What is the tone of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address?

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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...

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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.

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The "Gettysburg Address" by none other than Abraham Lincoln is very complex is in its overtones. The speech serves several purposes, and it is through these purposes that the tones are best expressed. First, it takes a somber, morose tone, because it is meant to respect the dead from the Battle of Gettysburg. Second, it is meant to be invigorating, because it is an attempt to stir up the passions and force of the Union people and soldiers to embolden them to fight harder for their cause. Finally, and perhaps most prominently, it is hopeful. Lincoln uses this speech as an opportunity to look forward at a United States that is unified and free and serves the people to the best extent possible. All of these tones are mixed well throughout its text.

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President Abraham Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address" on November 19, 1863. This was in the middle of the Civil War. The occasion of the speech was the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Since this was the dedication of a memorial and burial ground of fallen soldiers, the occasion was solemn. As well as the mourning occasioned by the deaths of soldiers in the past, the mood was made even more somber by the awareness of both Lincoln and his audience that the war was still going on and that many more soldiers would die and be buried in the cemetery.

As is appropriate to such a solemn occasion, Lincoln's tone is formal and hortatory. Although Lincoln expresses sorrow for the fallen soldiers, the tone is not uniformly mournful, but rather encourages his audience to honor the soldiers' sacrifice by continuing to fight for the values for which the soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice. The conclusion of the speech shows determination and even optimism, arguing that the war should not simply be mourned but also seen as a beacon of hope, that the war was not only an emblem of death but of birth of a new political tradition, and:

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.

 

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"Gettysburg Address" was solemn yet hopeful. Lasting only a few minutes, it is considered one of the most eloquent speeches in American history. At the beginning of his speech, Lincoln spoke about the founding of the nation and its commitment to liberty. In the middle of the speech, he spoke about the Civil War in very brief terms, but the bulk of this short speech was dedicated to thinking about the future. Lincoln mentioned the "unfinished work" that the soldiers who fought and died at Gettysburg advanced, and he committed the country to "a new birth of freedom." As Gettysburg was the campaign that ended the Confederate advance northward in the summer of 1863, Lincoln began to look forward to the end of the war. This speech is a brief but solemn memorial to the people who died at Gettysburg and an eloquent and hopeful look at the future. 

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