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Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Analysis

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Four and a half months after the Union defeated the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. He gave the Union soldiers a new perspective on the war and a reason to fight in the Civil War. Before the address, the Civil War was based on states’ rights. Lincoln’s speech has the essence of America and the ideals that were instilled in the Declaration of Independence by the Founders. The sixteenth president of the United States was capable of using his speech to turn a war on states’ rights to a war on slavery and upholding the principles that America was founded upon. By turning the Civil War into a war about slavery he effortlessly ensured that no foreign country would recognize the South as an independent nation, ensuring Union success in the war. In his speech, Lincoln used the rhetorical devices of juxtaposition, repetition, and parallelism, to touch the hearts of its listeners.

Lincoln had numerous purposes for the Gettysburg Address. Firstly, it was to be used to dedicate the land where the Battle of Gettysburg had taken place as a cemetery for the fallen troops of both the North and the South, the most apparent and central reason for his address. His second purpose for the address was to transform the war on states’ rights to a war on slavery and upholding the ideals that the Founders had authored in the Declaration of Independence. By doing this, Lincoln was capable to manipulate countries, such as England and France who had not been fond of slavery for decades, in making them loath the Confederacy and ensure other nations would not recognize the Confederacy as a nation.

Lincoln intelligently uses the rhetorical devices of juxtaposition, parallelism, a...

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...ited States.” Lincoln passed on his belief that the nation must be united and that a “new birth of freedom” would be created, or the nation would “perish from the world,” should the Union failed.

Abraham Lincoln wrote one of the greatest speeches in American history known as the Gettysburg Address. It was not only used as a dedication to the fallen troops of the North and South, but as a speech to give the Union a reason to fight and attempt to unite the divided nation. The sixteenth president’s handling of his speech at Gettysburg demonstrated how the effectiveness of juxtaposition, repetition, and parallelism, could bring unity to a nation deeply divided on beliefs. His speech touched the hearts of many and indirectly put an end to the Civil War. Lincoln may have been considered a tyrant at the time but he was a great leader of a nation, a war, and a democracy.