Dedication And Respect: An Essay Analyzing The Syntax Of The Gettysburg Address

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In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln’s persuasive respect reflect his respect to those who died at the Battle of Gettysburg but in doing so, he attempts to persuade Americans to finish the fight in dedication to those who have died trying. With this speech, Lincoln shows his respect to those who gave their lives at the battlefield of Gettysburg, but also uses the speech as an attempt to unify the Union in a common cause that applies to all Americans.

Lincoln moves from a series of repetition, to a staccato of thoughts, and finally to ideas that are linked together. In the beginning, the sentences all begin with “we” until a point wherein from which there are no reappearances of the word in the speech at all. Lincoln’s usage of the word “we” in the beginning shows the importance that everyone at the time had to view themselves as Americans, not as just the North or the South. Also “we” might have been used by Lincoln to lift morale and unify the Union. In the middle, Lincoln begins to use a large amount of commas which gradually decreases with a total of 17 commas throughout the speech. These commas, when read, give a more poetic feel and rhythm to the speech in comparison to if the commas were not there. Commas also allow for separate thoughts to be connected in a sentence. In the end, dashes begin to appear until the speech ends with six dashes in the entire speech. The dashes give a pause when spoken; Lincoln might have chosen to use dashes to make the speech more appealing than a plain, boring, continuous speech. In closing, Lincoln’s use of repetition, commas, and dashes help complement the persuasive and respectful tone of the speech.

One should also note especially that in the Gettysburg Address, there are three sections. The first associates with the past, Lincoln talks about the Founding Fathers to set up the rest of the speech and also to show the importance of the matter. The second associates with the present, especially with Lincoln using the word “Now” and everything stated in this section is in present tense. The third associates with the future, which becomes obvious due to the statements of what “we” can do and what “we” are obligated to do.

There is a legend that Lincoln wrote this on the back of an envolope while on the train to Gettysburg. Although this is not true, the brilliance and genius in this speech is not fully realized until much later after the speech is given. People who heard Lincoln give this speech did not know what to think of it, after the preceeding speaker spoke for hours, and Lincoln only speaking for two minutes; Lincoln was even critiziced for the address; the speech is only recognized for its greatness, several decades after it had been given. Nevertheless, the Gettysburg Address is brilliant.


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