Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg Address

Overview
The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and is one of the most well-known speeches in United States history
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery
Gettysburg National Cemetery
The Gettysburg National Cemetery is located on Cemetery Hill in the Gettysburg Battlefield near the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery to the south...

 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is a borough that is the county seat, part of the Gettysburg Battlefield, and the eponym for the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The town hosts visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park and has 3 institutions of higher learning: Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg College, and...

, four and a half months after the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 armies defeated those of the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

.

Abraham Lincoln's carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history.
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Encyclopedia
The Gettysburg Address is a speech by U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and is one of the most well-known speeches in United States history
History of the United States
The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, although its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The...

. It was delivered by Lincoln during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery
Gettysburg National Cemetery
The Gettysburg National Cemetery is located on Cemetery Hill in the Gettysburg Battlefield near the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and adjacent to Evergreen Cemetery to the south...

 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg is a borough that is the county seat, part of the Gettysburg Battlefield, and the eponym for the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The town hosts visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park and has 3 institutions of higher learning: Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg College, and...

, four and a half months after the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 armies defeated those of the Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 at the Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

.

Abraham Lincoln's carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a struggle not merely for the Union
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, but as "a new birth of freedom
Freedom (political)
Political freedom is a central philosophy in Western history and political thought, and one of the most important features of democratic societies...

" that would bring true equality to all of its citizens, ensure that democracy would remain a viable form of government, and would also create a unified nation in which states' rights
States' rights
States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

 were no longer dominant.

Beginning with the now-iconic phrase "Four score
20 (number)
20 is the natural number following 19 and preceding 21. A group of twenty units may also be referred to as a score.-In mathematics:*20 is the basis for vigesimal number systems....

 and seven years ago," referring to the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 of 1776, Lincoln examined the founding principles of the United States in the context of the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, and used the ceremony at Gettysburg as an opportunity not only to consecrate the grounds of a cemetery, but also to exhort the listeners (and the nation) to ensure the survival of America's representative democracy, that the "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Despite the speech's prominent place in the history and popular culture of the United States, the exact wording of the speech is disputed. The five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address differ in a number of details and also differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech.



Background


Following the July 1–3, 1863, Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg , was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac...

, reburial of Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield
Gettysburg Battlefield
The Gettysburg Battlefield is the area of the July 1–3, 1863, military engagements of the Battle of Gettysburg within and around the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Locations of military engagements extend from the 4 acre site of the first shot & at on the west of the borough, to East...

 graves began on October 17. The committee for the November 19 Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg invited President Lincoln: "It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks." Lincoln's address followed the oration by Edward Everett
Edward Everett
Edward Everett was an American politician and educator from Massachusetts. Everett, a Whig, served as U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, Minister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State...

, who subsequently included a copy of the Gettysburg Address in his 1864 book about the event (Address of the Hon. Edward Everett At the Consecration of the National Cemetery At Gettysburg, 19th November 1863, with the Dedicatory Speech of President Lincoln, and the Other Exercises of the Occasion; Accompanied by An Account of the Origin of the Undertaking and of the Arrangement of the Cemetery Grounds, and by a Map of the Battle-field and a Plan of the Cemetery).

During the train trip from Washington, DC, to Gettysburg on 18 November, Lincoln remarked to John Hay
John Hay
John Milton Hay was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.-Early life:...

 that he felt weak. On the morning of 19th November, Lincoln mentioned to John Nicolay that he was dizzy. In the railroad car the President rode with his secretary, John G. Nicolay, his assistant secretary, John Hay, the three members of his Cabinet who accompanied him, William Seward, John Usher, and Montgomery Blair, several foreign officials and others.
Hay noted that during the speech Lincoln’s face had ‘a ghastly color’ and that he was ‘sad, mournful, almost haggard. After the speech, when Lincoln boarded the 6:30pm train for Washington, DC, he was feverish and weak, with a severe
headache. A protracted illness followed, which included a vesicular rash and was diagnosed as a mild case of smallpox. It thus seems highly likely that Lincoln was in the prodromal period of smallpox when he delivered the Gettysburg address
.

