It is also one of the shortest among its peers at just 10 sentences.
Today the former is universally regarded as one of the most famous speeches in American history; the latter is largely forgotten. Why is this short speech so memorable?
First, it is important to remember the context. America was in the midst of a bloody civil war. Union troops had only four months earlier defeated Confederate troops at the Battle of Gettysburg which is widely recognized as the turning point in the war.
However, the Civil War still raged and Lincoln realized that he also had to inspire the people to continue the fight. Below is the text of the Gettysburg Address, interspersed with my thoughts on what made it so memorable.
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. Lincoln reminds the audience of the basis on which the country was founded: This is a perfect set up to the next sentence.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
Here, Lincoln signals the challenge. The principles on which the nation was founded are under attack. He extends the significance of the fight beyond the borders of the United States.
It is not just a question of whether America could survive, but rather question of whether any nation founded on the same principles could survive.
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. Lincoln turns to recognize those who have fallen for their country.
He uses contrast effectively. Communicating an idea juxtaposed with its polar opposite creates energy. Moving back and forth between the contradictory poles encourages full engagement from the audience. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.
Triples are a powerful public speaking technique that can add power to your words and make them memorable.
For an excellent overview of triples and the power of three, read this post by Andrew Dlugan. Say the sentence out loud and hear the powerful cadence and rhythm.
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. This sentence is full of solemn respect for those who fought.
There is an alliteration: The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. There is a double contrast in this sentence: It is not the United States that will never forget, but the entire world.
Ironically, Lincoln was wrong on this point. Not only have his words been remembered to this day, they will continue to be remembered in the future. 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.Lincoln's speech at Gettysburg, PA, in November, widely considered to be the address that help to heal divisions within the country--has two main and interconnected thesis statements in this.
This lesson discusses the Gettysburg Address, one of the most famous speeches in American history. Learn more about what Abraham Lincoln's speech means and test your knowledge with a quiz.
Although the Gettysburg Address goes by the basic naming convention of location + type of speech = TITLE, its very plainness speaks to how important the contents were. On November 19th, during the dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous speech, The Gettysburg Address Lincoln's purpose was to honor the Union's fallen soldiers, and to remind the nation what they are fighting for.
Sep 12, · The Gettysburg Address was delivered by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Penn., on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov.
19, , during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated the Confederacy at the Battle of initiativeblog.com: Fox the Poet. On 19 November, we commemorate the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in In one of the first posts on this blog, I compared Lincoln’s two-minute address with the two-hour oration by Edward Everett on the same occasion.
Today the former is universally regarded as one of the most famous speeches in American history; the latter is largely forgotten.