Lincoln Memorial

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Abraham Lincoln: Gettysburg Address

Delivered November 19, 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Fourscore 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 battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us the living, we here be 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 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.

HISTORY

Beginning with the famous words "fourscore and seven years ago," the Gettysburg Address is the most celebrated speech given by President Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln delivered it November 19, 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania following the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) where between 46,000 and 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers were killed, wounded, captured or missing.

Lincoln was not the featured orator at the event—that was Edward Everett who spoke for over two hours. However, the president's two-minute, 272-word Gettysburg Address is arguably the most famous and most quoted in United States history.