The Gettysburg Address is a very well-known speech in the history of the United States of America. The speech was uttered on the 19th of November 1863 by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. During this time, the country was experiencing the civil war. Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This was four and half month after the Confederacy army was defeated by those of the Union at the Battle of Gettysburg (Burgan 12).
The main reason of writing the address was to pay tribute to the Confederate soldiers, who for their bravery, gave their live to protect what they felt, was good or right. It is argued that the speech was first drafted by Robert Mickelson and later was modified by Abraham Lincoln. Based on this version, Lincoln revised the speech to add more emphasis on condemning the Union soldiers. The Union soldiers were accused of pursuing socialist ideals.
The Gettysburg Address was well crafted and came after several other speeches during the day. It has been regarded as one of the most significant and powerful speeches in the American history. In a space of about two minutes, the president invoked the principles of human equality as enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Moreover, he redefined the war as a fight, not only a fight for the Union, but he described it as a new beginning in the journey towards total emancipation and freedom for the U.S. citizens. The aim would be to liberate all citizens and ensure true democracy and equality for all the people.
Lincoln stated his address by making a reference to the American Revolution of 1776 by using what has become an iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago" (Burgan 11).
By making a reference to this event, the president was apt to point out the founding principles of the U.S in the context of the Civil War. Indeed, the president used this opportunity to consecrate the cemetery at Gettysburg. In addition, the moment provided an opportunity for Lincoln to exhort his countrymen on the need to ensure the survival of those who truly championed democratic ideals.
However, despite the prominent place that the speech has come to occupy, the exact wording or phrases used by the president have become a borne of contention. There are several manuscripts that provide conflicting accounts of the exact words used by the president. Irrespective of the disagreements, the main focus of the address is clear. The president stressed the need to for harmony the early settlers and Native Americans in the early years. He emphasized the need for liberty and equality as the foundation for the emancipation of the American people. He therefore urged the people to shun divisive tendencies to safe the nation and pay respect to the fallen heroes (Hossell 24).
In summary, the Gettysburg Address reminds the listeners of the founding of the American nations as the year 1776. The address also brings out the most fundamental document of the American history which is the declaration of independence. The most important thing in the speech was the reminder that all people were created equal, and there is no one who should feel superior to the others. In addition, the speech tried to show that the death of the soldiers on the battlefield at Gettysburg was a preservation of the American nation and that the death of these soldiers should lead all the citizens in American to a better future by preserving the nation and bringing an end to the war.