburg -adresse

Med henvisning til Bibelen og uafhængighedserklæringen (begge dokumenter, der støttede sig på tillid, der havde vist sig at føre Amerika sandt), mindede præsident Lincoln mængden om, at grundlæggerne i 1776 (tidligere) samlede sig og erklærede deres uafhængighed baseret på frihed og lighed af alle mænd. Lincoln udtaler derefter, at de principper, som Amerika blev grundlagt på, var under angreb. Han presser yderligere på det koncept. At kampen ikke kun er for Amerikas fremtid, men for at bevise, at ethvert land under disse principper kunne overleve. Den anden sektion af talen (til stede) er for soldaterne, faldne eller levende, og deres sag. Uanset om de var levende eller ej, havde alle soldater lidt under denne kamp, ​​og deres indsats skulle ikke glemmes. Han mente, at deres sag var af så stor betydning, at hele verden ville vide det, når de sejrede. Den sidste portion (fremtid) var baseret på resultatet. Lincoln mente, at selvom Unionen ville sejre, måtte Unionen fødes på ny. Unionen ville blomstre i kamp og efter omgruppering have en ny fødsel. Lincoln mente, at en ny union skal indvarsles, en baseret under Gud, med frihed og lighed, og et demokrati “ af folket, af folket, for folket. ”

Gettysburg -adressen: Abraham Lincoln

Fire point og for syv år siden frembragte vores fædre på dette kontinent en ny nation, undfanget i Liberty, og dedikeret til forslaget om, at alle mennesker er skabt lige.

Nu er vi involveret i en stor borgerkrig, der tester, om den nation eller en nation, der er så undfanget og så dedikeret, kan holde længe. Vi mødes på et stort slagmark i den krig. Vi er kommet for at dedikere en del af dette felt som et sidste hvilested for dem, der her gav deres liv, som den nation måtte leve. Det er helt passende og korrekt, at vi skulle gøre dette.

Men i større forstand kan vi ikke dedikere - vi kan ikke indvie - vi kan ikke hellige - denne grund. De tapre mænd, levende og døde, som kæmpede her, har indviet det, langt over vores dårlige magt til at tilføje eller forringe. Verden vil lidt bemærke og heller ikke længe huske, hvad vi siger her, men den kan aldrig glemme, hvad de gjorde her. Det er snarere for os de levende at være dedikeret her til det ufærdige arbejde, som de, der kæmpede her, hidtil har nået adelig frem. Det er snarere for os at være her dedikeret til den store opgave, der står foran os - at vi fra disse ærede døde tager øget hengivenhed for den sag, som de gav den sidste fulde hengivenhed for - at vi her stærkt beslutter, at disse døde ikke skal er forgæves døde - at denne nation, under Gud, skal have en ny fødsel af frihed - og at folkets regering, af folket, for folket, ikke skal gå til grunde på jorden.

Mens hans tale oprindeligt modtog blandet anmeldelse, sendte Edward Everett dette brev til Lincoln dagen efter:

Tillad mig også at udtrykke min store beundring af de tanker, du udtrykte med så veltalende enkelhed og passende hensigtsmæssighed, ved indvielsen af ​​kirkegården. Jeg skulle være glad, hvis jeg kunne smigre mig selv over, at jeg kom så tæt på lejlighedens centrale idé på to timer, som du gjorde på to minutter.

Hvad angår min mening, giver det mig kuldegysninger! Bare hurtig note. Tidligere nævnte jeg, at talens længde var 270 ord (ish). Der findes fem kendte kopier af talen, alle med et andet ord her eller der. Den version, som de fleste historikere bruger, er Bliss -versionen. Selvom den blev skrevet efter talen, er den den eneste dateret og med Abraham Lincoln ’s underskrift påsat den.

Hvis du ikke har hørt Gettysburg -adressen, skal du tage den korte tid (2:32) til at lytte til den.


Husker Gettysburg -adressen

Gettysburg -adressen er måske den mest berømte og ofte citerede tale i amerikansk historie, så meget at den oprindelige hensigt bag Lincolns ord undertiden er gået tabt eller minimeret af transformationen af ​​disse ord fra en tale holdt under borgerkrig til noget tæt på det amerikanske skrift. Af og til skal vi genoverveje, hvad Lincoln sagde, og hvad hans mål var, da han holdt denne berømte lille tale.

Gettysburg -adressen er det sjældne dokument, der taler til nuet og også til fremtiden. Den novemberdag for 147 år siden brugte Lincoln sine "få passende bemærkninger" til at tale til både ofring af de soldater, der kæmpede der, og mere generelt til en nation, der stadig kæmper med borgerkrig. Det, der gør Gettysburg -talen til den tale, vi med glæde husker i dag, er imidlertid, at Lincoln ønskede at tale om noget ud over den kirkegård, han holdt, eller endda den krig, han forsvarede. Lincoln talte til, hvad der er vigtigt om Amerika. Han talte om, hvorfor denne nation er det sidste bedste håb på jorden, noget der taler lige så meget til os i dag, som det ville have dengang.

Lincoln begynder berømt sin tale med ordene "fire score og for syv år siden." Denne begyndelse angiver ikke kun en kronologisk kendsgerning, men den tager nationen tilbage til grundlæggende øjeblik, til revolutionen i 1776. Betydningen af ​​1776 er ikke kun selve begivenheden, men også hvad grundlæggerne sagde de 87 år før. Lincoln, ved at fokusere på revolutionen, og mere specifikt uafhængighedserklæringen, argumenterer for, hvad Amerika står for. I den samme første sætning udtaler han enkelt og direkte sin sag: "en ny nation, der er undfanget i frihed og dedikeret til forslaget om, at alle mennesker er skabt lige." Ved at fremhæve disse ord fra uafhængighedserklæringen taler han indirekte til slaveri, og forsøger på den måde at udvide årsagen til krigen fra bare at redde unionen til at omdefinere unionen eller med Lincolns egne ord, at give nationen "en ny fødsel af frihed." Som Gary Wills har skrevet: "Gettysburg -adressen er blevet et autoritativt udtryk for den amerikanske ånd - lige så autoritativ som erklæringen [uafhængigheden] selv og måske endnu mere indflydelsesrig, da den bestemmer, hvordan vi læser erklæringen."

