On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his immortal address
to the crowd gathered at Gettysburg to dedicate the newly established "Soldiers National Cemetery," which is commonly referred to as the "Gettysburg Cemetery."
President Lincoln delivered the 272 word Gettysburg Address on November 19,
1863, on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
"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 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 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 here 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."
Courtesy of Cornell University
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...
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.
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...
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
Recommended Reading: 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: 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. 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. Continued below...
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, 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. A book that is hailed by many and harshly criticized by others, Lincoln Unmasked, nevertheless, is
a thought-provoking study and view of Lincoln that was not
taught in our public school system.