On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous speech, and possibly the most memorable speech of all time, the Gettysburg address. He held his speech at the site of the bloodiest battle in the civil war, where more than 51 thousand casualties were shared between the Confederate and Union army (American Battlefield Trust, 2018). Lincoln was giving this speech to dedicate a cemetery for the fallen soldiers of the Union army.
In his three minute speech, Lincoln summarized what the Civil War was for and the impacts it had on America.
When Lincoln gave his speech, he was addressing the average American citizen who would have been affected by the Civil War and its outcomes. He starts off his speech with the famous line Fourscore and seven years ago where he describes when the founding fathers conceived the Declaration of Independence and had a vision for what the future of the U.S. would be like. He proceeds to say that when America was born all men were created equal and that the Civil War was a product of Americans not living by that value.
When Lincoln was speaking he was wanting the audience to understand the significance and impact the battle of Gettysburg was to the outcome of the Civil War and the influence it made on future America. In the web article The Gettysburg Address: An Analysis, Zimmer makes the point that not was Abe trying to inspire the American people to continue to fight, but he was also wanting them to show their respects for the fallen soldiers on the battlefield. Lincoln didn’t use any difficult words or phrase to confuse or puzzle the audience. He kept his words simple yet elegant to articulate his point without trying to baffle the listeners. He also made sure his speech short so he didn’t lose the interest or impact of the speech.
Furthermore, the speech Abraham gave is very honest and there’s a lot of truth to what he brought attention to. You can believe him and his statements based on his passion and vigor he has for the future of America, and because Abraham was known for telling the truth. While he is very distraught that a war broke out while he was president, you can decipher from his tone that he knew this would be the only way to overcome America’s adversity.
During the closing remarks of his speech, Lincoln acknowledges the call to action that Americans need to do to help resolve the conflict. He uses inspirational words to help uplift the audience and make them aware that there is a great task remaining before them. In the final sentences, Lincoln closes with perhaps the most famous closings lines of a speech, the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. He closes with these words to signify to the listeners that the United States is one coherent unit and that the only way that can survive and move forward form this moment in time is together, and if we don’t, everything America stood for will vanish.
In conclusion, the Gettysburg address is recognized as one of the most important speeches ever given. Due to its subject matter and simplicity, it resonates with the reader and makes you understand the importance the civil war had on shaping the character of the United States. Lincoln takes the audience on the timeline of America from when it was first conceived to the crossroads ahead. Lincoln helps the reader understand the pathway Americans need to take in order to move on ahead and grow from this situation.
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