I dag kan det virke underligt at se erklæringen og de ideer, der findes i den, som kontroversielle, men på Lincolns tid var de kontroversielle. Anti-administration aviser, både her og i udlandet, forstod hvad Lincoln sagde i Gettysburg og forsøgte at modbevise hans argument om vigtigheden af ​​erklæringen. F.eks New York World hævdede, at landet ikke kom fra erklæringen, men fra forfatningen, som, de insisterede, "overhovedet ikke siger noget om ligestillingen." Men forfatningen blev skrevet for at behandle de praktiske spørgsmål om regering og lov, og så i stedet for at tale om idealerne om "liv, frihed og jagten på lykke" taler forfatningen om "liv, frihed og ejendom. ” Erklæringen talte derimod ikke til praktiske spørgsmål om regeringen, men snarere til årsagerne til, at denne nye nation skulle opfattes. Som Ronald C. White bemærker, “Lincoln, selv om han beundrede forfatningen, arbejdede under dens begrænsninger i de første år af krigen. I Gettysburg valgte han at understrege de friheder, der er indeholdt i uafhængighedserklæringen. ”

I Gettysburg -adressen afviste Lincoln imidlertid ikke forfatningen til fordel for uafhængighedserklæringen. I stedet hævede han erklæringen til næsten lige fod med forfatningen og hævdede, at den repræsenterede, hvad hans udenrigsminister, William Seward, engang havde kaldt "den højere lov". Forfatningen er loven i USA, men Lincoln så erklæringen som USA's ånd, og han indså, at for at den nation kunne leve, skulle loven og ånden være en. Som Daniel Webster, en af ​​Lincolns politiske helte, udtrykte det, "frihed og union, nu og for evigt, en og uadskillelig!"


De ord, der har lavet Amerika om

I sommeren 1863 skubbede general Robert E. Lee nordpå til Pennsylvania. Unionshæren mødte ham i Gettysburg, og fra 1. juli til 3. juli fulgte krigens blodigste slag. Da det var slut, var de konfødererede på tilbagetog, og slagmarken var overstrøet med mere end 50.000 døde og sårede.

Fire måneder senere samledes tusinder i Gettysburg for at overvære indvielsen af ​​en ny kirkegård. På programmet var standardsortimentet af musik, bemærkninger og bønner. Men det, der skete den dag, var mere ekstraordinært, end nogen kunne have forudset. I "The Words That Remade America" ​​rekonstruerede historikeren og journalisten Garry Wills begivenhederne op til lejligheden og debuterede myten om, at præsident Lincoln skrev sine bemærkninger i sidste øjeblik, og pakkede Lincolns sprog omhyggeligt ud for at vise hvordan - på kun 272 ord - han kastede subtilt nationens forståelse af forfatningen i nye, egalitære termer. Wills bog Lincoln i Gettysburg, hvorfra essayet blev tilpasset, vandt Pulitzer -prisen i 1993.

I AFTERMATH af slaget ved Gettysburg havde begge sider, efterladt halvtreds tusinde døde eller sårede eller savnede bag sig, grund til at opretholde et stort mønster af foregivelse - Lee lod som om, at han ikke tog en ødelagt sag tilbage til Syd, Meade, der han ville ikke lade de ødelagte stykker falde gennem hans fingre. Det ville have været svært at forudsige, at Gettysburg ud af al denne rod ville disse forpassede chancer, alle de meningsløse dødsfald blive et symbol på nationale formål, stolthed og idealer. Abraham Lincoln forvandlede den grimme virkelighed til noget rigt og mærkeligt - og han gjorde det med 272 ord. Ordets magt har sjældent fået en mere overbevisende demonstration.

Beboerne i Gettysburg havde ringe grund til at være tilfredse med krigsmaskinen, der havde vred deres liv. General George Gordon Meade har muligvis forfulgt general Robert E. Lee i slowmotion, men han ledte hovedkvarteret med, at "jeg ikke kan forsinke at samle snavs på slagmarken." Det affald var hovedsageligt et spørgsmål om rådnende hestekød og manflesh-tusinder af gæringslegemer med gasdistillerede maver, som delikatesser i juli-varmen. Af hygiejniske årsager måtte de fem tusinde heste og muldyr fortæres af ild og forhandlede duften af ​​forfaldent kød med brændende kød. Menneskelige kroppe var spredt over eller (knap) under jorden. Kvælende hold af unionsoldater, konfødererede fanger og dragonerede civile gled ligene under et minimalt belægning så hurtigt som muligt - groft udstationering af navnene på Unionens døde med skitserede oplysninger på tavler og stoppede ikke for at finde ud af, hvilke enheder de konfødererede organer havde tilhørt til. Det var arbejde, der skulle udføres hugger-mugger eller slet ikke, at kæmpe for klyngede bluebottle flyver sort på jorden, skovler og ryger efter sving.

Hele området i Gettysburg-en by med kun femogtyve hundrede indbyggere-var et midlertidigt gravsted, fedt og dampende. Andrew Curtin, den republikanske guvernør i Pennsylvania, stod foran en vanskelig genvalgskampagne. Han må berolige den lokale følelse, håndtere andre stater diplomatisk og rejse midler til at klare lig, der kan blive ved med at dræbe ved tilsmudset vandløb eller forurenende opgravninger.