Text of Gettysburg Address



Shortly after Everett's well-received remarks, Lincoln spoke for but a few minutes. With a "few appropriate remarks", he was able to summarize the war in just ten sentences.

Despite the historical significance of Lincoln's speech, modern scholars disagree as to its exact wording, and contemporary transcriptions published in newspaper accounts of the event and even handwritten copies by Lincoln himself differ in their wording, punctuation, and structure. Of these versions, the Bliss version, written well after the speech as a favor for a friend, is viewed by many as the standard text. Its text differs, however, from the written versions prepared by Lincoln before and after his speech. It is the only version to which Lincoln affixed his signature, and the last he is known to have written.

Lincoln's sources


In Lincoln at Gettysburg, Garry Wills
Garry Wills
Garry Wills is a Pulitzer Prize-winning and prolific author, journalist, and historian, specializing in American politics, American political history and ideology and the Roman Catholic Church. Classically trained at a Jesuit high school and two universities, he is proficient in Greek and Latin...

 notes the parallels between Lincoln's speech and Pericles's Funeral Oration
Pericles' Funeral Oration
Pericles' Funeral Oration is a famous speech from Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War. The speech was delivered by Pericles, an eminent Athenian politician, at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War as a part of the annual public funeral for the war dead.-Background:It was an...

 during the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 as described by Thucydides
Thucydides
Thucydides was a Greek historian and author from Alimos. His History of the Peloponnesian War recounts the 5th century BC war between Sparta and Athens to the year 411 BC...

. (James McPherson notes this connection in his review of Wills's book. Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal is an American author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist. His third novel, The City and the Pillar , outraged mainstream critics as one of the first major American novels to feature unambiguous homosexuality...

 also draws attention to this link in a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 documentary about oration.) Pericles' speech, like Lincoln's, begins with an acknowledgment of revered predecessors: "I shall begin with our ancestors: it is both just and proper that they should have the honour of the first mention on an occasion like the present"; then praises the uniqueness of the State's commitment to democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

: "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all in their private differences"; honors the sacrifice of the slain, "Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonour, but met danger face to face"; and exhorts the living to continue the struggle: "You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue." In contrast, writer Adam Gopnik
Adam Gopnik
Adam Gopnik, is an American writer, essayist and commentator. He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker—to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism—and as the author of the essay collection Paris to the Moon, an account of five years that Gopnik, his wife...

, in The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

, notes that while Everett's Oration was explicitly neoclassical
Neoclassicism
Neoclassicism is the name given to Western movements in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that draw inspiration from the "classical" art and culture of Ancient Greece or Ancient Rome...

, referring directly to Marathon
Marathon
The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres , that is usually run as a road race...

 and Pericles
Pericles
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars...

, "Lincoln’s rhetoric is, instead, deliberately Biblical. (It is difficult to find a single obviously classical reference in all of his speeches.) Lincoln had mastered the sound of the King James Bible so completely that he could recast abstract issues of constitutional law in Biblical terms, making the proposition that Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 and New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 should be forever bound by a single post office sound like something right out of Genesis."

Several theories have been advanced by Lincoln scholars to explain the provenance of Lincoln's famous phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people." In a discussion "A more probable origin of a famous Lincoln phrase," in The American Monthly Review of Reviews, Albert Shaw credits a correspondent with pointing out the writings of William Herndon
William Herndon (lawyer)
William Henry Herndon was the law partner and biographer of Abraham Lincoln.-Biography:Born in Greensburg, Kentucky, Herndon and his family moved to Illinois in 1820, and they settled in Springfield when he was five. Herndon attended Illinois College from 1836-1837. In 1840 he married Mary J....

, Lincoln's law partner, who wrote in the 1888 work Abraham Lincoln: The True Story of A Great Life that he had brought to Lincoln some of the sermons of abolitionist minister Theodore Parker
Theodore Parker
Theodore Parker was an American Transcendentalist and reforming minister of the Unitarian church...

