Transcription of the Gettysburg AddressAddress delivered at the dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg.

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.

Abraham Lincoln.

November 19, 1863.

Abraham Lincoln is proof that genius can be entirely self taught: with no formal education, Lincoln read law, and practiced law; he read the great writers of the English language, from Chaucer to Shakespeare, from Washington Irving to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and it shows in his writing. How succinct, how poignant, how precise his words are in the Gettysburg address; the economy of words, the depth of meaning, sincerity, honesty; he had an incredible talent for the written word! Both inaugural speeches are also masterpieces; the second shows how his genius and craft evolved during the four moving years of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln is my favorite American President, and through his vision of what America should be, unified, one, without the institution of slavery, equal, made America what it now is. No assassin's bullet can take him away from us. To quote his friend Stanton, "He now belongs to the Ages". --James Zaworski, 2009

Posted by James Zaworski on January 5,2009 | 10:39 AM