Gettysburg Address (American History Through Literature)
Abraham Lincoln's (1809-1865) Gettysburg Address [annotated eText] is widely recognized as one of the most significant speeches in American history. Just as Lincoln's declaration in June 1858 that "a house divided against itself cannot stand" ("Speech," p. 428) exemplified the state of the nation before the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address captured the spirit of a people seeking to maintain their unity in the face of divisive and destructive violence. Although the Civil War raged for two more years, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address provided Americans with a literary formula for accepting the costs of the war and moving toward the future with resolution and hope.
The Gettysburg Address was delivered on 19 November 1863 during a dedication ceremony that transformed the site of the Battle of Gettysburg into a national war cemetery. The Battle of Gettysburg (1 July 1863) is considered one of the bloodiest battles in American history. Historians estimate that fifty-one thousand soldiers were killed, wounded, or captured during the battle, more casualties than any other battle ever fought in North America. It is generally considered a turning point in the Civil War. By 1863 Americans on both the Northern and the Southern sides had come to accept that the initial expectation that the war would be settled quickly with
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