President Lincoln and Gettysburg Address
|Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg Address
|Rare photo of Abraham Lincoln during Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. Abraham Lincoln, center, at the dedication of the Soldiers'
National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863. Made from the original glass plate negative at the National
Archives which had lain unidentified for fifty-five years until 1952 when Josephine Cobb recognized Lincoln in the image.
To Lincoln's right is bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, while to his far left is Governor Andrew G. Curtin of Pennsylvania. The photograph
is estimated to have been taken at about noontime, just after Lincoln arrived, before Edward Everett's arrival and about three
hours before Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.
After nearly 51,000 Americans fell on the fields of Gettysburg in early July of 1863, Abraham Lincoln received
an invitation in November to speak at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg.
After the initial speaker delivered an exhaustive oration of words over two hours, Lincoln, would speak
for two minutes, and having said so few words over so little time, the President would quickly
deem his short address as an absolute failure. But the contrary had occurred, because his short speech quickly became
known as the Gettysburg Address and was splashed over the pages of nation's newspapers as a people were longing for an ounce
of hope during a tumultuous time of dearth.
A sermon doesn't have to be everlasting to reach the eternal, it has
been said. Abraham Lincoln, in merely ten sentences, did more to bind the wounds of the hurting and to encourage a nation
that was faltering, than perhaps all his other speeches, debates, and comments combined. His Address may have been
the inspiration for the short sermon comment as well as the masses who have looked toward Lincoln's handful of sentences as
they too addressed their audiences.
President Abraham Lincoln Invited to Speak at Gettysburg
Gettysburg Nov. 2, 1863
To His Excellency, A. Lincoln
The Several States having Soldiers in the Army of the Potomac, who were killed
at the Battle of Gettysburg, or have since died at the various hospitals which were established in the vicinity, have procured
grounds on a prominent part of the Battle Field for a Cemetery, and are having the dead removed to them and properly buried.
These Grounds will be Consecrated and set apart to this Sacred purpose, by
appropriate Ceremonies, on Thursday, the 19th instant. Hon Edward Everett will deliver the Oration.
I am authorized by the Governors of the different States to invite you to
be present, and participate in these Ceremonies, which will doubtless be very imposing and solemnly impressive.
It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the Nation,
formally set apart these grounds to their Sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.
It will be a source of great gratification to the many widows and orphans
that have been made almost friendless by the Great Battle here, to have you here personally; and it will kindle anew in the
breasts of the Comrades of these brave dead, who are now in the tented field or nobly meeting the foe in the front, a confidence
that they who sleep in death on the Battle Field are not forgotten by those highest in Authority; and they will feel that,
should their fate be the same, their remains will not be uncared for.
We hope you will be able to be present to perform this last solemn act to
the Soldiers dead on this Battle Field.
I am with great Respect, Your Excellency's Obedient Servant,
Agent for A. G. Curtin Gov. of Penna. and acting for all the States
|Dead Civil War soldiers on Gettysburg battlefield
|Dead Union soldiers at Battle of Gettysburg
Lincoln spoke for only a few minutes and was able to summarize his view
of the war in just ten sentences.
Gettysburg Address is a speech by President Abraham Lincoln and is considered one
of the best-known in American history. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War, on the afternoon of Thursday,
November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
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 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 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.
Sources: Library of Congress; National Archives; National Park Service; Official Records of the Union and
Recommended Reading: Lincoln
at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America
(Simon & Schuster Lincoln Library). Description: The power
of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize the gruesome battle. Instead he gave the whole nation "a
new birth of freedom" in the space of a mere 272 words. His entire life and previous training and his deep political experience
went into this, his revolutionary masterpiece. Continued below...
By examining both the address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame, Wills
breathes new life into words we thought we knew, and reveals much about a president so mythologized but often misunderstood.
Wills shows how Lincoln desired to change the world and…how his words had to and did
complete the work of the guns, and how Lincoln wove a spell
that has not yet been broken.
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief (Hardcover). Description: Author James McPherson, Pulitzer Prize
Winner and bestselling Civil War historian, illuminates how Lincoln
worked with—and often against— his senior commanders to defeat the Confederacy and create the role of commander
in chief as we know it. Though Abraham Lincoln arrived at the White House with no previous military experience (apart from
a couple of months spent soldiering in 1832), he quickly established himself as the greatest commander in chief in American
history. James McPherson illuminates this often misunderstood and profoundly influential aspect of Lincoln’s legacy. In essence, Lincoln
invented the idea of commander in chief, as neither the Constitution nor existing legislation specified how the president
ought to declare war or dictate strategy. In fact, by assuming the powers we associate with the role of commander in chief,
Lincoln often overstepped the narrow band of rights granted
the president. Good thing too, because his strategic insight and will to fight changed the course of the war and saved the
Union. Continued below...