Curtin gjorde den 32-årige David Wills, en advokat i Gettysburg, til sin agent på stedet. Wills (som ikke er i relation til forfatteren) ... havde til hensigt at dedikere den grund, der ville holde ligene, selv før de blev flyttet. Han følte behovet for kunstfærdige ord for at forsøde den forgiftede luft i Gettysburg. Han bad sin tids hovedordmede om at deltage i denne indsats - Longfellow, Whittier, Bryant. Alle tre digtere, hver af sin egen grund, fandt deres muse uoverskuelige. Men Wills var ikke voldsomt skuffet. Den normale afføringsmiddel til sådanne lejligheder var en stor, højtidelig oratorisk handling, en slags performancekunst, der havde stor magt over publikum i midten af ​​det nittende århundrede. Nogle senere beretninger ville understrege længden af ​​hovedtalen ved Gettysburg -indvielsen, som om det var en prøvelse eller pålægning af publikum. Men en snak om flere timer var sædvanlig og forventet dengang - omtrent som en moderne rockkoncerts længde og tempo. Skaren, der hørte Lincoln debattere Stephen Douglas i 1858, gennem tre timers engagement, var henrykt over at høre Daniel Webster og andre talere af dagen recitere omhyggeligt sammensatte afsnit i mindst to timer.

Mesteren ved sådanne deklamerende lejligheder, efter Daniel Websters død, var Websters ven Edward Everett. Everett var den sjældne ting, en lærd og en Ivy League -diplomat, der kunne holde massepublikum i træls. Hans stemme, diktion og gestus var succesfulde dramatiske, og han fremførte sædvanligvis sin velformulerede tekst, uanset hvor lang tid, fra hukommelsen. Everett var det uundgåelige valg for Wills, den uundværlige komponent i ordningen for kirkegårdens indvielse. Battlefields var noget af en specialitet hos Everett - han havde forstærket berømmelsen for Lexington og Concord og Bunker Hill ved hans oratorium på de revolutionære steder. Simpelthen for at få ham til at tale i Gettysburg ville føje dette felt til den hellige navnerulle fra grundlæggernes kampe.

Everett blev inviteret den 23. september til at dukke op 23. oktober. Det ville forlade hele november for at fylde gravene. Men en måned var ikke tilstrækkelig tid for Everett til at lave sit sædvanlige forberedelse til en større tale. Han undersøgte omhyggeligt de kampe, han mindede om - en opgave, der i denne sag blev vanskeliggjort af det faktum, at officielle beretninger om engagementet bare dukkede op. Everett skulle selv foretage sine forespørgsler. Han kunne ikke være klar før den 19. november. Testamente greb det første tidspunkt, selvom det brød med den begravelsesplan, der var blevet lagt til at følge i oktober -indvielsen. Han besluttede at flytte op på genbegravelsen, begyndte den i oktober og håbede at blive færdig inden den 19. november.

De omhyggelige forhandlinger med Everett danner en kontrast, der er mere overraskende for os end for samtidige, med den afslappede invitation til præsident Lincoln, der blev udsendt nogen tid senere som en del af en generel opfordring til det føderale kabinet og andre berømtheder om at deltage i det, der egentlig var en ceremoni af de deltagende stater.

Ingen fornærmelse var tilsigtet. Det føderale ansvar for eller deltagelse i statslige aktiviteter blev ikke påtaget sig dengang. Og Lincoln tog ikke noget imod. Selvom han specifikt blev opfordret til kun at levere "et par passende bemærkninger" for at åbne kirkegården, mente han at bruge denne mulighed. Gettysburgs delvis mytiske sejr var et element i hans administrations krigspropaganda. (Der var, selv da, få sejre nok at prale af.) Udover det arbejdede han på at forene de rivaliserende republikanske fraktioner guvernør Curtin og Simon Cameron, Edwin Stantons forgænger som krigsminister. Han vidste, at de fleste statsguvernører ville deltage i eller sende vigtige hjælpere - hans egen livvagt, Ward Lamon, der fungerede som chefmarskal, der organiserede affæren, ville have advaret ham om den størrelse, begivenheden havde antaget, med en enorm mængde forventet . Dette var en klassisk situation for politisk hegnsbehandling og efterretningssamling. Lincoln ville tage medhjælpere med, der ville cirkulere og bringe deres fund tilbage. Lamon selv havde en klynge af venner i Pennsylvania -politik, herunder nogle tæt på Curtin, der var blevet rasende, da Lincoln overstyrede sin modstand mod Camerons kabinetudnævnelse.

Lincoln kendte også kraften i hans retorik til at definere krigsmål. Han søgte lejligheder til at bruge sine ord uden for den normale runde af proklamationer og rapporter til kongressen. Hans beslutsomhed ikke kun at være til stede, men også at tale, ses på den måde, han overstyrede personalets planlægning for turen til Gettysburg. Stanton havde arrangeret en 6:00 A.M. tog for at tage ham de hundrede og tyve jernbanemil til middagssagen. Men Lincoln var på nuværende tidspunkt bekendt nok med militærbevægelse til at sætte pris på, hvad Clausewitz kaldte "friktion" ved rådighed over kræfter - fejlmargenen, der altid skal indbygges i planlægningen. Lamon ville have informeret Lincoln om muligheden for forvirring den nittende. Statsdelegationer, borgerlige organisationer, militære bands og enheder planlagde at komme med tog og vej og bringe mindst ti tusinde mennesker til en by med dårlige ressourcer til fodring og læ for folkemængder (især hvis vejret blev dårligt). Så Lincoln modarbejdede Stantons plan:

Hvis Lincoln ikke havde ændret tidsplanen, havde han meget sandsynligt ikke holdt sin tale. Selv dagen før tog hans tur til Gettysburg seks timer med overførsler i Baltimore og ved Hannover Junction ... [Han] holdt sin beslutning om at forlade en dag tidligt, selvom han indså, at hans kone var hysterisk over en søns sygdom kort tid efter død af en anden søn. Præsidenten havde en vigtig forretning i Gettysburg.

