A Man of Few Words: Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Adress

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To many, Abraham Lincoln is known as a man of few words. This thought may come from the fact that one of his most important speeches, the Gettysburg Address, also happened to be one of his shortest ever written. It is in fact one of best remembered short speeches given throughout history. In its entirety the passage consists of a meager 272 words. Lincoln is also known for the great trials and tribulations he faced throughout his short presidency, such as the American Civil War and more notably the Battle of Gettysburg, the very ground his speech was used to commemorate.

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 to a very poor and little known Kentucky family. When he was young, both his mother and several of his siblings died. Because of this, Abraham Lincoln was urged to find work to help support his family. Lincoln’s education became less and less important due to these added factors and schooling was pushed out to the picture for most of his childhood. His total formal education amounted to approximately 18 months of schooling. While he attempted to balance farm work, wood splitting, and shop keeping, he managed to teach himself many of the skills he would require for adulthood. Though it is believed that both of his parents, his father and step-mother, were “illiterate”, Lincoln took to reading like a fish to water. It is said that he would, “walk for miles to borrow a book.” At the age of 22, Lincoln decided to separate from his family and become independent. In this time he fought in the Black Hawk War, ran for state legislature, served as US Representative, and taught himself law and was admitted to the bar. In 1860 he ran for president and eventually won. During his presidency, he was faced with southern secession, which eventually led to the Civil War.

The American Civil War was centered on the idea of slavery. Lincoln wished to isolate and even end slavery through the words penned in the Declaration of Independence. The southern...
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