Rhetorical Analysis of The Gettysburg Address

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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 something to fight for. Before the address, the Civil War was based solely on states’ rights. Lincoln’s speech has the essence of America and the ideals that were put into 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 that was about slavery he was able to ensure that no foreign country would recognize the south as an independent nation, thus ensuring Union success in the war. In his speech, Lincoln used the rhetorical devices of juxtaposition, repetition, and parallelism. Lincoln had numerous purposes for his 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 Union troops, the most obvious and main reason for his address. His second purpose for the address was to change the war on states’ rights to a war on slavery and upholding the ideals that the founders had created 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 make sure other nations would not recognize the Confederacy as a nation. Lincoln cleverly uses the rhetorical devices of juxtaposition, parallelism, and repetition. Juxtaposition is the comparison of two ... ... middle of paper ... ...nation together. The address to ethos demonstrates when the Constitution was being written even the founding fathers were divided, but they came together under a sheet of paper to unite a nation, similar to the Gettysburg Address. The Gettysburg Address was not successful when it was first presented to those who attended the dedication for the fallen of the Battle of Gettysburg. Lincoln surprised all at the event with his speech by its shortness. The address is considered to be the definition on the ideas that the United States was founded upon. Before the Civil War began the United States were seen as only a collection of states. The Gettysburg address was an attempt to unite the nation. 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” if the Union failed.