For en mand, der er så fast besluttet på at komme dertil, synes Lincoln - i velkendte beretninger - at have været temmelig kavalerisk om at forberede, hvad han ville sige i Gettysburg. Den fjollede, men vedholdende myte er, at han skrev sine korte bemærkninger bag på en kuvert. (Mange detaljer om dagen er faktisk stadig omstridt, og der findes ingen endelig redegørelse.) Bedre attesterede rapporter får ham til at overveje dem på vej til en fotografbutik i Washington og skrive dem på et stykke pap, da toget tog ham på hundrede-og-tyve mils tur, blyant dem i David Wills hus natten før indvielsen, skrev dem i det hus om morgenen den dag, han skulle aflevere dem, og endda komponere dem i hovedet, mens Everett talte , før Lincoln rejste sig for at følge ham.

Disse erindringer, der blev optaget på forskellige tidspunkter efter at talen var blevet holdt og vandt berømmelse, afspejler to bekymringer fra dem, der talte dem. De afslører en forståelig stolthed over deltagelse ved den historiske lejlighed. Det var ikke nok for dem, der værdsatte deres dag i Gettysburg, at have hørt Lincoln tale - et privilegium, de delte med ti til tyve tusinde andre mennesker, og en oplevelse, der ikke varede mere end tre minutter. De ville være intime med drægtigheden af ​​den ekstraordinære tale og se pennen eller blyanten bevæge sig under øjeblikkets inspiration.

Det er den anden fremhævelse i disse beretninger - at det var et produkt af øjeblikket, der slog til, da Lincoln bevægede sig under skæbnes vejledning. Inspiration blev kastet over ham i nærvær af andre. Kontrasten til Everetts lange forberedelsesarbejde er altid underforstået. Undersøgelse, læring, elevens lampe - ingen af ​​disse var nødvendige for Lincoln, hvis ikke -opfattede muse fik ham til at være en demokratisk muse, der ikke kendte biblioteket. Lynet ramte, og hver af vores informanter (eller deres kilder) var der, da det ramte ...

Disse mytiske beretninger er dårligt ude af karakter for Lincoln, der omhyggeligt komponerede sine taler. Hans advokatpartner, William Herndon, efter at have observeret Lincolns omhyggelige forberedelse af sager, registrerede, at han var en langsom forfatter, som kunne lide at sortere sine pointer og stramme sin logik og formulering. Det er den proces, der står inde for i alle andre tilfælde af Lincolns mindeværdige offentlige udtalelser. Det er umuligt at forestille sig, at han forlader sin Gettysburg -tale til sidste øjeblik. Han vidste, at han ville have travlt i toget og på stedet - vigtige politiske gæster var med ham fra hans afgang, og flere sluttede sig til ham i Baltimore, fuld af snak om krigen, valg og politik ... Han kunne ikke regne med nogen tid for den koncentration, han krævede, når han vejede sine ord ...

Lincolns tog ankom mod skumringen i Gettysburg. Der var stadig kister stablet på stationen for at fuldføre genbegravelserne. Lamon, Wills og Everett mødte Lincoln og eskorterede ham de to blokke til Wills -hjemmet, hvor middagen ventede sammen med næsten to dusin andre fornemme gæster. Lincolns sorte tjener, William Slade, tog sin bagage med til værelset i anden etage, hvor han overnattede den nat, som kiggede ud på pladsen.

Everett var allerede bosat i Wills -huset, og guvernør Curtins sene ankomst fik Wills til at foreslå, at de to mænd delte en seng. Guvernøren troede, at han kunne finde et andet hus til at modtage ham, selvom logi var så overfyldt, at Everett i sin dagbog sagde, at "frygten for at få direktøren i Pennsylvania til at falde ind over mig holdt mig vågen, indtil en." Everetts datter lå sammen med to andre kvinder, og sengen brød under deres vægt. William Saunders, kirkegårdens designer, der ville have et æret sted på platformen den næste dag, kunne ikke finde nogen seng og måtte sove siddende i en overfyldt stue ...

Tidligt om morgenen tog Lincoln en vogntur til slagstederne. Senere tildelte Ward Lamon og hans specielt uniformerede marskaller heste til de forskellige dignitarier (vogne ville have tilstoppet stedet for meget). Selvom marchen var mindre end en kilometer, havde Lamon bragt tredive heste til byen, og Wills havde leveret hundrede til ære for de tilstedeværende embedsmænd.

Lincoln satte sin hest yndefuldt (til overraskelse for nogle) og så meditativ ud under den lange ventetid, mens marskaller forsøgte at lokke vigtige mennesker mere bekymrede over deres værdighed, end præsidenten var om hans. Lincoln var iført et sorgbånd på hatten for sin døde søn. Han bar også hvide handsker, hvilket gjorde hans store hænder på tøjlerne dramatiske i modsætning til hans ellers sorte påklædning.

Everett var tidligere gået ud med vogn for at forberede sig i det særlige telt, han havde bedt om i nærheden af ​​perronen. Klokken ni og tres havde han nyreproblemer og havde brug for at aflaste sig lige før og efter den tre timer lange ceremoni. (He had put his problem so delicately that his hosts did not realize that he meant to be left alone in the tent but he finally coaxed them out.) Everett mounted the platform at the last moment, after most of the others had arrived.

Those on the raised platform were hemmed in close by standing crowds. When it had become clear that the numbers might approach twenty thousand, the platform had been set at some distance from the burial operations. Only a third of the expected bodies had been buried, and those under fresh mounds. Other graves had been readied for the bodies, which arrived in irregular order (some from this state, some from that), making it impossible to complete one section at a time. The whole burial site was incomplete. Marshals tried to keep the milling thousands out of the work in progress.

Everett, as usual, had neatly placed his thick text on a little table before him—and then ostentatiously refused to look at it. He was able to indicate with gestures the sites of the battle’s progress, visible from where he stood. He excoriated the rebels for their atrocities, implicitly justifying the fact that some Confederate skeletons were still unburied, lying in the clefts of Devil’s Den under rocks and autumn leaves. Two days earlier Everett had been shown around the field, and places were pointed out where the bodies lay. His speech, for good or ill, would pick its way through the carnage.