, of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, and that Lincoln was moved by Parker's use of this idea:
Craig R. Smith, in "Criticism of Political Rhetoric and Disciplinary Integrity", suggested Lincoln's view of the government as expressed in the Gettysburg Address was influenced by the noted speech of Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster was a leading American statesman and senator from Massachusetts during the period leading up to the Civil War. He first rose to regional prominence through his defense of New England shipping interests...

, the "Second Reply to Hayne"
Webster-Hayne debate
The Webster–Hayne debate was a famous debate in the U.S. between Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and Senator Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina that took place on January 19-27, 1830 regarding protectionist tariffs...

, in which Webster famously thundered "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!" Specifically, in this January 26, 1830 speech before the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, Webster described the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 as: "made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people," foreshadowing Lincoln's "government of the people, by the people, for the people." Webster also noted, "This government, Sir, is the independent offspring of the popular will. It is not the creature of State legislatures; nay, more, if the whole truth must be told, the people brought it into existence, established it, and have hitherto supported it, for the very purpose, amongst others, of imposing certain salutary restraints on State sovereignties."

Wills observed Lincoln's usage of the imagery of birth, life, and death in reference to a nation "brought forth," "conceived," and that shall not "perish." Others, including Allen C. Guelzo
Allen C. Guelzo
Allen Carl Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce III Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College, where he serves as Director of the Civil War Era Studies Program.Guelzo was born in Yokohama, Japan...

, the director of Civil War Era studies at Gettysburg College
Gettysburg College
Gettysburg College is a private four-year liberal arts college founded in 1832, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, United States, adjacent to the famous battlefield. Its athletic teams are nicknamed the Bullets. Gettysburg College has about 2,700 students, with roughly equal numbers of men and women...

 in Pennsylvania, suggested that Lincoln's formulation "four score and seven" was an allusion to the King James Version of the Bible's , in which man's lifespan is given as "threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years."

Five manuscripts


The five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address are each named for the associated person who received it from Lincoln. Lincoln gave a copy to each of his private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay
John Hay
John Milton Hay was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.-Early life:...

. Both of these drafts were written around the time of his November 19 address, while the other three copies of the address, the Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss copies, were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after November 19. In part because Lincoln provided a title and signed and dated the Bliss Copy, it has become the standard text of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

The two earliest drafts of the Address are associated with some confusion and controversy regarding their existence and provenance. Nicolay and Hay were appointed custodians of Lincoln's papers by Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln was an American lawyer and Secretary of War, and the first son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln...

 in 1874. After appearing in facsimile
Facsimile
A facsimile is a copy or reproduction of an old book, manuscript, map, art print, or other item of historical value that is as true to the original source as possible. It differs from other forms of reproduction by attempting to replicate the source as accurately as possible in terms of scale,...

 in an article written by John Nicolay in 1894, the Nicolay Copy was presumably among the papers passed to Hay by Nicolay's daughter Helen upon Nicolay's death in 1901. Robert Lincoln began a search for the original copy in 1908, which resulted in the discovery of a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address among the bound papers of John Hay—a copy now known as the "Hay Draft."

The Hay Draft differed from the version of the Gettysburg Address published by John Nicolay in 1894 in a number of significant ways: it was written on a different type of paper, had a different number of words per line and number of lines, and contained editorial revisions in Lincoln's hand.

Both the Hay and Nicolay copies of the Address are within the Library of Congress, encased in specially designed, temperature-controlled, sealed containers with argon
Argon
Argon is a chemical element represented by the symbol Ar. Argon has atomic number 18 and is the third element in group 18 of the periodic table . Argon is the third most common gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.93%, making it more common than carbon dioxide...

 gas in order to protect the documents from oxidation and continued deterioration.

