Gettysburg Address

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Agriculture and Industry was turning gloomy.  The U.S. was about to be torn apart by a Civil War. The House of Representatives was being split in half over the issue of slavery.  Anti- slavery rebels had an uprising, sealing the country’s fate.  Abraham Lincoln , the nation’s 16th president was being inaugurated during this time and felt that freedom and the pursuit of happiness should not be limited only to the white man.  The Southern states were at a disagreement with Lincoln because they profited from the slaves.  As a result, the Southern states seceded from the Union and made their own group called the Confederacy.  The Southern states had begun at a disadvantage already.  Almost all of the resources and technology were in the North.  The North even had 95% of the railroads.

On April 12, 1861, the Confederacy opened fire on Union soldiers at Fort Sumter.  Lincoln was already trying to stop slavery, but now he also had to ruin the Civil War between Americans and Americans.  This was the United States wasn’t it?  That was how it started.  Battles occurred regularly and they were often all small battles too, except for the one at Gettysburg.  Near the little town of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, the two armies fought for 3 days, but the North won.  This win did not come without a price though, 28,000 Southern and 23,000 Northern soldiers were either wounded or killed from the battle.  The people of Gettysburg decided to erect a monument for the soldiers that had died and they wanted Lincoln to make a speech.  Lincoln considered this and finally agreed to do so.  Everyone was excited because the President of the United States was going to be speaking.  The story is that Lincoln wrote his speech on the train to Gettysburg, but this was not so.  The speech was actually in his pocket, all written and done, except for a little lick.  Before going to bed that night, Lincoln read over his speech and gave it that lick that it needed.

At the cemetery, Lincoln climbed onto the platform with over 15,000 people trying to see him.  Edward Everett, a state governor, was to speak, but he was not there.  At last he came, making a great speech about the Battle of Gettysburg.  For one straight hour, he talked and talked and talked.  By the time, Mr. Everett was done and it was Lincoln’s turn to speak, two hours had passed.  Finally, Lincoln gave his speech to the people and told them not to give up on the idea of one, united country. His speech was only two minutes long, but it held great meaning and importance within.  He talked about the Civil War was really about, preserving the Union and to maintain a united country where the country’s rule ruled over the state’s rule.  He talked as if he were talking to the fallen soldiers and George Washington himself.  He wanted to keep America the way George Washington had made it, for the people and run by the people.  He was sure that nobody even remembered what he had said and said so in his speech.  He had no idea that what  he had said would be printed in newspapers the next morning.  After Lincoln had made his speech, Everett said that Lincoln had said far more than he had in two minutes than in two hours.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is still pertinent almost 150 years later.  Our founding fathers, such as George Washington, wanted peace, liberty, and equality to all men, but we still fight amongst each other.  They wanted the country of America to be a united nation in which every man treated each other equally and respectfully.  Peace, loyalty of one’s country and independence are all represented by Lincoln’s speech and are articulated throughout it.  Lincoln noted that the men that died at the Battle of Gettysburg did not die in vain and were honored for fighting for their country’s unity as a whole and for equality among men.  In his speech, Lincoln said that a new nation had been brought forth, one with equality and one where men did not enslave each other.  Further, in his speech, he said that he hoped that the democracy of America would continue to exist for many more generations.

Lincoln’s short speech made a strong impact to all that had witnessed and heard it.  The town of Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Address, and the Battle of Gettysburg are all reminders of who really saved America.  As Lincoln spoke that day, the town of Gettysburg is “a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.”


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