November 19, 1863
President Lincoln Delivered the Gettysburg Address
A very famous speech starts “Four Score and seven years ago . . .” Do you know what speech it is? On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered a short speech at the end of the ceremonies dedicating the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That speech has come to be known as the Gettysburg Address. In it, Lincoln paid tribute to the Union soldiers who sacrificed their lives for union and equality. Lincoln had no idea at the time how famous his short speech would become.
Lines of the Gettysburg Address have been quoted and referred to time and time again. They are even carved on the walls inside the Lincoln Memorial: “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.”
The speaker before Lincoln, Edward Everett, was one of the most popular orators of his day. He spoke for two hours. Yet Everett admitted to Lincoln, “I wish that I could flatter myself that I had come as near to the central idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.” In spite of Lincoln’s disclaimer that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,” his brief speech continues to echo in the American memory. Where did you first hear a line from the Gettysburg Address?