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Remembering The Gettysburg Address, 150 Years Later

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Abraham Lincoln was the second person to speak on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. His speech lasted only two minutes but is still immediately recognizable to many 150 years later.

Below is a recording of the Gettysburg Address as performed by a well-known Lincoln impersonator, Richard “Fritz” Klein. It was graciously lent to us by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois.

There are five known copies of the speech in Lincoln’s handwriting, each with a slightly different text, and named for the people who first received them: Nicolay, Hay, Everett, Bancroft and Bliss. Two copies were written before delivering the speech; the remaining ones were produced months later. Each range from 268 to 272 words.

Below is the Bliss Copy of the Gettysburg Address:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on 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 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.

- abrahamlincolnonline.org

On Sunday the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum kicked off eight days of events related to the Gettysburg Address.  Get more information HERE.

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