Friday, July 4, 2008

The Gettysburg Address

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.

Gettysburg National Military Park, June 20, 2008

1 comment:

Ashok said...

I was just looking for posts on Lincoln, and came across your blog. I'm not sure what to make of your political analysis generally.

I do know that I want to say something about the Address, since nothing is said here, and readers of this blog might actually want sources to help inform them of what the full significance of these words is. Most of the blogosphere from what I can tell is taken up with Garry Wills' book, "Lincoln at Gettysburg," where Wills argues that the ideas in the Address are transcendental ideas.

It's a funny reading because I always just thought everything in the Gettysburg Address flowed from the first sentence - "all men are created equal" means this thing is some kind of comment on the Declaration of Independence.