The Gettysburg address written and read by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863 is one of the most famous and well-known speeches in history.
Gettysburg was the largest battle of the Civil War and since it was such a devastating and decisive battle people were under the impression that the president would have a lot to say about it.
This was especially true when it came to the fallen and wounded soldiers who fought so bravely for the Union during the battle.
President Lincoln instead decided to write a very short speech, if he had chosen to give a more lengthy speech it more than likely would never have been remembered as well as it is today.
This is the only known picture of Lincoln at Gettysburg
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 this 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. 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.
After Lincoln read the speech, the crowd was silent, only a few people clapped. It was disbelief at how quick and to the point the speech was.
Only lasting two minutes Lincoln was back in his seat before the crowd could even grasp what had occurred. The abruptness of this speech is why it is still remembered today.