What is the Gettysburg Address? (with pictures)

L. S. Wynn
L. S. Wynn

19 November 1863

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.

Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.
Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.

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 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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, but it can never forget what they did here.

The battlefield at Gettysburg has been preserved from development.
The battlefield at Gettysburg has been preserved from development.

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 that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this 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.

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Discussion Comments

Buster29

I have stood on the spot where the Gettysburg Address was delivered, and I got a sense of how difficult it would have been to hear Lincoln's words that day. The Gettysburg battlefield is very wide and flat, and there were no public address systems back in Lincoln's day. I'll bet most people didn't realize what he said until the speech appeared in newspapers later.

Ruggercat68

The Gettysburg Address has to be one of the best speeches ever delivered. There isn't a wasted word or cliched phrase to be found. I remember hearing stories about the man who preceded Lincoln and spoke for over two hours. Nobody remembers his speech, but Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is a part of history.

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    • Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.
      Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.
    • The battlefield at Gettysburg has been preserved from development.
      The battlefield at Gettysburg has been preserved from development.
    • Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was made at a key moment in the American Civil War.
      Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was made at a key moment in the American Civil War.