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The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln


[1] Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

[2] 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.

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Susan B. Anthony
William Apess
Ella Baker
Kicking Bear
Albert Beveridge
William Jennings Bryan
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
Patrick Buchanan
Helen Caldicott
Stokely Carmichael
Cesar Chavez

Heather Brook Adams
Karrin Vasby Anderson
Tim Barney
Ashley Barrett
Patricia Bizzell
Jason Edward Black
Diane M. Blair
Denise M. Bostdorff
Maegan Parker Brooks
Kalen M. A. Churcher

Voices of Democracy: The U.S. Oratory Project
Shawn J. Parry-Giles
Department of Communication
2130 Skinner Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-7635

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.

Reception of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was initially mixed, divided strictly along partisan lines. Nevertheless, the “little speech,” as he later called it, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written.

On this day in 1776, Congress pleads for the states to send more soldiers to serve in the Continental Army, reminding them “how indispensable it is to the common safety, that they pursue the most immediate and vigorous measures to furnish their respective quotas of Troops for the new Army,...

On this day in 1993, Toyota and General Motors sign an historic agreement: Beginning in 1996, GM will offer its bestselling Chevy Cavalier, refitted with right-hand drive, for sale in Japan. The Cavalier was one of the first American automobiles to hit the Japanese market. The agreement that created the Toyota...

[1] Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

[2] 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.

Citizenship & Civic Identity
Civil Rights
Freedom of Speech
Religion & Morality in Public Life
Social & Economic Justice
U.S. Internationalism
War & Peace

Susan B. Anthony
William Apess
Ella Baker
Kicking Bear
Albert Beveridge
William Jennings Bryan
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
Patrick Buchanan
Helen Caldicott
Stokely Carmichael
Cesar Chavez

Heather Brook Adams
Karrin Vasby Anderson
Tim Barney
Ashley Barrett
Patricia Bizzell
Jason Edward Black
Diane M. Blair
Denise M. Bostdorff
Maegan Parker Brooks
Kalen M. A. Churcher

Voices of Democracy: The U.S. Oratory Project
Shawn J. Parry-Giles
Department of Communication
2130 Skinner Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-7635


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