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The Original Gettysburg Address

The Original Gettysburg Address



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The White House Copy of the Gettysburg Address

The document on display is the last known draft of the Gettysburg Address written in Lincoln's hand. President Abraham Lincoln wrote these remarks for the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery on November 19, 1863. He produced this copy in March 1864 to help raise funds for the Union cause. The manuscript, often referred to as the Bliss copy, was kept by Alexander Bliss, one of the book's publishers. It remained in his family until it was auctioned in 1949. Oscar Cintas, a former Cuban ambassador to Washington, purchased the document for $54,000—then a record price paid for a document at public auction. Cintas, who died in 1957, left the address to the people of the United States with the understanding that it be placed in the White House's collections.

The Lincoln Bedroom

The White House copy on display in the Albert H. Small Documents gallery (Nov. 21, 2008 to Jan. 4, 2009 at the National Museum of American History) is normally kept on view in the newly restored Lincoln Bedroom on the second floor of the White House.

The room, which had been President Lincoln’s office and cabinet room, has been called the Lincoln Bedroom since 1945 when President Harry S. Truman directed that Lincoln-era bedroom furnishings be placed there.

Under the leadership of Mrs. Laura Bush, the White House completed refurbishing the Lincoln Bedroom and adjoining sitting room in 2005.

Transcription of the Gettysburg Address

Address delivered at the dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


The Gettysburg Address

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate &mdash we cannot consecrate &mdash we cannot hallow &mdash this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us &mdash that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion &mdash that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain &mdash that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

This "Nicolay" draft of the Gettysburg Address is one of five slightly different drafts of the speech known to exist. It is named for John G. Nicolay, President Lincoln's personal secretary. Most historians consider this version the "reading copy" at Gettysburg. Learn more at Abraham Lincoln Online


Lesson Plans

By Katie Gould, Teacher Resource Producer for the PBS NewsHour Extra

Tuesday November 19 marks the 150th anniversary of what many historians say is among the best and most important speeches given in the United States. In this lesson, students learn about and evaluate the hallowed 272-word document spoken by President Abraham Lincoln.

Subjects

History, civics and government, English

Estimated Time

One 45 minute class period

Grade Levels

Middle School and High School

Warm Up Activity

What do you know about the Gettysburg Address?

Prompt students for the “who, what, where, when and why” of the address.

Fill in the gaps of information by watching the History Channel’s Introduction to the Gettysburg Address below.

Main Activity

Evaluating the Gettysburg Address

Pass out copies of ReadWriteThink’s “Oral Presentation Rubric” and review it with students. When they watch the Gettysburg Address have them keep in mind the things that make a speech great and have them grade the reenactment of Lincoln’s address.

Pass out copies of the Gettysburg Address to students and then let them follow along as they watch the Presidential Lincoln Library and Museum’s reenactment of the Gettysburg Address below.

Ask students to share the scores they gave the reenactment of the Gettysburg Address and ask students who were on either extreme to explain to the class their thought process.

Pass out “Retraction for our 1863 editorial calling Gettysburg Address ‘silly remarks’” resource to students and explain to students that not everyone always agreed that the Gettysburg Address was one of the greatest speeches in the history of the United States.

Pass out the original 1963 article, “A Voice from the Dead,” by the Patriot and Union Newspaper.

Ask students what they think of the criticisms from the article.

  • Were they right?
  • If they were wrong, how do you think they made that mistake?
  • How can we predict what speeches or events are going to become historical?
  • If you had to think back on your life and choose an event that would make history what would it be?

Writing Prompt

  • Write a persuasive paper either defending the Gettysburg Address as one of the best speeches in American history, or arguing that it was not. You may use your rubric for examples of its greatness as an oration, but make sure to also speak to the context and historicity of the event too.
  • Imagine that you were in attendance of the Gettysburg Address. Write a narration that includes your reaction to the oratory as well as breaking down what the speech says to you as someone living in during the Civil War.

Other Materials

Use this account of the Patriot and Union for more depth about the review and the history that follows it.


Gettysburg Address (1863)

Perhaps the most famous battle of the Civil War took place at Gettysburg, PA, July 1 to July 3, 1863. At the end of the battle, the Union's Army of the Potomac had successfully repelled the second invasion of the North by the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia. Several months later, President Lincoln went to Gettysburg to speak at the dedication of the cemetery for the Union war dead. Speaking of a "new birth of freedom," he delivered one of the most memorable speeches in U.S. history.