As a former Secretary of State, Everett had many sources, in and outside government, for the information he had gathered so diligently. Lincoln no doubt watched closely how the audience responded to passages that absolved Meade of blame for letting Lee escape. The setting of the battle in a larger logic of campaigns had an immediacy for those on the scene which we cannot recover. Everett’s familiarity with the details was flattering to the local audience, which nonetheless had things to learn from this shapely presentation of the whole three days’ action. This was like a modern “docudrama” on television, telling the story of recent events on the basis of investigative reporting. We badly misread the evidence if we think Everett failed to work his customary magic. The best witnesses on the scene—Lincoln’s personal secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay, with their professional interest in good prose and good theater—praised Everett at the time and ever after. He received more attention in their biography’s chapter on Gettysburg than did their own boss.

When Lincoln rose, it was with a sheet or two, from which he read. Lincoln’s three minutes would ever after be obsessively contrasted with Everett’s two hours in accounts of this day. It is even claimed that Lincoln disconcerted the crowd with his abrupt performance, so that people did not know how to respond (“Was that all?”). Myth tells of a poor photographer making leisurely arrangements to take Lincoln’s picture, expecting him to be standing for some time. But it is useful to look at the relevant part of the program:

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

Musik. by the Marine Band.

ORATION. by Hon. Edward Everett.

Musik. Hymn composed by B. B. French.

DEDICATORY REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Dirge. sung by Choir selected for the occasion.

Benediction. by Rev. H.L. Baugher, D.D.

There was only one “oration” announced or desired here. Though we call Lincoln’s text det Gettysburg Address, that title clearly belongs to Everett. Lincoln’s contribution, labeled “remarks,” was intended to make the dedication formal (somewhat like ribbon-cutting at modern openings). Lincoln was not expected to speak at length, any more than Rev. T. H. Stockton was (though Stockton’s prayer er four times the length of the President’s remarks). A contrast of length with Everett’s talk raises a false issue. Lincoln’s text er startlingly brief for what it accomplished, but that would be equally true if Everett had spoken for a shorter time or had not spoken at all.

Nonetheless, the contrast was strong. Everett’s voice was sweet and expertly modulated Lincoln’s was high to the point of shrillness, and his Kentucky accent offended some eastern sensibilities. But Lincoln derived an advantage from his high tenor voice—carrying power. If there is agreement on any one aspect of Lincoln’s delivery, at Gettysburg or elsewhere, it is on his audibility. Modern impersonators of Lincoln, such as Walter Huston, Raymond Massey, Henry Fonda, and the various actors who give voice to Disneyland animations of the President, bring him before us as a baritone, which is considered a more manly or heroic voice—though both the Roosevelt Presidents of our century were tenors. What should not be forgotten is that Lincoln was himself an actor, an expert raconteur and mimic, and one who spent hours reading speeches out of Shakespeare to any willing (or sometimes unwilling) audience. He knew a good deal about rhythmic delivery and meaningful inflection. John Hay, who had submitted to many of those Shakespeare readings, gave high marks to his boss’s performance at Gettysburg. He put in his diary at the time that “the President, in a fine, free way, with more grace than is his wont, said his half dozen words of consecration.” Lincoln’s text was polished, his delivery emphatic he was interrupted by applause five times. Read in a slow, clear way to the farthest listeners, the speech would take about three minutes. It is quite true the audience did not take in all that happened in that short time—we are still trying to weigh the consequences of Lincoln’s amazing performance. But the myth that Lincoln was disappointed in the result—that he told the unreliable Lamon that his speech, like a bad plow, “won’t scour”—has no basis. He had done what he wanted to do, and Hay shared the pride his superior took in an important occasion put to good use.

At the least, Lincoln had far surpassed David Wills’s hope for words to disinfect the air of Gettysburg. His speech hovers far above the carnage. He lifts the battle to a level of abstraction that purges it of grosser matter—even “earth” is mentioned only as the thing from which the tested form of government shall not perish. The nightmare realities have been etherealized in the crucible of his language.

Lincoln was here to clear the infected atmosphere of American history itself, tainted with official sins and inherited guilt. He would cleanse the Constitution—not as William Lloyd Garrison had, by burning an instrument that countenanced slavery. He altered the document from within, by appeal from its letter to the spirit, subtly changing the recalcitrant stuff of that legal compromise, bringing it to its own indictment. By implicitly doing this, he performed one of the most daring acts of open-air sleight of hand ever witnessed by the unsuspecting. Everyone in that vast throng of thousands was having his or her intellectual pocket picked. The crowd departed with a new thing in its ideological luggage, the new Constitution Lincoln had substituted for the one they had brought there with them. They walked off from those curving graves on the hillside, under a changed sky, into a different America. Lincoln had revolutionized the Revolution, giving people a new past to live with that would change their future indefinitely …

Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg worked several revolutions, beginning with one in literary style. Everett’s talk was given at the last point in history when such a performance could be appreciated without reservation. It was made obsolete within a half hour of the time when it was spoken. Lincoln’s remarks anticipated the shift to vernacular rhythms which Mark Twain would complete twenty years later. Hemingway claimed that all modern American novels are the offspring of Huckleberry Finn. It is no greater exaggeration to say that all modern political prose descends from the Gettysburg Address …

The spare quality of Lincoln’s prose did not come naturally but was worked at. Lincoln not only read aloud, to think his way into sounds, but also wrote as a way of ordering his thought … He loved the study of grammar, which some think the most arid of subjects. Some claimed to remember his gift for spelling, a view that our manuscripts disprove. Spelling as he had to learn it (separate from etymology) is more arbitrary than logical. It was the logical side of language—the principles of order as these reflect patterns of thought or the external world—that appealed to him.

