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I Have a Dream and the Gettysburg Address

Apr 29, 2002 499 Words
Today I have chosen two speeches which are critical to the growth and development that our nation has gone through. Two men from different backgrounds and different times with one common goal, equality for all. The Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" and Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" both address the oppression of the African-Americans in their cultures. Though one hundred years and three wars divide the two documents, they draw astonishing parallels in they purposes and their techniques.

The battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the bloody war between the states in favor of the north. The battle over states rights, mainly the right to keep slaves, had finally peaked in July of 1863. Lincoln knew that he had to say something to inspire his troop to go on. He said that eighty-seven years ago, or as Lincoln affectionately refers to it, four score and seven, the four fathers were dedicated to the idea that all men were created equal, not just white, male landowners. He states that the Civil War tested weather a nation with the standards and principals of the United States would make it. He dedicates the ground that the solders died on the great battle which they had just fought and stated that the solders would not be buried, but instead left were they fell in battle. Lincoln then tell the troops not the let the brave men who died's deaths to have been in vein. He then says that the country shall have a new birth of freedom and that the United States shall not perish.

The march on Washington D.C. was a turning point in the passionate battle for civil rights. Years of segregations and mistreatment of the African-Americans had pushed them to the edge. King knew that he had to say something to calm his people and make sure that their demonstration did not turn into a violent one. He said a hundred years ago, or as King affectionately referred to it, five score ago, Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in a war to free the African-Americans from the tyranny of slavery. But despite the bloodshed they were still not free. King too touches on the fact that the fore fathers some one hundred and eighty seven years ago said that all men are created equal and entitled to liberty. King went on to say his people would not just go away and were not just blowing off steam. That these changes need to be made to keep hold of all that is America.

Beside for the parallel structure exhibited in both of these speeches, the are still fight for the same thing one hundred years apart. Though the African-Americans were free from the bondages of slavery they were not free from the bondages of racism. If it were not for these two speeches, the world would have not seen the importance of the African-Americans plight for equality.

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