The Significance of the Gettysburg Address

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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Abraham Lincoln has been a profound figure in history since the 1830s. One of his most famous speeches was the Gettysburg Address. This was a speech given by Lincoln that four months after the Battle at Gettysburg. Abraham’s main focus, in the beginning, was to unite the country. After his Gettysburg Address, it seemed his focus also involved freeing the slaves. Lincoln gave his short speech following Everett’s two-hour long speech.

Everett basically said Lincoln accomplished more in his two-minute speech than Everett’s two hour one. Lincoln addressed the fact that it was the duty of the citizens of the country to complete the unfinished work of preserving the nation. Lincoln wanted everyone to put in the effort to improving the country so that it shows no soldier died in vain. The speech motivated the Union soldiers to have something to fight for.

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Lincoln was a big fan of Henry Clay. He joined the Whig Party because of him. Later, Lincoln was a Republican. The Whig party was in favor of protective tariffs, a national banking system, and federal aid for internal improvements. They opposed Andrew Jackson. The Whigs wanted a strong federal government. The government’s job in Lincoln’s opinion was to help the people in the community with what they could not do themselves.

His journey began when he started out practicing law in Illinois. He became a very well-known lawyer. After that, he was in Congress for one term. He lost his re-election as senator. After his term in Congress, he was nominated for the Republican presidential candidate. He won and was the sixteenth president of the United States. His main goal in the American Civil War was to preserve the Union.

He is a significant person in American Politics for his perseverance and eventual success in abolition slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves in the rebel states. This was not something that was passed in Congress. This eventually led to the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment. President Lincoln practiced law even though he only had eighteen months of formal schooling. He was a brilliant man with a passion for equal rights.

Lincoln was a strong believer that a part of American Democracy was equal rights and opportunity. Lincoln was not a fan of slavery and opposed it greatly. Lincoln focused a lot on American moral meaning. Many historians and scholars would put Lincoln at the top of their list for the greatest president of all time.

An important goal of his was to preserve the Union. He was not afraid to break the rules and he changed the way the presidency worked because of that. He made the President supreme over congress and the courts. This did not last after his death. The Congress and courts overshadowed the White House in power and influence. Lincoln went through a great crisis during his presidency like the war going on and accomplished more than any other president in his term.

The Gettysburg Address is a speech that is still talked about today. It has been a major part of American Political Thought. The speech gave a dedication to the soldiers that lost their lives in the Battle of Gettysburg. In less than two minutes and about two-hundred words, Lincoln’s speech became one of the most memorable in American history. The first part of the speakers discussed how eighty-seven years before the battle, America made its own constitution.

Lincoln referenced that all men are created equal. This reference was towards slavery which was one of the reasons for the war. The Union had finally won a battle (Gettysburg) and Lincoln did not want people to forget why. In the conclusion of the speech, Lincoln talks about the struggle for unity and political freedom must be something that is continued to be sought after. The country’s goal is political democracy.

The purpose of the speech and the significance was to remind everyone why the soldiers sacrificed their lives. That is to have freedom, equality, and unity among all who lived in the United States of America. Lincoln talked about the sacrifices of the soldiers in the Civil war would lead to a “new birth of freedom” for America. Lincoln wanted to make a statement on the significance of the war. Lincoln’s speech showed the struggle to not only win the war but to have equality for all of humanity.

There are not any weaknesses in my opinion. This speech was so short and to the point, there is not much you can critique. This speech was one of the best speeches given by Lincoln and one of the most important in United States history. In the speech, Lincoln made a connection between the Union soldiers in Gettysburg and the Union’s founders from Philadelphia. He also emphasized the importance of the soldiers who sacrificed themselves in the war.

In a letter to critics of his emancipation policy, he talked about how people will not fight to free black people, but they (black people) will fight to free them. This was also mentioned in his speech when he talked about equality. A huge strength of this speech was what he accomplished and the significance of such a short speech. With the blood of the soldiers, they watered the American tree of liberty. He gave a positive outlook to a new beginning of the country. Liberty and equality were given a new birth.

I agree with the Gettysburg Address speech. I agree with it because It gave credit to the people who died in the battle. The speech also mentioned how important it is as a country to move forward in a positive way. It was a positive speech giving respect to those that died and provided a different outlook of the war and the country to those living. The victory meant more than winning, it meant a fresh start for the nation. Lincoln stressed the need for change. All eyes are on the unique country that is the United States of America. It is ironic in his speech he said people will not remember what was said that day, but that speech is commonly cited in many political writings and speeches.

Lincoln composed himself very well while giving the speech. He was well prepared and he was calm. He used repetition to get his point across in a clear and precise manner. His speech can be an example that not all of the speeches that people or presidents give have to be two hours long. Lincoln proved that you can have an effective speech in two minutes. The intended audience of the speech was the whole nation. He gave the speech in the first-person point of view to relate with the citizens that he too is a part of America, and he too is a part of the change. The speech is not only for the audience that was there in the moment, but the future generations to come.

Lincoln advocates the words of the Declaration of Independence and the intended mean that was to have equality for all. The liberty and equality test is indispensable. The government’s purpose is for the people. Lincoln explained how important the sacrifice of the soldiers was for the future of Americans. As long as the government and the people are looking out for each other’s best interest than the government, for the people, shall not perish.

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The press reacted to the speech depending on if they were democrat or republican. The speech was ignored in the beginning because Lincoln was not the main speaker, and Everett got most of the press. Lincoln was thought of as the great emancipator during this time. Lincoln received a lot of applause during his short speech. The speech has become more important as history has gone on. Lincoln’s speech format is birth, death, a new birth. It is similar to a eulogy. The birth is the founding of the country. The death is where they were at the time of the battle. The new birth is the time of the speech Lincoln gave for the future/new birth of the country.

Gettysburg was the turning point of the war because the south did not have the strength to continue. The speech and the battle can both represent a turning point for the nation as a whole. The foundation of the speech was the principles of America. The government would have the peoples best interest in mind in honor of the soldiers who died. President Lincoln is not only remembered for this amazing speech, but he was also, unfortunately, the first president to be assassinated. Even though his life was cut short, his legacy will live on forever. Martin Luther King Jr. has referenced this speech and so has JFK. The speech will be significant throughout history.

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The Significance of the Gettysburg Address. (2020, Mar 18). Retrieved from