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Gettysburg Address

Abraham Lincoln

Gettysburg Address: Abraham Lincoln was the 16th American President who served in office from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865. One of the important events during his presidency was the Gettysburg Address.

Definition and Summary of the Gettysburg Address
Summary and definition:
The Gettysburg Address was a short speech given on November, 19, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Gettysburg Address was delivered in the height of the American Civil War to commemorate the massive numbers of deaths and casualties at the bloody Battle of Gettysburg that was fought July 1–3, 1863.

The Gettysburg Address for kids: A Two Minute Speech
The Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in the world. Yet it only took President Lincoln just over 2 minutes to deliver the Gettysburg Address. Find out facts and information about the Gettysburg Address starting with the Gettysburg Address Text, together with the meaning of the speech.

The Gettysburg Address Text
The Text of the Gettysburg Address is loaded with meaning and significance
and the work is more of like a piece of poetic prose than a political speech. It conveys ideas, emotional experiences and heightened imagery which heightens the impact of the words. President Abraham Lincoln also makes use of Allusions in the words of the Gettysburg Address speech. Allusions make reference to something other than what is being said directly so it is easy to miss the meaning and significance if you do not know the reference point.

Facts about the Gettysburg Address for kids
The following fact sheet provides interesting facts about the Gettysburg Address.

The text of the Gettysburg Address is carved into stone on the south wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.,

There are approx 270 words in the Gettysburg Address and it took just over 2 minutes to deliver

The reason for the speech was the dedication of the national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

When was the Gettysburg Address? The speech was given by President Abraham Lincoln on November, 19, 1863

Who wrote the Gettysburg Address? Abraham Lincoln

What is the Gettysburg Address? The name of a world famous speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln to honor those who had died at the Battle of Gettysburg during which Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his forces were defeated by Union forces led by General George Meade.

The Civil War was at its height when the speech was made, and less than six moths after the Battle of Gettysburg (June 27–July 4, 1863). There were approximately 94,000 Union soldiers and 72,000 Confederates who fought at Gettysburg

The speech was made in honor of the Union troops who had fallen on the battlefield - 3,155 soldiers were killed and 14,531 wounded fighting for the Union. (a further 4,708 killed soldiers were killed and 12,693 wounded fighting for the Confederacy)

The speech reflected the ideals and principles of equality,  freedom and democracy and made reference to the past, present and future of the nation

The speech followed the Emancipation Proclamation which was made on January 1, 1863.

President Lincoln presided at the ceremony but the main speaker was Edward Everett, a senator and preacher who spoke for more than two hours

The speech starts with the words "Four score and seven years ago..." Score is a word meaning 20. Four score and seven years ago means 87 years.

What was the significance of "Four score and seven years?." The Gettysburg Address was delivered in 1863.  87 years before this date was 1776 - the year of the Declaration of Independence.

President Lincoln was unwell on the day of the ceremony, suffering from dizziness and a headache. It turned out that he was suffering from the early stages of smallpox.

There are several different versions of the speech including draft copies by President Lincoln and versions published by newspaper reporters who were present at the dedication ceremony.

President Lincoln's famous phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people..." is used in the Constitution of France

The opening phrase of the famous Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech made on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial begins in the same style referring to Lincoln with the words "Five score years ago, a great American..."

Lincoln was asked by several people for copies of his speech. Five manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address exist which are named for the person who received a copy from Lincoln. They are referred to as the Nicolay, Hay, Everett, Bancroft and Bliss copies.

The minor differences in the copies of the Gettysburg Address account for the disparities in the number of words counted in the speech.

The Gettysburg Address is regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history.

US American History
1850-1865: Civil War Era

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