Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg Address

The disasters of the Army of the Potomac did not end with the removal of General McClellan, which took place in November, 1862, as a consequence of his persistent delay in pursuing Robert E. Lee's retreating army after the battle of Antietam. General Burnside, who succeeded him, suffered a humiliating defeat in his attack upon the entrenched position of the Confederates at Fredericksburg. General Hooker, who next took command, after opening his campaign by crossing the Rapidan in a march of extraordinary brilliancy, was defeated at Chancellorsville, in a battle where both sides lost severely, and then retired again north of the river. 

General Lee, leaving the National army on his right flank, crossed the Potomac, and Hooker having, at his own request, been relieved and succeeded by General Meade, the two armies met in a three days' Battle at Gettysburg, Pa., where General Lee sustained a decisive defeat, and was driven back into Virginia. His flight from Gettysburg began on the evening of the 4th of July, a day that in this year doubled its luster as a historic anniversary. For on this day Vicksburg, the most important Confederate stronghold in the west, surrendered to General Grant. He had spent the early months of 1863 in successive attempts to take that fortress, all of which had failed; but on the last day of April he crossed the river at Grand Gulf, and within a few days fought the successful battles of Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, and the Big Black river, and shut up the army of Pemberton in close siege in the city of Vicksburg, which he finally captured with about 30,000 men on the 4th of July.

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information

The reburial of Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield graves began on October 17 three months after the July 1–3, 1863, Battle of Gettysburg.  The committee for the National Cemetery Consecration invited President Lincoln for the November 19, 1863 writing  

"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." 

This document is the earliest known of the five drafts of the speech delivered by President Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at the dedication of a memorial cemetery on November 19, 1863, which it is now familiarly known as the "Gettysburg Address." Lincoln justified the Civil War carnage by equating it to an effort of US citizens to live up to "the proposition that 'all men are created equal.'" This document,  once owned by Lincoln's private secretary, John George Nicolay, is known to be the only draft of the Gettysburg Address.  The first page is on  Executive Mansion stationery indicating that it was drafted in Washington, D.C. The second page is written on "foolscap," which has caused many historians to conclude that  that Lincoln was not fully satisfied with the final paragraph of the Address and rewrote that passage in Gettysburg, on November 19, while staying at the home of Judge David Wills.

Abraham Lincoln took a train from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg on November 18.  On the railroad car the President rode with his secretary, John G. Nicolay, his assistant secretary, John Hay, the three members of his Cabinet members William Seward, John Usher and Montgomery Blair. John Hay recalled that the President stated that he felt weak on the train while John Nicolay, on the morning of November 19, notes that Lincoln mentioned to him  that he was dizzy. Hay noted that during the speech Lincoln's face had 'a ghastly color' and that he was 'sad, mournful, almost haggard.' 

The program organized for that day by Wills and his committee included:

  • Music, by Birgfield's Band
  • Prayer, by Reverend T.H. Stockton, D.D.
  • Music, by the Marine Band
  • Oration, by Hon. Edward Everett
  • Music, Hymn composed by B.B. French, Esq.
  • Dedicatory Remarks, by the President of the United States
  • Dirge, sung by Choir selected for the occasion
  • Benediction, by Reverend H.L. Baugher, D.D 

 There are slightly differing versions of Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" and the one that is here given is a literal transcript of the speech as he afterward wrote it out for a fair in Baltimore : 

Abraham Lincoln. "Hay Draft" of the Gettysburg Address, 1863. Manuscript.
Page one. John Hay Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

"Fourscore 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. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow--this ground. 

Abraham Lincoln. "Hay Draft" of the Gettysburg Address, 1863. Manuscript. 
Page two. John Hay Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion --that we here highly resolve 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."
The speech that President Abraham Lincoln delivered at the dedication of the National cemetery on the battlefield of Gettysburg,  November 19th, 1863, was at once recognized as the philosophy in brief of the whole great struggle, and has already become classic. 

The most notable part of Lincoln's speech was its ending " 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."  The origin of this phrase dates back to Chief Justice John Marshall's opinion in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), when he  stated: 

The government of the Union, then (whatever may be the influence of this fact on the case), is, emphatically and truly, a government of the people. In form, and in substance, it emanates from them. Its powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. Newspaper, The New York Times, November 20, 1863. “we cannot dedicate--we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow--this ground.”A rare first day of publication newspaper, with Lincoln’s timeless speech incorporating American ideals as justification for the Civil War. The Gettysburg Address is on the front page and this original issue also includes Edward Everett’s speech along with a report on the ceremonies.

11 years later Senator Daniel Webster, in a January 26, 1830 speech before the United States Senate, described the federal government as:

made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people. 

Finally, abolitionist minister Theodore Parker, of Massachusetts reported used this phrase in one of his speeches: 

Democracy is direct self-government, over all the people, for all the people, by all the people.

Who was the first U.S. President?

By: Stanley Yavneh Klos

  • First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief;
  • Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 8th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief; 
  • Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People  was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.
Capitals of the United States and Colonies of America

Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
September 27, 1777
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
October 6, 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present

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