Gettysburg Address: November 19, 1863

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Johnny Cash in the above video does a superb job of reading the Gettysburg Address.  Go here to read my analysis of the Gettysburg Address.  Winston Churchill, certainly the greatest orator of the English language in the last century, deemed the Address, “The ultimate expression of the majesty of Shakespeare’s language.”  Lincoln’s masterpiece of concision packed with thought will endure as long as our American republic does, and the truths it contains will endure far beyond that time period.

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 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 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.

 

5 Responses to Gettysburg Address: November 19, 1863

  • Interesting that Lincoln talks about “this nation under God”. Churchill, not a religious man, spoke in the dark days of 1940 that “in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might” would in effect save the Old. Ever the historian, he was consciously echoing Canning in the 1820s. Can one imagine a modern politician invoking the Deity in such a direct manner?

    Actually, I have a vested interest in the idea of the New World having stepped forth for the liberation of the Old. As a FOO in West Germany in the 1970s my life expectancy was around six minutes; thanks to the nuclear deterrence provided mostly by the USA I’m still around. I understand that the Church has said nuclear deterrence is immoral. I’m going to have to reserve my judgement here.

  • Actually John I believe the Church gave approval to nuclear deterrence, although the teaching in that area tends to be fairly arcane and convuluted, at least to me.

    I have always been very fond of Churchill and this is one of my favorite Churchill quotes:

    “You ask, What is our policy? I will say; “It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.” You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. ”

  • Lincoln’s law partner described his voice as “shrill, squeaking, piping, unpleasant”. Were there a Bob Dylan rendition, It would probably be more appropriate than this one.

  • How fortunate HA for Lincoln, and for us, that he lived in a time when people actually listened to what a speaker said rather than how he said it.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Ask-an-Expert-What-Did-Abraham-Lincolns-Voice-Sound-Like.html

  • Say what you will of the last couple of decades, but Bob Dylan’s career would not have been possible in any age that cared more about how someone said something than about what he actually said.

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