Embarking Patriotic Immortality: Rhetorical Analysis of the Gettysburg Address

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Daniel Aubertine
Dr. Viera
10/11/2011
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Embarking Patriotic Immortality: Rhetorical Analysis of the Gettysburg Address

The Gettysburg address was given on the grounds of a historical battlefield in Gettysburg Pennsylvania during the American Civil War on November 19th, 1863 by the late President Abraham Lincoln. The brief, powerful speech that he delivered to fifteen to twenty thousand people is regarded as one of the greatest in American history. It is considered the turning point of the Civil War, helping preserve the union and keep America together. Lincoln’s famous war-time speech, given on the graves of fallen soldiers, uses remarkable pathos along with an astonishing endowment to the history of American speeches through diction and patriotic passion. Following the three-day bloodbath that occurred in the fields of Gettysburg Pennsylvania in early July, thousands of bloody corpses rotted in the summer’s scorching heat. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin appointed David Willis, a prominent Gettysburg lawyer, to oversee the project. An interstate commission was formed, money was raised, and seventeen acres of land at the battle site was purchased. The federal government provided the coffins. By November the cemetery was ready for dedication (Hay). The event was set-up so that orator Edward Everett would be the main speaker of the day. Lincoln sought to speak at this event because it would be a prime opportunity to boost the Union’s war efforts. Crowds of fifteen to twenty thousand citizens and soldiers gathered around the stage and listened to Everett speak for nearly two hours (Borade). Lincoln then rose and spoke for just under two minutes, and the crowd was speechless (Hay). Throughout the speech Lincoln uses the pathos to make the audience feel emotionally invested in the speech through guilt and courage. The audience is standing six feet above their fellow citizens who died in battle on their behalf, and to preserve the...
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