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The Gettysburg Address: Abraham Lincoln By Matthew Wright Personal History • Born February 12, 1809 in a one room log cabin in the state of Kentucky • On August the 4th 1834 Lincoln (24) is elected to the Illinois General Assembly On August the 3rd 1846 Lincoln is elected to the US House of Representatives as a member of the Whig Party …Continued Personal History • 1854 opposes the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act • 1857 Lincoln speaks against the Dred Scott decision • November the 6th Lincoln is elected as the 16th president of the US; and, he won the election over Stephen A. Douglas and John C. Breckenridge in so doing • January the 1st 1863 issues and ratifies the Emancipation Proclamation, thereby freeing all the slaves • November the 19th , 1863 delivers Gettysburg Address • Intended audience: for the present and future generations The Battle of Gettysburg • The actual battle lasted for two days from July 1- July 3, 1863 • Location was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in Adams County • Commanders were: for the Union Gen. George G. Meade, for the CSA Gen. Robert E. Lee • The armies were: for the Union the Army of the Potomac, and for the CSA the Army of Northern Virginia • The Army of the Potomac had 93,921 soldiers, and the Army of Northern Virginia had 71,699 soldiers • Casualties: Union suffered 23,055 (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded, 5,369 captured/missing; for, the CSA 22,231 (4,708 killed, 12,693 wounded, 5,830 captured/missing) • Result: the Union is victorious • Gettysburg incursion also halted the CSA’s invasion of the North, and is seen as the focal point of the war Main points • Lincoln advocates the words of the Declaration of Independence; and, Lincoln accentuated the Civil War as not just a fight to preserve the Union, but to bring equality to “all” of its citizens: “…conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” • Lincoln also advocated the notion that the test of equality and liberty is indispensable: “Now we are engaged in a great civil war testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” Main Points Continued… • Lincoln’s speech also praises the soldiers, and their deaths did not go in vain: “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here but it can never forget what they did here.” • Lincoln believed that present and future generations must take up the cause of defending the Union: “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that these honored dead shall not have died in vain…” • Lincoln advocates and espouses the writings of Supreme Court Justice John Marshall and the transcendental reverend Theodore Parker; for, they both believed that the Union is a government of, by, and for the people. Main Points Continued… • It is for this reason that Lincoln acknowledges the sacrifice, but explains why the struggle is important for future Americans to uphold and defend the Union: “…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.” Questions to Consider • Is the US a government of the people, or is it a government of the states? • What is the significance of the Gettysburg Address, and why has it had such an profound effect on the American way of life?
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