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Gettysburg Address

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President Abraham Lincoln presented his speech on November 19, 1863. He went to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to dedicate a military cemetery to the Union soldiers who have fought and fallen during the war. The main speaker was Edward Everett, and Lincoln was to speak "as Chief Executive of the nation." Everett spoke for more than two hours. Lincoln spoke for only two minutes, yet people remember Lincoln's address. Lincoln had given his speech a lot of thought. One of the most notable aspects of the Gettysburg Address is its brevity. The act of infusing the address with so much power in a few words, almost an act requiring great time and labor.

By setting the date of the founding of the nation in 1776, ("Four score and seven years ago", a score being twenty years) Lincoln had removed much of the emphasis from the nation's historical ties to slavery, shifting the emphasis to the founding concept that "all men are created equal".

Lincoln also chose to use the term "nation" to describe the United States, not the common term of the day, "Union". He does not want to punish, or to offend the Confederacy. The term, "Union," always carried with it the idea of independent sovereigns, the several states, joined together to form a larger entity, the federal government, with the ultimate power resting in the states. The states, after all, had created the federal government. The federal government had not created the states. By talking about the "nation" instead of the "Union", Lincoln moved away from the traditional emphasis on the structures of the government towards an emphasis on the people of all of America, placing the genesis of these people, even though it is not in the Constitution, but it's in the Declaration of Independence.

He spent most of the rest of the speech trying to maintain support for the war by invoking



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