After the smoke cleared from the bloody and war torn battlefield, the Union army emerged victorious over the Confederate army at the three day battle of Gettysburg. Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States of America, delivered one of the most powerful speeches in American history at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In a sense, the Gettysburg Address redefined the American Civil War in most American’s eyes. Delivered in under three minutes and three hundred words, this speech remains one of the most well known American speeches. This speech would have a lasting effect on future generations of Americans contrary to Lincoln’s own words. Most importantly though, the Gettysburg Address would change the way Americans would view the civil war, liberty, freedom and slavery as a whole.
By the end of the battle of Gettysburg, more than 50,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were missing, wounded, or laying dead in makeshift graves in the battlefield. The governor of Pennsylvania at the time, Andrew Curtin, requested that this land be bought as a cemetery for the proper burial of Union soldiers who died there. The cemetery was dedicated on November 19th, 1863. As one of the nations foremost orators, the main speaker of the event was Edward Everett who spoke for nearly two hours. President Abraham Lincoln was invited to speak as “as Chief Executive of the nation, formally to set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks”. He only spoke for two minutes.
The President considered it very significant that General Ulysses S. Grant’s victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg occurred on the same day: July 4th, the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He wanted to use his speech ...
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...eing criticized or praised for his speech during the war, we can now safely say that there is little criticizing of it today. It has become a staple of American passion during the Civil War.
The Gettysburg Address’ legacy has continued to this day; It was even quoted in other famous speeches like one by Dr. Martin Luther King Junior in his “I have a dream speech”, and it was inscribed by President John F. Kennedy to Janio Quadros, the President of Brazil. The address had effects that would lead to the abolition of slavery and to the redefinition of other American principles such as a remembrance of who this government is by,for, and of. Lincoln was wrong when he said the world will little note, nor long remember what they would say there. The world would long remember his immortal words that reminded America of it’s founding principle that all men are created equal.
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