Abraham Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address (1863)
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States. He served from March 1861 until his assassination in 1865. As president, he led the country through the American Civil War, which was a great constitutional, military and moral crisis. He preserved the Union while ending slavery and promoting economic modernisation.
The American Civil War was fought from 1861 until 1865. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy". Led by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy fought for its independence from the United States. The U.S. federal government was supported by twenty mostly-Northern free states in which slavery had already been abolished, and by five slave states that became known as the border states. These twenty-five states, referred to as the Union, were led by Abraham Lincoln.
On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the speech The Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg. This address came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history.
Note: There are several sources of the speech: five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address. All versions differ in their wording, punctuation, and structure. It is unknown which is the correct one. However, the one presented here, "The Bliss Copy", is the only manuscript to which Lincoln affixed his signature.
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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 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.
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