The Worlds Famous Orations. America: II. (18181865). 1906.
V. The Speech at Gettysburg
Abraham Lincoln (180965)
Born in 1809, died in 1865; began to practise law in 1837; served in the Black Hawk War in 1832; elected to Congress in 1847; the unsuccessful Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1858; elected President in 1860; issued the Emancipation Proclamation September 22, 1862; reelected President in 1864; entered Richmond with the Federal Army on April 4, 1865; assassinated ten days later.
FOURSCORE1 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 that field2 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 dedicatewe can not consecratewe can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor3 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 which4 they who fought here thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before usthat from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotionthat we here highly resolve that these5 dead shall not have died in vainthat this nation, under God, shall6 have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Note 1. Delivered at the dedication of the cemetery in Gettysburg, November 19, 1863, after Edward Everett had made the formal speech of the day. Printed here in textual conformity to the copy which Lincoln wrote out in his own hand for a soldiers and sailors fair, held in Baltimore in 1864. [back]
Note 2. The Associated Press report, as taken down in shorthand and printed the day after this speech was delivered, here reads, We are met to dedicate a portion of it. [back]