At the end of the Battle of Gettysburg, more than 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers were wounded, missing, or dead. Many of those who died were laid in makeshift graves along the battlefield. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin commissioned David Wills, an attorney, to purchase land for a proper burial site for the deceased Union soldiers. Wills acquired 17 acres for the cemetery, which was planned and designed by landscape architect William Saunders.

The cemetery was dedicated on November 19, 1863. The main speaker for the event was Edward Everett, one of the nation’s foremost orators. President Lincoln was also invited to speak “as Chief Executive of the nation, formally [to] set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks.” At the ceremony, Everett spoke for more than 2 hours Lincoln spoke for 2 minutes.


The Gettysburg Address, 1863

On November 19, 1863, four months after the Battle of Gettysburg, a ceremony was held at the site in Pennsylvania to dedicate a cemetery for the Union dead. The battle had been a Union victory, but at great cost—about 23,000 Union casualties and 23,000 Confederate (a total of nearly 8,000 killed, 27,000 wounded, and 11,000 missing). At the cemetery dedication in November 1863, the day’s speakers found themselves tasked with finding the right words to commemorate those who had perished in the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

The main speaker was Edward Everett, a former US senator, governor of Massachusetts, and president of Harvard. President Lincoln had been invited to make a "few appropriate remarks" at the cemetery’s consecration. Some 15,000 people heard his speech.

Less than 275 words in length, Lincoln’s three-minute-long Gettysburg Address defined the meaning of the Civil War. Drawing upon the biblical concepts of suffering, consecration, and resurrection, he described the war as a momentous chapter in the global struggle for self-government, liberty, and equality. Lincoln told the crowd that the nation would "have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth." He stated that the Union had to remain dedicated to "to the great task remaining before us" with "increased devotion to that cause for which" the dead had given "the last full measure of devotion."

In his short address, Lincoln honored the fallen dead and framed those soldiers’ sacrifices and the war itself as necessary to the survival of the nation. The copy of the address printed here has textual errors that indicate it is a very early printing.

Excerpt

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.


The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

This "Bliss" draft of the Gettysburg Address is one of five slightly different versions of the speech. It is named after Colonel Alexander Bliss, stepson of historian George Bancroft, who requested a copy from President Lincoln for a soldier benefit fundraiser in 1864. It is the last known copy penned by Lincoln. Learn more at Abraham Lincoln Online


VIDEOS

VIDEO: Battery H Of The 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery At Gettysburg

Civil War Times Editor Dana Shoaf shares the story of how Battery H of the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery found itself in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg. .

Dan Bullock: The youngest American killed in the Vietnam War

Pfc. Dan Bullock died at age 15 in 1969 and efforts to recognize the young African-American Marine continue and are highlighted in this Military Times documentary. (Rodney Bryant and Daniel Woolfolk/Military Times).


Then and Now Pictures

Devil's Den

Visit Waud Rock, the Slaughter Pen, and the many locations of the Confederate Sharpshooter.

Rose Woods

Recreate the famous Gardner and O'Sullivan photos of Rose Woods. These Confederate soldiers fought in this area on July 2, 1863.

Little Round Top

The team of Mathew Brady took multiple pictures from different angles of Little Round Top in mid-July 1863.

Trostle Farm

The carcasses of dead horses from Bigelow’s 9th Massachusetts Battery can be seen scattered across the yard of the Trostle farm.

Buildings and Farms

Visit buildings and farms from all around the battlefield and town including the Lutheran Seminary, Evergreen Cemetery, and Biggs farm.

1913 Reunion

The 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg brought thousands of veterans back to the battlefield in 1913 to visit new monuments.

1938 Reunion

The 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg brought veterans back to the battlefield for one last visit and to relive friendships.


Where is the original copy of the Gettysburg Address?

4, 2009 at the National Museum of American History) is normally kept on view in the newly restored Lincoln Bedroom on the second floor of the White House. The room, which had been President Lincoln's office and cabinet room, has been called the Lincoln Bedroom since 1945 when President Harry S.

Secondly, what is the first sentence in the Gettysburg Address? "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Similarly, you may ask, what document was mentioned in the Gettysburg Address?

The full text of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is as follows: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Was the Gettysburg Address written on an envelope?

Presidential Myth #2: Abraham Lincoln Wrote the Gettysburg Address on the Back of an Envelope. Seven score and nine years ago, at the dedication of a military cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Abraham Lincoln gave a two-minute speech that schoolchildren still memorize today. No train, no envelopes.


Watch the video: How Lincoln Changed the World in Two Minutes (August 2022).