Nicolay Copy


The Nicolay Copy is often called the "first draft" because it is believed to be the earliest copy that exists. Scholars disagree over whether the Nicolay Copy was actually the reading copy Lincoln held at Gettysburg on November 19. In an 1894 article that included a facsimile of this copy, Nicolay, who had become the custodian of Lincoln's papers, wrote that Lincoln had brought to Gettysburg the first part of the speech written in ink on Executive Mansion stationery, and that he had written the second page in pencil on lined paper before the dedication on November 19. Matching folds are still evident on the two pages, suggesting it could be the copy that eyewitnesses say Lincoln took from his coat pocket and read at the ceremony. Others believe that the delivery text has been lost, because some of the words and phrases of the Nicolay Copy do not match contemporary transcriptions of Lincoln's original speech. The words "under God", for example, are missing in this copy from the phrase "that this nation (under God) shall have a new birth of freedom..." In order for the Nicolay draft to have been the reading copy, either the contemporary transcriptions were inaccurate, or Lincoln would have had to depart from his written text in several instances. This copy of the Gettysburg Address apparently remained in John Nicolay's possession until his death in 1901, when it passed to his friend and colleague John Hay. It used to be on display as part of the American Treasures exhibition of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.

Hay Copy



The existence of the Hay Copy was first announced to the public in 1906, after the search for the "original manuscript" of the Address among the papers of John Hay brought it to light. Significantly, it differs somewhat from the manuscript of the Address described by John Hay in his article, and contains numerous omissions and inserts in Lincoln's own hand, including omissions critical to the basic meaning of the sentence, not simply words that would be added by Lincoln to strengthen or clarify their meaning. In this copy, as in the Nicolay Copy, the words "under God" are not present.

This version has been described as "the most inexplicable" of the drafts and is sometimes referred to as the "second draft." The "Hay Copy" was made either on the morning of the delivery of the Address, or shortly after Lincoln's return to Washington. Those that believe that it was completed on the morning of his address point to the fact that it contains certain phrases that are not in the first draft but are in the reports of the address as delivered and in subsequent copies made by Lincoln. It is probable, they conclude, that, as stated in the explanatory note accompanying the original copies of the first and second drafts in the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

, Lincoln held this second draft when he delivered the address. Lincoln eventually gave this copy to his other personal secretary, John Hay
John Hay
John Milton Hay was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.-Early life:...

, whose descendants donated both it and the Nicolay Copy to the Library of Congress in 1916.

Everett Copy


The Everett Copy, also known as the "Everett-Keyes Copy," was sent by President Lincoln to Edward Everett
Edward Everett
Edward Everett was an American politician and educator from Massachusetts. Everett, a Whig, served as U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, Minister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State...

 in early 1864, at Everett's request. Everett was collecting the speeches at the Gettysburg dedication into one bound volume to sell for the benefit of stricken soldiers at New York's Sanitary Commission Fair
United States Sanitary Commission
The United States Sanitary Commission was a private relief agency created by federal legislation on June 18, 1861, to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the American Civil War. It operated across the North, raised its own funds, and enlisted thousands of volunteers...

. The draft Lincoln sent became the third autograph copy, and is now in the possession of the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, where it is currently on display in the Treasures Gallery of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum documents the life of the 16th U.S. President, Abraham Lincoln, and the course of the American Civil War. Combining traditional scholarship with 21st century showmanship techniques, the popular museum continues to rank as one of the most visited...

.

Bancroft Copy


The Bancroft Copy of the Gettysburg Address was written out by President Lincoln in February 1864 at the request of George Bancroft
George Bancroft
George Bancroft was an American historian and statesman who was prominent in promoting secondary education both in his home state and at the national level. During his tenure as U.S. Secretary of the Navy, he established the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1845...

, the famed historian and former Secretary of the Navy
United States Secretary of the Navy
The Secretary of the Navy of the United States of America is the head of the Department of the Navy, a component organization of the Department of Defense...

 whose comprehensive ten volume History of the United States later led him to be known as the "father of American History." Bancroft planned to include this copy in Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors, which he planned to sell at a Soldiers' and Sailors' Sanitary Fair in Baltimore. As this fourth copy was written on both sides of the paper, it proved unusable for this purpose, and Bancroft was allowed to keep it. This manuscript is the only one accompanied both by a letter from Lincoln transmitting the manuscript and by the original envelope addressed and franked
Franking
Franking are any and all devices or markings such as postage stamps , printed or stamped impressions, codings, labels, manuscript writings , and/or any other authorized form of markings affixed or applied to mails to qualify them to be postally serviced.-Franking types and...

 by Lincoln. This copy remained in the Bancroft family for many years, was sold to various dealers and purchased by Nicholas and Marguerite Lilly Noyes, who donated the manuscript to Cornell in 1949. It is now held by the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

. It is the only one of the five copies to be privately owned.

