The Address at Gettysburg, by Abraham Lincoln

from Lincoln's Speeches

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us;—that from these honored dead, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion;—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

—ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

[Footnote: Does the style and sentiment expressed remind you of an older literature? Illustrate. Do Lincoln's statements about war apply to the present great European conflict? Illustrate. Point out the effectiveness of repetition. Note the places where the prose becomes almost poetical. Is the appeal in the speeches to reason or to feeling? Do you feel the personality of Lincoln in these speeches? The Gettysburg speech is commonly considered one of the greatest speeches ever made. Can you mention any other famous speeches that are regarded as fine literature?]

Louise de la Ramee