The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

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"Government Of The People, By The People, And For The People"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: When President Lincoln delivered his address at the dedication of the battlefield of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as a national cemetery, the speech attracted very little attention. The principal speaker for the dedication was Edward Everett, a noted orator. The President's short address, which Lincoln finished writing in Gettysburg the evening before the ceremonies, was given after that of Everett, a fact which could account for the scant attention accorded it at the time. Later, though, when the address appeared in print, even Everett gave it high praise. In his speech Lincoln first calls attention to the lives sacrificed in a struggle that is a test of whether a nation conceived in liberty can endure. Turning his attention to the work ahead, Lincoln says:

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, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.