The Civil War, Day by Day

The Gettysburg Address


Lincoln Delivers Gettysburg Address

Although legend has it that Lincoln hastily scribbled the speech while traveling to Gettysburg, he had in fact meticulously composed the address in Washington, D.C. beforehand. Lincoln deliberately made it short and to the point, for he was not the main speaker at the dedication. That honor was given to orator and statesman Edward Everett, who thrilled the 15,000 spectators with a two-hour historical discourse on the Battle of Gettysburg.

After Everett left the podium to thunderous applause, Lincoln began his speech: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Of the brave men who sacrificed their lives in battle, he maintained that “these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, 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.” His words were met with polite but unenthusiastic applause, convincing Lincoln that the speech was a “flat failure.” Yet Everett was awed, insisting that Lincoln had said more in two minutes than he, himself, had said in two hours.





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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.