Bliss Copy


Discovering that his fourth written copy could not be used, Lincoln then wrote a fifth draft, which was accepted for the purpose requested. The Bliss Copy, named for Colonel Alexander Bliss
Alexander Bliss
Alexander Bliss was assistant quartermaster general of the Union forces and a Colonel in the United States Army during the American Civil War. His father-in-law was George Bancroft, the eminent American historian....

, Bancroft's stepson and publisher of Autograph Leaves, is the only draft to which Lincoln affixed his signature. Lincoln is not known to have made any further copies of the Gettysburg Address. Because of the apparent care in its preparation, and in part because Lincoln provided a title and signed and dated this copy, it has become the standard version of the address and the source for most facsimile reproductions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It is the version that is inscribed on the South wall of the Lincoln Memorial

This draft is now displayed in the Lincoln Room of the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

, a gift of Oscar B. Cintas
Oscar B. Cintas
Oscar Benjamin Cintas, was a prominent sugar and railroad magnate who served as Cuba’s ambassador to the United States from 1932 until 1934....

, former Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

n Ambassador to the United States. Cintas, a wealthy collector of art and manuscripts, purchased the Bliss Copy at a public auction
Auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

 in 1949 for $54,000 ($ as of ), at that time the highest price ever paid for a document at public auction. Cintas' properties were claimed by the Castro government
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 after the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 in 1959, but Cintas, who died in 1957, willed the Gettysburg Address to the American people, provided it would be kept at the White House, where it was transferred in 1959.

Garry Wills concluded the Bliss Copy "is stylistically preferable to others in one significant way: Lincoln removed 'here' from 'that cause for which they (here) gave...' The seventh 'here' is in all other versions of the speech." Wills noted the fact that Lincoln "was still making such improvements," suggesting Lincoln was more concerned with a perfected text than with an 'original' one.

Others


Another contemporary source of the text is the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 dispatch, transcribed from the shorthand notes taken by reporter Joseph L. Gilbert. It also differs from the drafted text in a number of minor ways.

Contemporary sources and reaction


Eyewitness reports vary as to their view of Lincoln's performance. In 1931, the printed recollections of 87-year-old Mrs. Sarah A. Cooke Myers, who was 19 when she attended the ceremony, suggest a dignified silence followed Lincoln's speech: "I was close to the President and heard all of the Address, but it seemed short. Then there was an impressive silence like our Menallen Friends Meeting. There was no applause when he stopped speaking." According to historian Shelby Foote
Shelby Foote
Shelby Dade Foote, Jr. was an American historian and novelist who wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, a massive, three-volume history of the war. With geographic and cultural roots in the Mississippi Delta, Foote's life and writing paralleled the radical shift from the agrarian planter system of the...

, after Lincoln's presentation, the applause was delayed, scattered, and "barely polite." In contrast, Pennsylvania Governor Curtin maintained, "He pronounced that speech in a voice that all the multitude heard. The crowd was hushed into silence because the President stood before them...It was so Impressive! It was the common remark of everybody. Such a speech, as they said it was!" Reinterment of the bodies buried from field graves into the cemetery, which had begun within months of the battle, was less than half complete on the day of the ceremony.

In an oft-repeated legend, Lincoln is said to have turned to his bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon
Ward Hill Lamon
Ward Hill Lamon was a personal friend and self-appointed bodyguard of the American President Abraham Lincoln. Lamon was famously absent the night Lincoln was assassinated, having been sent by Lincoln to Richmond, Virginia....

 and remarked that his speech, like a bad plow, "won't scour." According to Garry Wills, this statement has no basis in fact and largely originates from the unreliable recollections of Lamon. In Garry Wills's view, " had done what he wanted to do ."