He was also, Herndon tells us, laboriously precise in his choice of words. He would have agreed with Mark Twain that the difference between the right word and the nearly right one is that between lightning and a lightning bug. He said, debating Douglas, that his foe confused a similarity of words with a similarity of things—as one might equate a horse chestnut with a chestnut horse.

As a speaker, Lincoln grasped Twain’s later insight: “Few sinners are saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.” The trick, of course, was not simply to be brief but to say a great deal in the fewest words. Lincoln justly boasted of his Second Inaugural’s seven hundred words, “Lots of wisdom in that document, I suspect.” The same is even truer of the Gettysburg Address, which uses fewer than half that number of words.

The unwillingness to waste words shows up in the address’s telegraphic quality—the omission of coupling words, a technique rhetoricians call asyndeton. Triple phrases sound as to a drumbeat, with no “and” or “but” to slow their insistency:


A New Birth of Freedom and its True Meaning: The Gettysburg Address


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

The weekend before Donald Trump was elected President I was at Gettysburg with my students from the Staff College. We finished our staff ride at the Soldier’s Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. My practice as always was to close the staff ride by reading his address. I always get a bit choked up when I read it because I realize just how important what he said was then, and still is today. That Sunday it was as if I saw the Confederate hordes advancing upon Cemetery Ridge and the fate of the country hanging in the balance.

I had already seen the assaults on our Republic and Constitution by Donald Trump and his supporters, and that particular day I was full of dread. I knew that if Trump won, and his supporters on the Alt-Right have their way, our system of government will be destroyed, the civil liberties that the men who died at Gettysburg to establish, would be curtailed or even rolled back. I feared, and it turns out quite rightly, that if Trump won, that civil rights would be threatened or rolled back, that White Nationalists would be emboldened, and racist violence and anti-Semitic attacks would increase exponentially. I would have preferred to be wrong, but I was right. Now we are in the midst of impeachment proceedings

In November of 1863 Abraham Lincoln was sick when when he traveled by train from Washington DC to Gettysburg. When Lincoln delivered the address, he was suffering from what was mostly likely a mild form of Smallpox. Thus the tenor, simplicity and philosophical depth of his address are even more remarkable. It is a speech given in the manner of Winston Churchill’s “Blood sweat toil and tears” address to Parliament upon his appointment as Prime Minister in May, 1940. Likewise it echoes the Transcendentalist understanding of the Declaration of Independence as a “test for all other things.”

Many people in the United States and Europe did not agree with Lincoln’s restatement of the founding premise of the Declaration of Independence. Opponents argued that no nation found on such principles could long survive. The more reactionary European subscribers of Romanticism ridiculed the “idea that a nation could be founded on a proposition….and they were not reluctant to point to the Civil War as proof that attempting to build a government around something as bloodless and logical as a proposition was futile.” [1]

As late as 1848, the absolute monarchies of Europe had fought against and put down with force revolutionary movements attempting to imitate the American experiment. Many of the revolutionaries from Germany, Poland, and other nations fled to the United States, where 15 years later, clad in the Blue of the United States Army fought to preserve that experiment on the battlefields of the American Civil War, including Gettysburg.

But Lincoln disagreed with the conservative reactionaries of Europe, or the American Slave owning aristocracy. He believed that Americans would fight to defend that proposition. Han mente, at “sacrifices of Gettysburg, Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Chancellorsville, and a hundred other places demonstrated otherwise, that men would die rather than to lose hold of that proposition. Reflecting on that dedication, the living should themselves experience a new birth of freedom, a determination- and he drove his point home with a deliberate evocation of the great Whig orator Daniel Webster- “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” [2]

The Unitarian pastor, abolitionist, and leading Transcendentalist thinker, Theodore Parker wrote:

“Our national ideal out-travels our experience, and all experience. We began our national career by setting all history at defiance – for that said, “A republic on a large scale cannot exist.” Our progress since that has shown that we were right in refusing to be limited by the past. The practical ideas of the nation are transcendent, not empirical. Human history could not justify the Declaration of Independence and its large statements of the new idea: the nation went beyond human history and appealed to human nature.” [3]

Lincoln’s address echoes the thought of historian George Bancroft, who wrote of the Declaration:

“The bill of rights which it promulgates is of rights that are older than human institutions, and spring from the eternal justice…. The heart of Jefferson in writing the Declaration, and of Congress in adopting it, beat for all humanity the assertion of right was made for the entire world of mankind and all coming generations, without any exceptions whatsoever.” [4]

Theodore Parker’s words also prefigured an idea that Lincoln used in his address. Parker, like Lincoln believed that: "detAmerican Revolution, with American history since, is an attempt to prove by experience this transcendental proposition, to organize the transcendental idea of politics. The ideal demands for its organization a democracy- a government of all, for all, and by all…” [5]

Following a train trip to Gettysburg and an overnight stay, Lincoln delivered these immortal words on that November afternoon:

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 cannot 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.[6]

In a time where many are wearied by the foibles and follies of our politicians, especially a man as singularity ill-equipped and ill-tempered as Donald Trump, Lincoln’s words still matter. Since Trump’s election he, and his supporters, many of whom are White Nationalists, and authoritarians have moved on many fronts to curtail civil rights and re-establish White rule in a way unseen since secession, and Jim Crow. So far our institutions have held, but there is no guarantee that they will. In such an environment, one has to wonder if our very form of government can survive.

But it is important that they do, and despite our weariness, we need to continue to fight for those ideals, even when the world seems to be closing in around us as it must have seemed following Lee’s initial success on the first day of battle at Gettysburg.

Dr. Allen Guelzo, Professor of Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College wrote in the New York Times:

“The genius of the address thus lay not in its language or in its brevity (virtues though these were), but in the new birth it gave to those who had become discouraged and wearied by democracy’s follies, and in the reminder that democracy’s survival rested ultimately in the hands of citizens who saw something in democracy worth dying for. We could use that reminder again today.” [7]

Dr. Guelzo is quite correct. Many people in this country and around the world are having grave doubts about our democracy. I wonder myself, but I am an optimist, and despite my doubts, I have to believe that we will eventually recover.

