The Gettysburg Address

Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address today, in 1863, some four and a half months after the battle. I think it’s worth reading and considering each section of this speech, which is about a Republic in motion, always requiring each new generation to honor and remember those who sacrificed all for the Republic, and, in turn, to devote themselves to securing liberty for future generations.

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.

SAVE OUR HISTORY DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE painting by John Trumbull. A painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. HOUCHRON CAPTION (07/03/1999): Witness the signing of the Declaration of Independence re-created on the History Channel this weekend. HOUCHRON CAPTION (07/04/1999): John Trumbull’s painting inspired this engraving depicting the drama of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776.

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.