Lincoln’s Legacy: Honoring the Union through Hope and Unity
“Lincoln honors the union dead and reminds the listeners of the purpose of the soldier’s sacrifices, which were: equality, freedom, and national unity. The last lines of Lincoln’s speech stood out to me the most while I was reading it. These lines read, “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” (Lincoln 1). Lincoln is declaring that the people need to work together to make sure that the soldiers who risked their lives for the countries’ freedom did not die for nothing. He is expressing his hopes for America’s continued existence as the founding fathers had originally imagined it. Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” is filled with encouragement for Americans to strive towards freedom and unity in a time where all hope was lost for many.
These lines from the “Gettysburg Address” are significant to the representation of early America. They show that people were forced to fight for their freedom and equality. Prior to reading Lincoln’s speech, I was already aware the hardships early American’s faced when it came to their freedom. This text confirms my thoughts on how American’s lived centuries ago. Early Americans were not granted freedom easily. During this time, people were not treated equally. The way they looked, their race, their gender, and their status affected the way they were treated. People were given restrictions on what they could say and do based on what was deemed right by the society. It was mentioned in class that people from early America would find that American’s in modern society have it easy due to all the freedom we are granted today. I completely agree that we have more freedom than people did back then. We all are allowed to voice our opinions and make our own decisions. However, just like in early America, there are restrictions placed on our freedom. We must be cautious with our choices because the effects of our actions can be perilous. Although freedom was granted to Americans in 1776, people continued to face challenges when it came to be treated equally for centuries. Lincoln shares that Americans must join together and fight for their freedom.
How it works
Two themes that I found evident in this passage from Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” is the themes of hope and bravery in early America. Lincoln is uplifting and motivating people to fight for their rights in a moment when they were hopeless. He is reminding them that the soldiers who died in the American Civil War were fighting not only for their freedom, but for all of America’s. He is persuading them to be courageous and to continue to fight for equality. This text reminded me of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In King’s speech, he references the beliefs of the Founding Fathers, just like Lincoln did in his speech. They both discuss the Founding Fathers desires for America to be a land of freedom where all men are created equal. King and Lincoln’s speeches both consist of their dreams of equality for all. I find it interesting that these two best-known speeches in American history were delivered exactly one hundred years apart from each other. It is also intriguing that King delivered his speech at the Lincoln memorial in Washington, D.C. I believe that this shows that the two speeches correspond greatly with each other. Both of these influential men talk about freedom and equality for all in their powerful speeches.”