Admittedly, that is an act of faith based on our historical resiliency, and ability to overcome the stupidity of politicians, pundits and preacher, including the hate filled message of Donald Trump and his White Supremacist supporters, especially supposedly “conservative ” Christians. That doesn’t mean that I am not afraid for our future, or that despite my belief that our institutions will hold. Historian, Timothy Snyder correctly noted:

“The European history of the twentieth century shows us that societies can break, democracies can fall, ethics can collapse, and ordinary men can find themselves standing over death pits with guns in their hands. It would serve us well today to understand why.”

The amazing thing during the Civil War was that in spite of everything, the Union survived. Lincoln was a big part of that. His steady leadership and unfailing resolve help see the Republic through manifold disasters.

But, it was the men who left lives of comfort and security to defend the sacred principles of the Declaration, like Joshua Chamberlain, and many others who brought about that victory. Throughout the war, even to the end Southern political leaders failed to understand that Union men would fight and die for an ideal, something greater than themselves, the preservation of the Union and the freedom of an enslaved race. For those men that volunteered to serve, the war was not about personal gain, loot or land, it was about something greater. It was about freedom, and when we finally realize this fact, and take up the cause that they fought and died for, then maybe, just maybe, we can contemplate the real meaning of “that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.d. [8]

Now, I for one do not think that we are currently living up to the ideals enunciated by Lincoln on that day at Gettysburg. I can understand the cynicism disillusionment of Americans, as well as those around the world who have for over 200 years looked to us and our system as a “city set on a hill.” That being said, when I read these words and walk the hallowed ground of Gettysburg, I am again a believer. I believe that we can realize the ideal, even in our lifetime should we decide to again believe in that proposition and be willing to fight, or even die for it. Of course, it is quite possible that we will not measure up to the example set by Lincoln and the men who fought for the Union at Gettysburg. If we don’t, The blame will be upon all of us.

So, have a great day and please stop to think about how important Lincoln’s words remain as we wait to see what the next day of Trump’s America brings. This is important because Trump and his supporters respect tyrants like King George III, as his supporters like Attorney General William Barr have said that the Colonialists revolted against the Parliament, not the King. To make that argument one has to ignore the Declaration of Independence in its entirety and declare that Trump is King, and that his word is law.

That cannot be allowed to happen, and I will be damned if I allow that happen without speaking out.


Four score and 70 years ago, the Gettysburg Address entered history

President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, here at Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania Photo by Flickr Creative Commons user Digitonin

Tuesday, 150 years to the day of President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, thousands gathered in Gettysburg’s Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Pennsylvania to remember the historic dedication.

It had been 87 years since the Declaration of Independence was written at the beginning of the American Revolution. November 19, 1883 stood in the midst of the American Civil War, four and a half months after the bloody Union victory in Gettysburg.
President Abraham Lincoln had been invited by Judge David Willis by letter to offer remarks to close the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery that stood in the aftermath of that battlefield. Willis, who had originally created the idea of the national cemetery and organized its dedication, had told the President his part in the ceremony would be small.
Compared to former U.S. senator Edward Everett’s two-hour dedication speech which preceded Lincoln’s, the president’s 272-word address given in just over two minutes was brief by all accounts, but would go on to become Lincoln’s most iconic.

The Associated Press, which was there for the event, transmitted the speech as read:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. (Applause.) 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 are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting place of 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 to detract. (Applause.) The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here but it can never forget what they did here. (Applause.) It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. (Applause.) It is rather for us here to be 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 the dead shall not have died in vain. (Applause.) That the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (Long applause.)

While short, the speech managed to affirm Lincoln’s message of staying the course of the war and, in turn, protect democracy, all while tying into the original message of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence. Even more impressively, reports in 2007 claim Lincoln was also battling a mild case of smallpox during his time in Gettysburg, meaning that one of the most famous speeches in history all occurred in just two minutes by an ailing president.

Though the words as Lincoln read them are widely known thanks to the AP’s transmission, the question remains which copy of the address the president actually read from. Five copies exist of the Gettysburg Address, written in Lincoln’s own handwriting, but each copy is different from the next. The Google Cultural Institute compared the five copies and how they differ for the sesquicentennial observance, alongside two other related exhibits.

Even more is being uncovered 150 years later. Due to the brevity of the speech, no clear photographs of the President delivering the speech had been captured. Three photographs thought to include Lincoln during the event have been discovered in the years since, though disputes over the identification have been made, especially concerning photographs of a crowd taken by Alexander Gardner. John Richter, the director of the Center for Civil War Photography, had identified a supposed view of the President on horseback. Years later, however, former Disney animator Christopher Oakley, while working on an animation of the address, used the slight differences between the two stereographic images, identified a different figure in the crowd as the president, according to an article by Smithsonian.com. The two photographs by Gardner, plus a photograph by David Bacharach (originally thought to be the only photo of Lincoln that day in Gettysburg) were compared by the Smithsonian in September.

And all this time later, the speech is still spreading influence. On November 14, a Pennsylvania newspaper retracted an editorial that originally called the Gettysburg address “silly remarks.”, showing that it may not “perish from the Earth” anytime soon.


Fourth of July, Gettysburg, and the US

As Americans prepare to celebrate Independence Day, July 4th, it is important that we reflect on the tremendous sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of Americans have paid to secure and protect the freedoms declared as our God-given right by our forefathers on the first July 4 in 1776.

As we approach this Fourth of July, we also commemorate the 150th anniversary of the greatest blood sacrifice on the altar of freedom that ever took place on American soil, the battle of Gettysburg. For three days, July 1-3, 1863, the Army in Northern Virginia (70,000 men) and the Army of the Potomac (94,000 men) collided in a three-day struggle that haunts and captivates us to this day. These three days of desperate combat resulted in 46,000 estimated causalities, killed, wounded, and missing – all of them Americans, North and South.

