Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, Civil War, rhetoric


Ever since its delivery on 19 November 1863, Lincoln's now-iconic Gettysburg Address has become legend almost as much as Lincoln himself. Historians, political analysts, rhetoricians and fifth-graders have pored over the 272 words to glean insight into this granddaddy of all American speeches. It is possible to view the Address from many angles: some argue he was trying to gain the upper hand over the Confederacy on a moral basis; others argue that he suggested that the Declaration of Independence superseded the Constitution in authority. Other interpretations state that he insinuated the Civil War was being fought to protect the Union, that it was being fought for an oppressed race, or that it was for the liberty of the whole world.