In a letter to Lincoln written the following day, Everett praised the President for his eloquent and concise speech, saying, "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes." Lincoln replied that he was glad to know the speech was not a "total failure".

Other public reaction to the speech was divided along partisan lines. The next day the Democratic-leaning Chicago Times
Chicago Times
The Chicago Times was a newspaper in Chicago from 1854 to 1895 when it merged with the Chicago Herald.The Times was founded in 1854, by James W. Sheahan, with the backing of Stephen Douglas, and was identified as a pro-slavery newspaper. In 1861, after the paper was purchased by Wilbur F...

is reputed to have written, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States." In contrast, the Republican-oriented New York Times was complimentary. The Springfield, Ma.
Springfield, Massachusetts
Springfield is the most populous city in Western New England, and the seat of Hampden County, Massachusetts, United States. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers; the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern...

 Republican newspaper printed the entire speech, calling it "a perfect gem" that was "deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma." The Republican predicted that Lincoln's brief remarks would "repay further study as the model speech".

Audio recollections


William R. Rathvon
William R. Rathvon
William Roedel Rathvon, CSB, , sometimes incorrectly referred to as William V. Rathvon or William V. Rathbone, is the only known eye-witness to Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, of the over 10,000 witnesses, to have left an audio recording of his impressions of that experience in 1938, one year...

 is the only known eyewitness of both Lincoln's arrival at Gettysburg and the address itself to have left an audio recording of his recollections. One year before his death in 1939, Rathvon's reminiscences were recorded on February 12, 1938 at the Boston studios of radio station WRUL, including his reading the address, itself, and a 78 rpm record was pressed. The title of the 78 record was "I Heard Lincoln That Day - William R. Rathvon, TR Productions." A copy wound up at National Public Radio (NPR) during a "Quest for Sound" project in 1999. NPR continues to air them around Lincoln's birthday.

Like most people that came to Gettysburg, the Rathvon family was aware that the president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was going to make some remarks. The family went to the town square where the procession was to form to go out to the cemetery that had not been completed yet. At the head of the procession rode Abraham Lincoln on a gray horse preceded by a military band that was the first the young boy had ever seen. Rathvon describes Lincoln as so tall and with such long legs that they went almost to the ground ; he also mentions the long eloquent speech given by Edward Everett
Edward Everett
Edward Everett was an American politician and educator from Massachusetts. Everett, a Whig, served as U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, Minister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State...

 of Massachusetts whom Rathvon accurately described as the "most finished orator of the day." Rathvon then goes on to describe how Lincoln stepped forward and "with a manner serious almost to sadness, gave his brief address." During the delivery, along with some other boys, young Rathvon wiggled his way forward through the crowd until he stood within 15 feet of Mr. Lincoln and looked up into what he described as Lincoln's "serious face." Rathvon recalls candidly that, although he listened "intently to every word the president uttered and heard it clearly," he explains, "boylike, I could not recall any of it afterwards." But he explains that if anyone said anything disparaging about "honest Abe," there would have been a "junior battle of Gettysburg." In the recording Rathvon speaks of Lincoln's speech allegorically "echoing through the hills."

Photographs


The only known and confirmed photograph of Lincoln at Gettysburg, taken by photographer David Bachrach
David Bachrach
David Bachrach was an American commercial photographer based in Baltimore, Maryland. He made contributions to the technical, artistic, and professional advancements in the field as well as being the founder of a photographic dynasty that became a unique institution in the United States...

 was identified in the Mathew Brady
Mathew Brady
Mathew B. Brady was one of the most celebrated 19th century American photographers, best known for his portraits of celebrities and his documentation of the American Civil War...

 collection of photographic plates in the National Archives and Records Administration
National Archives and Records Administration
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent agency of the United States government charged with preserving and documenting government and historical records and with increasing public access to those documents, which comprise the National Archives...

 in 1952. While Lincoln's speech was short and may have precluded multiple pictures of him while speaking, he and the other dignitaries sat for hours during the rest of the program. Given the length of Everett's speech and the length of time it took for 19th century photographers to get "set up" before taking a picture, it is quite plausible that the photographers were ill prepared for the brevity of Lincoln's remarks.

