The Gettysburg Address
November 19, 1863
In November 1863 President Lincoln dedicated
a national cemetery to those who had died in the Battle of Gettysburg, where
almost 50,000 Americans were wounded or killed. His
speech, known as the Gettysburg Address, became famous as an expression of the
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.
"Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can
"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 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."