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Gettysburg Address: Find Out What You Need to Know

What to Know About the Gettysburg Address

Learn about the importance of the Gettysburg Address.

November 19 is the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The speech was 272 words in its entirety, but the short speech left a powerful impact. Delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, in front of a crowd of nearly 15,000 people.

The speech bridged between human rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence with the new era of freedom to come after the end of the Civil War. It was a defining moment in American history as the speech was a symbol of the preservation of the Union.

President Lincoln was invited to deliver remarks, which subsequently became known as the Gettysburg Address, at the official dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, on the site of one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the Civil War. Interestingly, he was not the featured orator that day.  His address would be remembered as one of the most important speeches in American history.

There are five known copies of the speech in Lincoln’s handwriting, each with a slightly different text, and named for the people who first received them: Nicolay, Hay, Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss. Two copies apparently were written before delivering the speech, one of which probably was the reading copy. The remaining ones were produced months later for soldier benefit events. Despite widely-circulated stories to the contrary, the president did not dash off a copy aboard a train to Gettysburg. Lincoln carefully prepared his major speeches in advance; his steady, even script in every manuscript is consistent with a firm writing surface, not the notoriously bumpy Civil War-era trains. Additional versions of the speech appeared in newspapers of the era, feeding modern-day confusion about the authoritative text.

The Gettysburg Address has withstood the test of time and is one of the most quoted speeches in American history.

Appreciate the American history. Celebrate our freedoms with The Maria Sanchez Show. Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.

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