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Lincoln's
GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
November 19, 1863

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President Abraham Lincoln President Abraham Lincoln was invited, some say only as an afterthought, to the dedication of the national cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where several thousand dead from the Civil War's most gruesome battle only four months before had been interred.

He was asked to deliver a short speech following the keynote speaker, the great contemporary orator Edward Everett.

Lincoln is said to have put off writing the speech, finally doing so on the back of an envelope on the train to Gettysburg.

Following Everett's two-hour discourse, Lincoln rose and delivered his two-minute speech, whose carefully chosen words still echo across the generations since, and pluck at America's heartstrings.



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Lincoln's
GETTYSBURG ADDRESS
November 19, 1863

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 the 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 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.

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