Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address to honor the bravery and valor of the soldiers who laid down their lives for America, during the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 to July 3, 1863).
Background of the Gettysburg Address
On November 19, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Abraham Lincoln was requested to commence a few fitting remarks on the occasion of sanctification of Gettysburg, in the memory of the soldiers who lost their lives at the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg was a battlefield where Battle of Gettysburg was fought as part of American Civil War (1861–1865).The battle ensued between the armies of North and South, ultimately resulting in the triumph of Union against the Confederate. Casualties of Americans were estimated between 46,000 and 51,000, making it the highest number of casualties during American Civil War.
Lincoln was invited as a guest speaker by David Wills, and was supposed to make a brief speech following the main speech delivered by Edward Everett that took two hours. On the other hand, Lincoln’s speech was only a two-minute-affair, yet it moved the sentiment of the crowd to the exalt, that there followed a standing ovation by a crowd of 15,000.
Till day, the Gettysburg Address is remembered as a literary masterpiece in American history, delivering a vital element with minimal choice of words.
Abraham Lincoln’s Address
Unlike popular belief, Lincoln did not write the draft of Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope,during his way to Gettysburg. He started jotting down phrases and sentences in pencil on a paper and finished off the complete draft on another page, on the morning of the address.
Later, Edward Everett wrote to Abraham Lincoln,
"I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near the the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes."
Text of the Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our father 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 the nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are here on a great battle field of that war. We have to dedicate a proportion of it as a final resting place. For those here who gave there lives that the nation might live. It is altogether fighting 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 who 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. 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 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.