Lincoln's brief but powerful address at Gettysburg in 1863 has a reverent, humble, and fervent tone. As Lincoln begins the speech, he refers to the founding fathers and references the founding document, the Declaration of Independence. He shows reverence for these men and their work. Everyone in the audience would realize that the men and document started a bloody but crucial war, similar to the one that then ravaged the country.
As he moves on to discuss the then-ongoing conflict, he mentions that the stakes are high. The purpose of his speech is to dedicate a cemetery to bury those who fought and died at Gettysburg. With great reverence, he notes that he and those in attendance don't have the power to "consecrate . . . this ground." The men who shed their blood there are the ones who hallowed it. Through this first part of the address, Lincoln displays great respect for the founders, the country, and the dead soldiers.
Next, he displays his own humility and extends it to his listeners. By stating, "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here," he takes the focus off himself and defers to the soldiers as the truly important people.
Toward the end of the speech, Lincoln becomes fervent as he outlines the response he hopes to gain from his listeners. He wants the citizens of the Union to stay committed to "the great task remaining before us," that is, winning the war, reuniting the country, and healing the nation's wounds. He calls for "a new birth of freedom" and invokes God as the overseer to protect the democracy in perpetuity.
Lincoln's tone of reverence, humility, and fervency conveyed the president's emotions and aptly reflected the hearts of his countrymen during those trying times.