The Gettysburg Address turns 150 Years Old

Washburn Review

“Four score and seven years ago…“ These six words mark the beginning of one of the most memorable verses of prose in American history. On November 19, 1863 Abraham Lincoln delivered a short 272 word speech to a crowd of 15,000 people at a pivotal point of the Civil War. This Nov. 19 marks the 150th Gettysburg address. 

A speech barely lasting two minutes transcended its length throughout the years and is still referenced to this day. The speech was given at a time when the nation was divided and close to the end of the war but still two years behind. That moment of time further marked the importance of those few words. 

What is commonly known as the Gettysburg Address is formally named as the Gettysburg Remarks. Lincoln was invited by the town of Gettysburg, Penn. and was asked to deliver a few words at the official dedication ceremony of Gettysburg’s National Cemetery, the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The remarks from Lincoln would be remembered more than the actual address proper. 

In Lincoln’s two minute speech, he was able to equally encompass the importance of honoring those who had fallen and those who were still placing themselves on the line. 

“… Our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the opposition that all men are created equal.” 

Lincoln’s words touched on the ideals of freedom and independence that the nation was founded on. The Union’s reason for fighting in the Civil War was for the preservation of freedom was for them. 

The most interesting part about his speech is that its text is still remembered. It is remembered because it still has meaning in it. Lincoln gave a sense of immediacy in those plain but powerful words. His words honored the ideas of freedom and those who had fallen to achieve it.