OTD Nov 19, 1863: President Lincoln Delivers the Gettysburg Address
This is the one of the few surviving photos of President Lincoln on this day in 1863. If you look in the center of the photo, you see a hatless man, with a beard facing the crowd. The Library of Congress says this is President Lincoln.
What happened that day? Dedication day of Soldiers’ National Cemetery at the Gettysburg battlefield in Pennsylvania. The battle on July 1-3 1863 was the bloodiest in the Civil War. 150,000 soldiers participated; 1 out 3 was either killed, wounded or captured/missing. President Lincoln was invited to ceremony, but asked to only play a small role in the cemetery dedication.
What you should know about the speech?
The 2- minute speech followed a 2-hour speech by a famous speech maker at the time.
Debate continues over how Pres. Lincoln wrote the speech. The oldest surviving copy of the speech has “Executive House” (White House) stationary leading some to believe he started it in the White House and finished it on the way to Pennsylvania. This version is slightly different than the one often repeated (and that you see printed below).
The speech was delivered in 1863; The Civil War did not end until 1865.
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.
November 19, 1863