Seven Score and Five Years Ago

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg

On November 19, 1863, some skinny dude from Illinois gave a speech:

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.

They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

(h/t Helenk)


One Response to Seven Score and Five Years Ago

  1. native1 says:

    I was able to visit the Gettysburg battlefield last year with my family. Looking out over the many fields where the fighting took place was an eerie thing. At one point I walked away from the guide and the family and looked up hill to the ridge, closed my eyes and…it was like I could almost feel the despair and insanity of that last desperate charge that should never have been made.

    Most people don’t know how close the Union came to losing the war at Gettysburg. It really was the Souths high water mark. The numerous last ditch stands made by the northern soldiers are almost to numerous to cite. Each of the three days of battle had its do-or-die heroics.

    It is a tribute to a great STATESMAN that the address is so short and to the point. It took a long time for Lincolns speech to be recognized as the classic it is. He sure didn’t take long to say a lot.

    So far I haven’t seen any speech by “the one” that will be remembered in 10 years let alone 100 years.

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