Learning Lincoln On-line
CONTENTS SET A:
Personal Stories #11-- Gettysburg Address
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Autobiographies and other Sources
[the verse is from
Lincoln's Sword, by Douglas L. Wilson, 2006; "The Gettysburg Address"
Nicolay Draft, from Lincoln's Papers, LOC]
"How sleep the brave, who sink to rest By all
their country's wishes blest,"
After seeing the number of dead
being buried across from the Old Soldier's Home, I realized that this great
Civil War was taking the lives of our young men, and was also providing for our
new born democratic experiment to be saved. I was invited on November 2 to
speak at the dedication of our new National Cemetery. I thought about just
what I would say there.
The Founding Father's belief of
"equality for all," and "We the people," would have to be the main thoughts I
would include in my address. Young men are dying by the thousands to
protect these Declaration truths. I ended up writing and re-writing until
I would get up on November 19 and speak my thoughts. Here is what I said:
"Four score and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth, upon 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 it, as a final resting place
for those who died here, that the
nation might live. This we may, in all
propriety do. 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 hallowed it,
far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long
remember what we say here; while it
can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us,
the living, we here be 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 these dead shall not have died in
vain; that the nation, 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."