Essay about The Gettysburg Address and American Revival

Essay about The Gettysburg Address and American Revival

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The Gettysburg Address is without a doubt one of the most famous speeches in American history. However, at the time, it was simply an uplifting, motivational speech by the sitting president as part of a ceremony dedicating the Gettysburg Battlefield as a National Cemetery. Now, it is viewed as an historic address delivered by one of the greatest presidents and orators to ever live, Abraham Lincoln. It has also become the benchmark for speeches today and is the subject of many articles, talks, and books alike. Naturally, many speakers and authors offer a similar type of insight that one might have considered or encountered previously. In Lincoln at Gettysburg, Garry Wills offers an original perspective on the Address by arguing his belief that President Abraham Lincoln gave America “a new birth of freedom” with his famous words at the Gettysburg battlefield.
Wills breaks apart his argument into five chapters, all tying back to the idea of a “remaking” of America. The second chapter, “Gettysburg and the Culture of Death,” describes mostly how the setting for the Address played a key role in the power of Lincoln’s speech. Herb Brooks, coach of the “miraculous” 1980 United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, told his team, “Great moments are born from great opportunities.” For Lincoln, the opportunity could not have been much greater. In seemingly his nation’s darkest hour, he was able resurrect the country from the heart of the war. The tragedy that occurred at Gettysburg was a building block that Lincoln needed to connect with his audience. He was able to draw on the loss of his son Tad to add an emotional connection to the Address adding another layer to it. In addition, the grave layout at the newly created National Cem...


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... Lincoln is not there. The Constitution is designed to govern the people while still allowing the people to be free. America is not bound by the limits of her own constitution from a reconstruction similar to the one that occurred after the Civil War, but rather she is bound by the limits of her leaders who are responsible for guiding the nation through good times and through bad. In Lincoln’s words, a “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” He knew that a democracy is the best and only just way to govern a people and he captures this sentiment with, perhaps, the most famous line from his most famous address. That truth still holds today and given the crucial spark, the people of America will be able to complete another major reconstruction at least seven score and eight years after Lincoln’s pivotal Address.

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