For most of the conflict, he constantly
had to goad his reluctant generals toward battle, and he oversaw strategy and planning for major engagements with the enemy.
was a self-taught military strategist (as he was a self-taught lawyer), which makes his adroit conduct of the war seem almost
miraculous. To be sure, the Union’s campaigns often went awry, sometimes horribly so, but McPherson makes clear how
the missteps arose from the all-too-common moments when Lincoln could neither threaten nor cajole his commanders to follow
his orders. Because Lincoln’s war took place within
our borders, the relationship between the front lines and the home front was especially close—and volatile. Consequently,
Lincoln faced enormous challenges in exemplary fashion. He
was a masterly molder of public opinion, for instance, defining the war aims initially as preserving the Union and only later
as ending slavery— when he sensed the public was at last ready to bear such a lofty burden. As we approach the bicentennial
of Lincoln’s birth in 2009, this book will be that rarest
gift—a genuinely novel, even timely, view of the most-written-about figure in our history. Tried by War offers a revelatory
portrait of leadership during the greatest crisis our nation has ever endured. How Lincoln
overcame feckless generals, fickle public opinion, and his own paralyzing fears is a story at once suspenseful and inspiring.
Recommended Reading: Team
of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln (944 pages) (Simon & Schuster). Description: The life and times
of Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln biography? In Team of Rivals,
esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some familiar territory, her perspective
is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and
motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected
for his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and
Edward Bates. Continued below...
These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods
upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and humiliated at losing to this relatively obscure Illinois lawyer. Yet
Lincoln not only convinced them to join his administration--Seward as secretary of state, Chase as secretary of the treasury,
and Bates as attorney general--he ultimately gained their admiration and respect as well. How he soothed egos, turned rivals
into allies, and dealt with many challenges to his leadership, all for the sake of the greater good, is largely what Goodwin's
fine book is about. Had he not possessed the wisdom and confidence to select and work with the best people, she argues, he
could not have led the nation through one of its darkest periods. Ten years in the making,
this engaging work reveals why "Lincoln's road to success was longer, more tortuous, and far less likely" than the other men, and why,
when opportunity beckoned, Lincoln was "the best prepared
to answer the call." This multiple biography further provides valuable background and insights into the contributions and
talents of Seward, Chase, and Bates. Lincoln may have been "the indispensable ingredient of
the Civil War," but these three men were invaluable to Lincoln
and they played key roles in keeping the nation intact.
Recommended Reading: Gettysburg:
A Testing of Courage. Description: America's
Civil War raged for more than four years, but it is the three days of fighting in the Pennsylvania
countryside in July 1863 that continues to fascinate, appall, and inspire new generations with its unparalleled saga of sacrifice
and courage. From Chancellorsville, where General Robert E. Lee launched his high-risk campaign into the North, to the Confederates'
last daring and ultimately-doomed act, forever known as Pickett's Charge, the battle of Gettysburg gave the Union army a victory
that turned back the boldest and perhaps greatest chance for a Southern nation. Continued below...
historian Noah Andre Trudeau brings the most up-to-date research available to a brilliant, sweeping, and comprehensive history
of the battle of Gettysburg that sheds fresh light on virtually every aspect of it. Deftly balancing his own
narrative style with revealing firsthand accounts, Trudeau brings this engrossing human tale to life as never before.
Recommended Reading: The Real Lincoln:
A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. Description: It hardly seems possible that there is more to say about someone who has been subjected
to such minute scrutiny in thousands of books and articles. Yet, Thomas J. DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln manages to raise fresh and morally probing questions, challenging the image of the martyred
16th president that has been fashioned carefully in marble and bronze, sentimentalism and myth. In doing so, DiLorenzo does
not follow the lead of M. E. Bradford or other Southern agrarians. Continued below...
He writes primarily not as a defender of the Old South and its institutions, culture, and traditions, but
as a libertarian enemy of the Leviathan state. DiLorenzo holds Lincoln and his war responsible for the triumph of "big government" and the birth of the
ubiquitous, suffocating modern U.S. state.
He seeks to replace the nation’s memory of Lincoln as the “Great Emancipator”
with the record of Lincoln as the “Great Centralizer.”
Recommended Reading: Lincoln
Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe. Description:
While many view our 16th president as the nation’s greatest president and hero, Tom Dilorenzo, The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an
Unnecessary War, through his scholarly research, exposes the many unconstitutional decisions of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln Unmasked, a best-seller, reveals that ‘other side’ – the inglorious character
– of the nation’s greatest tyrant and totalitarian. Continued below...