Rebuilding the Government: United States History

Topics: Abraham Lincoln, American Civil War, Martin Luther King, Jr. Pages: 5 (2009 words) Published: December 4, 2013

Critical Essay One
Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president, was one of the most decorated commander-in-chiefs in American History, due to his never-ending push to mend our broken nation and move to the beginning. Nevertheless, many African Americans were forced to come to America to be sold into slavery in 1619. While the treatment of slaves was very unfair and, in many cases, inhumane, and was plagued with a lifetime of hard work and humiliation, after a little more than a hundred years President Lincoln took steps to not only voice his discomfort with slavery, but to do something about it. It is because of this discomfort that Abraham Lincoln notably became known as political figure that to end slavery. Four months after the bloody Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech that would go down in history as one of the most influential speeches in American History1. The famous speech given by President Lincoln, the “Gettysburg Address,” had a specific purpose. It also allowed Lincoln to have a profound effect on the American people as a whole, as well as urge each American to look at themselves critically and promote change. Because of this accomplishment, and many more, Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of America’s best presidents2. An Analysis “Gettysburg Address”

President Abraham Lincoln gave the speech, “the Gettysburg Address”, on November 19, 1863 at the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania3. There were two main purposes for him writing this speech: to consecrate the cemetery at Gettysburg and start to rebuild a torn country4. Although President Lincoln’s speech was very short, sweet, and straight to the point, it was full of vital information that would begin to reshape the American society. Lincoln starts his speech in a very unique by using the term “Four score and seven years ago, our founding fathers brought forth this continent…” 5. Lincoln acknowledges the founding fathers that had discovered America eighty-seven years prior to the day he gave the speech. Due to Lincoln’s wording, this phrase became one of the most well-known and celebrated parts of “the Gettysburg Address” Although Lincoln does not make a direct statement encouraging his audience to believe that he was talking about slavery, through the use of context clues, one can derive that this topic was definitely heavy on his heart while making his speech. Furthermore, one could argue that since slaves were not treated equally, Lincoln used the statement of supposed American equality to remind Americans of the true foundations that America was built upon. As Lincoln continues with his speech, he began to move on to the second reason for the speech: consecrating the cemetery at Gettysburg. He accomplished this by talking about how the battlegrounds at Gettysburg should be in honor of the thousands that had lost their lives for the citizens of America. Dedicating the battlegrounds to those that lose their lives was the start of how America would honor troops the fallen and the soldiers left behind. This was a sign of respect and appreciation for all of the troops that fought during this battle. One last profound statement that Lincoln mentions in his speech is that “the government of the people, by the people and for the people….7” Many presidents after Lincoln have quoted this part of “the Gettysburg Address,” but have fallen short, in some instances, of taking the statement as a blueprint for their presidency and using it to help them facilitate a more well-rounded country in which the government and the people of the country are on one accord. However, the statement was supposed to suggest that the government is a group of individuals that will stand by the American people and work for them for the better good of the country. While the speech had many technical terms and references to the government and political leaders of the...

Bibliography: Lexicon Universal Encyclopedia “Abraham Lincoln” (New York, NY: Lexicon Publications, 1984), 348-349
Lincoln, Abraham. "The Gettysburg Address." Gettysburg Address (January 7, 2009): 1. MAS Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed April 21, 2013)
Robert A. Divine et al., The American Story: Combined Volume, 5th ed. (Saddle River, NJ:Pearson Education, 2012)
Martin Luther King Jr. “I have A Dream Speech” (Primary Source Document) 1. Master File Complete, ESBCO host. Assessed April 17, 2013
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