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Gettysburg Address Analysis

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Political Speech Analysis Gettysburg Address Analysis Undoubtedly his most famous speech that he gave throughout his presidential years was his Gettysburg Address…… On the first three days of July 1863, the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, had fought the Army of the Potomac, the principal northern army, to which General George G. Meade had been assigned command only four days earlier. In early May, Lee had won a smashing victory at Chancellorsville, Virginia, over a Union force approximately twice as large, then had boldly determined to carry the war to the enemy by invading Pennsylvania. Drawn into an offensive battle at Gettysburg, Lee attacked both wings of the Union army before launching an attack on the center in the third day of fighting. That assault, led by Major General George E. Pickett, had approached success before Union forces rallied. The three-day battle cost the North 17,684 men killed and wounded; the South lost 22,638. The failure of Pickett's charge, sometimes labeled the high-water mark of the Confederacy, compelled Lee to withdraw from Pennsylvania. However, Meade failed to conduct the vigorous pursuit that Lincoln wanted. On July 7, Lincoln had spoken to a crowd assembled at the White House to celebrate the twin Union victories at Gettysburg and at Vicksburg, Mississippi, the key to control of the Mississippi River), which had surrendered on July 4. Lincoln gave an awkward speech: "How long ago is it?—eighty-odd years—since on the Fourth of July for the first time in the history of the world) a nation by its representatives, assembled and declared as a self-evident truth that 'all men are created equal.'" Later, after rambling, Lincoln confessed that he was not prepared to make a speech "worthy of the occasion." He had, nonetheless, expressed the central theme of the {draw:frame} Gettysburg Address, which he refined and strengthened for delivery at the cemetery. Fiction created a legend that Lincoln wrote his speech on the back of an envelope while on the train to Gettysburg. In fact he had already written two complete drafts, later presented to his two secretaries. Another legend exists that Lincoln was sadly disappointed in the speech, especially after it drew strong criticism in newspapers. Such criticism appeared only in Democratic papers; hostile editors savaged the speech not because they thought it weak but because they recognized its strength. Republican editors and others knew immediately that Lincoln's speech was masterful. In some 271 words, 202 of them having one syllable, Lincoln captured the meaning of the war, transforming "eighty-odd years" into the sonorous "four score and seven," using imagery of birth, death, and resurrection to move from what "our fathers brought forth … a new nation, conceived in Liberty" and dedication to the principle that "all men are created equal)" to the war itself. At the cemetery, said Lincoln, lay those "who here gave their lives that that nation might live." Lincoln paid honor to the Union dead, not praising their officers, not celebrating their victory, but claiming their sacrifice for the principles of the Declaration of Independence). At the same time, he emphasized that these men had died to preserve the nation, although the war previously had been fought for the Union. Subtly, Lincoln transformed a Union of states into a national union. That nation stood for "a new birth of freedom" based on "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Lincoln unified past, present, and future into an American mission. The glorious words of the {draw:frame} Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address are now enshrined in the Lincoln Memorial) in Washington, D.C. Overall I think Abraham Lincoln did a very well job at magnifying the positives and negatives of the war. He exclaimed that that ground at which they were standing on was dedicated to the soldiers who risked their lives for our country. He also said that “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget speech as long as they will always remember those who served this country. To me that us a very powerful statement because it not only show that he cares about the innocent civilians but, he also cares for his country. With this great speech Abraham Lincoln became my favorite speaker of all time. The Gettysburg Address 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 .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.

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