the gettysburg address

the gettysburg address - The Gettysburg Address is a speech...

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The Gettysburg Address is a speech by Abraham Lincoln and one of the most quoted speeches in United States history.[dead link] [1][not in citation given][2][3] It was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg. Abraham Lincoln's carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a struggle not merely for the Union, but as "a new birth of freedom" that would bring true equality to all of its citizens, and that would also create a unified nation in which states' rights were no longer dominant. Beginning with the now-iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago," Lincoln referred to the events of the Civil War and described the ceremony at Gettysburg as an opportunity not only to consecrate the grounds of a cemetery, but also to dedicate the living to the struggle to ensure that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Despite the speech's prominent place in the history and popular culture of the United States, the exact wording of the speech is disputed. The five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address differ in a number of details and also differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech. Background Union soldiers dead at Gettysburg, photographed by Timothy H. O'Sullivan, July 5–6, 1863From July 1–3, 1863, more than 160,000 American soldiers clashed in the Battle of Gettysburg, in what would prove to be a turning point of the Civil War.[4] The battle also had a major impact on the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which numbered only 2,400 inhabitants.[5] The battlefield contained the bodies of more than 7,500 dead soldiers and several thousand horses[6] of the Army of the Potomac and the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia, and the stench of rotting bodies in the humid July air was overpowering.[7] Interring the dead in a dignified and orderly manner became a high priority for the few thousand residents of Gettysburg. Initially, the town planned to buy land for a cemetery and then ask the families of the dead to pay for their burial. However, David Wills, a wealthy 32-year-old attorney, objected to this idea and wrote to the Governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew Gregg Curtin, suggesting instead a National Cemetery to be funded by the states. Wills was authorized to purchase 17 acres (69,000 m²) for a cemetery to honor those lost in the summer's battle, paying
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