The nation's fate was hanging in the balance. If Lee had won at Gettysburg it is extremely doubtful that Lincoln would have been re-elected and the Union would have survived.

Such a terrible loss of life characterized America's Civil War battles. In many ways it was the first "modern" war with far more lethal weapons than those used in previous wars. The unprecedented and unexpected losses traumatized the mothers, fathers, spouses, children, relatives, and neighbors of these dead and maimed men.

It was left to our nation's greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, to explain and articulate for the American people, and the world, the meaning of such terrible and tragic sacrifice.

President Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg the following November to dedicate a cemetery "for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live." President Lincoln was not the main attraction for the day. That honor was accorded to Edward Everett, the former governor and senator from Massachusetts and a former U.S. Secretary of State. A nationally famous orator in an era of great of orators, he spoke for two hours. Lincoln spoke for about two minutes. What is known to posterity as Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was a mere 271 words long. People were shocked by its brevity.

Soon, however, its nobility and greatness captivated the nation and inspired a new commitment, "to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced."

As Edward Everett himself later stated in a letter to President Lincoln, "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."

Surely Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, speech of its length in the English language. As one who had ancestors fighting on both sides (the product of being a descendant from ancestors that settled in Massachusetts and Virginia respectively in the 17th Century), Lincoln's speech still moves me to tears every time I read it or hear recited.

When people ask me about American exceptionalism, I direct them to the Declaration of Independence and to the Gettysburg Address. In a very real sense, the Gettysburg Address is a commentary on the eternal truths put forth in the Declaration that we celebrate on July 4th. "Fourscore and seven years ago," Lincoln declared, "Our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Having referred to the Declaration's universal truths upon which America is based, the ideals that inspired men to fight and die, Lincoln then pivots to the living:

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the 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."

Whenever I hear or read these words I am compelled to say, "Amen" and to be extremely grateful that as an American I am the beneficiary of such beliefs and the sacrifices of those who have gone before me.

I challenge us all, as Americans, to read the Gettysburg Address this July 4th holiday, ponder the tremendous sacrifices that inspired it, and rededicate ourselves to the task of preserving, defending, and expanding those universal ideals entrusted to our safe keeping by the sacrifices of so many who have gone before us.

God bless the United States of America and the God-given freedoms for which she stands.


Declaration of Independence Superseded by Gettysburg Address?

I'm reconnecting with one of my favorite military authors Russell Weigley. I read his "A Great Civil War" a few years back after reading his "Eisenhower's Lieutenants". I did not necessarily agree with some of his assertions, but he argued his points well, and he backed them up with solid scholarship and research.

I cracking the book again, I was immediately struck by an argument he made in the Introduction revolving around the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. I'll quote him at length, keeping my opinions to myself at first, and letting forum members offer their takes first. Read carefully, be thoughtful in your responses (as opposed to knee-****, though I suspect some will reject it out of hand) and let's see where we go.

He argues his point well, he has researched it plenty, and his point is well taken. But, personally I think the argument is kind of silly.

The Declaration is a fairly well written document detailing our complaints with Britain. Jefferson uses natural law because a)he firmly believed in it, and b)It was the only law that coincided with what he and the committee were trying to say. No country's laws in history provided for a free state, at least not what he, Franklin and Adams had in mind, so he had little to relate to other than natural law.

The Gettysburg Address is a short, well written statement trying to turn a war that until four months earlier had been pretty unsuccessful into a crusade. The "experiment" had been successful up until 1861, so he had some history to bring up.

Just to add, I feel that the Gettysburg Address is probably the best single speech in history. Short, to the point, and says a helluva lot.

Does the author have an agenda trying to prove Lincoln more important or relevant than the founding fathers? That is what this sounds like. I know absolutely nothing about him.

I do admit that I suspect most anyone taking any issues with the founding fathers as having an agenda. They were not perfect men, but they had the foresight to create the greatest country in the history of the world. even though there are people currently doing their best to destroy it. There has been an effort for at least a hundred years to minimalize them, and for 60 years to discredit them.

I don't think I can offer an unbiased opinion on this matter. I've already made my opinion of Lincoln pretty clear.

I do have to take the hit for anyone having this impression based on what I posted. The author is in no way trying to say that Lincoln was any more or less important or relevant than the Founders, and that would be crystal clear if I'd been able to include the whole piece. In looking back, it is easy to see how my quote removes some very necessary context, both before and after the posted passage.

Big Sigh. That kind of shoots down the whole object of my posting this, at least without a major rework. The author was suggesting the Declaration served it's purpose in its time and in the manner it was written exceptionally well, and in doing so it became a cornerstone of the foundation of our nation. The Gettysburg Address was building on and perhaps taking the torch from the Declaration because the nation was no longer fledgling. Stylistically, Lincoln referenced American history, whereas Jefferson did not because there was no national history to refer back to of necessity, he appealed to natural law and rights that were given by God. The argument that the Gettysburg Address implies there is no longer a right to revolution is because the founders, in their infinite wisdom, gave us all the tools and means to fix the problems besetting us without needing to resort to revolution. Our organic law gave us as a nation the means to fix what was broke -- maybe not to everyone's satisfaction, but to the satisfaction of the majority.

Just FYI fstroupe, Weigley is Professor of History Emeritus at Temple University. He's written "The American Way of War" (excellent survey of the doctrinal evolution and historical context of the US Armed Forces from the Revolution to Vietnam), "Eisenhower's Lieutenant's" and "The Age of Battle: The Quest for Decisive Warfare from Breitenfield to Waterloo." You'll have to trust me that he has no axe to grind. That impression, again, is wholly transferable to me and my cutting out the necessary context. Again I learn, nothing occurs in a vacuum and I should have known better.


Se videoen: The 147th New York on July 1st - Gettysburg Battle Walk with Ranger Zach Siggins


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