On this day in 1863 (that is, 7 score and 17 years ago), President Abraham Lincoln boards a train for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to deliver a short speech the following day. That speech became known as the Gettysburg Address, and is one of the most famous speeches in American history.
The brief, 272 word speech was delivered at the close of ceremonies dedicating that Civil War battlefield cemetery where so many soldiers, from both sides, had fallen.
Speaking to a crowd of over five thousand people, Lincoln hearkened to Our founding for Our American spirit and purpose.
Today, the words of the Gettysburg Address are engraved into a wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
This nation, under God
A full transcript follows:
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here, have, thus far, so nobly advanced. 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 here 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, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”