In 2006, Civil War enthusiast John Richter was credited with identifying two additional photographs in the Library of Congress collection that potentially show President Lincoln in the procession at Gettysburg.

Usage of "under God"


The words "under God" do not appear in the Nicolay and Hay drafts but are included in the three later copies (Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss). Accordingly, some skeptics maintain that Lincoln did not utter the words "under God" at Gettysburg. However, at least three reporters telegraphed the text of Lincoln's speech on the day the Address was given with the words "under God" included. Historian William E. Barton argues that:
The reporters present included Joseph Gilbert, from the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

; Charles Hale
Charles Hale
Charles Hale of Boston was a legislator in the Massachusetts state House and Senate intermittently between 1855 and 1877. He was house speaker in 1859. In the 1860s he lived in Cairo, Egypt, as the American consul-general...

, from the Boston Advertiser; John R. Young
John Russell Young
John Russell Young was an American journalist, author, diplomat, and the seventh Librarian of the United States Congress from 1897 to 1899.-Biography:...

 (who later became the Librarian of Congress), from the Philadelphia Press
Philadelphia Press
The Philadelphia Press is a defunct newspaper that was published from August 1, 1857 to October 1, 1920.The paper was founded by John W. Forney. Charles Emory Smith was editor and owned a stake in the paper from 1880 until his death in 1908...

; and reporters from the Cincinnati Commercial, New York Tribune, and New York Times. Charles Hale "had notebook and pencil in hand, [and] took down the slow-spoken words of the President". "He took down what he declared was the exact language of Lincoln's address, and his declaration was as good as the oath of a court stenographer. His associates confirmed his testimony, which was received, as it deserved to be at its face value." The most logical explanation is that Lincoln deviated from his prepared text and inserted the phrase when he spoke.

Legacy


The importance of the Gettysburg Address in the history of the United States is underscored by its enduring presence in American culture. In addition to its prominent place carved into a stone cella
Cella
A cella or naos , is the inner chamber of a temple in classical architecture, or a shop facing the street in domestic Roman architecture...

 on the south wall of the Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the main statue was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior...

 in Washington, D.C., the Gettysburg Address is frequently referred to in works of popular culture, with the implicit expectation that contemporary audiences will be familiar with Lincoln's words.

In the many generations that have passed since the Address, it has remained among the most famous speeches in American history, and is often taught in classes about history or civics. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is itself referenced in another of those famed orations, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

's "I Have a Dream
I Have a Dream
"I Have a Dream" is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination...

" speech. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963, King began with a reference to President Lincoln and his enduring words: "Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice."

Phrases from the Address are often used or referenced in other works. The current Constitution of France
Constitution of France
The current Constitution of France was adopted on 4 October 1958. It is typically called the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, and replaced that of the Fourth Republic dating from 1946. Charles de Gaulle was the main driving force in introducing the new constitution and inaugurating the Fifth...

 states that the principle of the Republic of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 is "gouvernement du peuple, par le peuple et pour le peuple" ("government of the people, by the people, and for the people,") a literal translation of Lincoln's words. Sun Yat-Sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

's "Three Principles of the People
Three Principles of the People
The Three Principles of the People, also translated as Three People's Principles, or collectively San-min Doctrine, is a political philosophy developed by Sun Yat-sen as part of a philosophy to make China a free, prosperous, and powerful nation...

" were inspired from that phrase as well. At the Sun Yat-Sen memorial in Taipei
Taipei
Taipei City is the capital of the Republic of China and the central city of the largest metropolitan area of Taiwan. Situated at the northern tip of the island, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River, and is about 25 km southwest of Keelung, its port on the Pacific Ocean...

, there is a statue of Sun Yat-Sen sitting in the same manner that a statue of Lincoln sits at the Lincoln Memorial. The aircraft carrier has as its ship's motto the phrase "shall not perish".

External links