Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Anniversary: A Lot More Than Four-Score and Twenty Years Ago, Lincoln Spoke These Words

Just got a reminder from one of the references I work with at the library.

Today is the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

As oratory goes, the address is short and simple.  The keynote speaker, Gov. Edward Everett, gave a more formal and better received speech at two hours length.

So why was the Gettysburg Address so famous while Everett's barely gets cited in any reference?

The Address has several advantages.  Its shortness made it perfect to fit on a single page and column of a newspaper.  It also makes it easier to memorize.

Above all, its simplicity in stating in such short words the cause of the war, and what the objective of the war should be:  A New Birth Of Freedom, from the end of slavery and the emancipation of blacks into American society.

...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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