Monday, November 19, 2007
Story of the Day - Gettysburg Address
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
The Gettysburg Address is the most famous speech of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and one of the most quoted speeches in United States history. It was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated the Confederates at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg.
Abraham Lincoln's carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a struggle not merely for the Union, but as "a new birth of freedom" that would bring true equality to all of its citizens. It would also create a unified nation in which states' rights were no longer dominant, defined democracy in terms of government of the people, by the people, for the people, and defined republicanism in terms of freedom, equality and democracy.
Beginning with the now-iconic phrase "Four score and seven years ago," Lincoln referred to the events of the American Revolution and described the ceremony at Gettysburg as an opportunity not only to dedicate the grounds of a cemetery, but also to consecrate the living in the struggle to ensure that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Despite the speech's prominent place in the history and popular culture of the United States, the exact wording of the speech is disputed. The five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address differ in a number of details and also differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech.
On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave a short speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg and dedicating a national cemetery for fallen Union soldiers. Lincoln's speech is the most famous address ever given by an American President, and it is one of the most eloquent expressions of democratic ideals ever uttered. He wrote it in the White House, though he made a few changes on the train ride to Gettysburg.
He was preceded at the podium by the noted orator Edward Everett, who had spoken for nearly two hours. Lincoln's speech, by contrast, took only a few minutes. Lincoln observed, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” Although the crowd gave Lincoln only perfunctory applause, Everett was more appreciative. He told Lincoln, “My speech will soon be forgotten; yours never will be. How gladly would I exchange my hundred pages for your twenty lines.”
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war,” Lincoln said, testing whether “any nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, can long endure.” He urged Americans to resolve “that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” By emphasizing the equality of Americans, a value not mentioned even in the Constitution, Lincoln had provided a vision of the United States that could justify the carnage of the Civil War and would reshape the meaning of American politics for generations to follow.
The Gettysburg Address
Delivered at Gettysburg
on November 19, 1863
The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address
Stories, Legends and Myths
Did Lincoln ever own slaves?
No. “I have always hated slavery,” he wrote in 1858. He lived his entire adult life to the time he was elected president in Indiana or Illinois, both free states.
Did Lincoln write the Gettysburg Address on the back of an envelope?
No. Lincoln worked on the address both before and after his trip to Gettysburg from Washington, D.C. using official stationery for part of the speech. The train ride would have been too bumpy to do any writing.
Do the hands on the Lincoln Memorial spell out a message?
Not intentionally, although the hands do appear to be forming the signs for “A” and “L” in American Sign Language. According to the daughter of sculptor Daniel Chester French, this was a coincidence and not French’s intent. French modeled the hands from Leonard Volk’s casts of Lincoln’s hands, as well as casts of his own hands.
While French did not intend to use the hands to form letters, he was at least familiar with the concept of sign language, having previously sculpted a memorial to Dr. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, the founder of the nation’s first permanent public school for deaf students. Gallaudet’s son Edward Miner Gallaudet founded the college for deaf students now called Gallaudet University, for which President Lincoln signed the charter in 1864.
Did scientists raise Lincoln from the dead?
The Weekly World News of October 5, 1993 featured a headline story, “He’s kept alive for 95 seconds! Abraham Lincoln’s Corpse Revived.” After being injected with the miracle drug Revivitol, according to the story, Lincoln stirred and said “Gentlemen, where am I?” before again losing consciousness.
Of course, as those who follow the supermarket tabloids know, the Weekly World News make the National Enquirer look like The New York Times. It’s so silly that no one takes it seriously. The real significance of this story, for Lincoln students, is that it marks Lincoln’s significance as continuing icon in American popular culture, like Elvis or JFK.
Did Lincoln ever walk miles to return change to a store customer?
Probably. Most of what is known about Lincoln’s early life, including the brief time when he kept a store in New Salem, Illinois, is based on unreliable reminiscences written down many years later. Lincoln’s scrupulous honesty is beyond question, however, and if he ever accidentally overcharged one of his few customers, he would certainly have made every effort to pay the money back.
Did the young Lincoln do his homework writing with coal on the back of a shovel?
Yes, but not often. He usually had paper and pen for his schoolwork.
Was Lincoln’s corpse ever stolen?
Almost. From 1865 to 1871, his body lay first in a public receiving vault and then in a temporary vault in Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. After the construction of the Lincoln Tomb in 1871, his remains were transferred there. In 1876, however, an attempt was made to steal the body and hold it for ransom. The plot was not successful, and when the tomb was rebuilt thirty years later Lincoln's body was buried under many feet of concrete.
Did Lincoln ever fight a duel?
Almost. In 1842, Lincoln wrote a series of anonymous letters published in the Sangamo Journal, mocking prominent Democrat James Shields, the Illinois State Auditor. After Mary Todd (to whom Lincoln had been engaged the year before) and Julia Payne wrote a similar letter, Shields demanded that the editor reveal the identity of the author. Upon learning that Lincoln had written the letters, Shields challenged him to a duel. Lincoln, who was always awkward with women, mustered a rare show of gallantry and made no mention of Mary’s involvement in writing one of the letters.
Since Shields was the challenger, Lincoln had the privilege of naming the conditions for the contest. He proposed the ludicrous spectacle of a fight with “Cavalry broad swords of the largest size” while standing in a square ten feet wide and about twelve feet deep, which would put the much shorter Shields at a serious disadvantage. Lincoln may have hoped that the silliness (as well as the danger) of the proposed contest would bring Shields to his senses, but both men went ahead with their preparations for the duel until their seconds managed to arrange a peaceable settlement. Lincoln afterwards was embarrassed by the incident and rarely spoke of it.
Was “Dixie” really his favorite song?
Lincoln was not particularly musical, but when a band serenaded him in the White House at the end of the Civil War, he asked it to play “Dixie,” saying, “I have always thought ‘Dixie’ one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it... I now request the band to favor me with its performance.” (April 10, 1865)
Study: Lincoln Ill at Gettysburg Address
Report Says Abraham Lincoln Suffered Bad Case of Smallpox When He Delivered Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln has been dead for 142 years, but he still manages to make medical headlines, this time from doctors who say he had a bad case of smallpox when he delivered the Gettysburg Address.
Physicians in Baltimore said last week that Lincoln might have survived being shot if today's medical technology had existed in 1865. Last year, University of Minnesota researchers suggested that a genetic nerve disorder rather than the long-speculated Marfan syndrome might have caused his clunky gait.
"If you play doctor, it's difficult to shut down the diagnostic process" when reading about historical figures, said Dr. Armond Goldman, an immunology specialist and professor emeritus at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. He and a colleague "diagnosed" serious smallpox in Lincoln after scouring historical documents, biographies and old newspaper clippings.
Their report appears in May's Journal of Medical Biography.
"Lincoln is such a famous figure in American life that people are just automatically drawn to him," Goldman said.
Heart illness, eye problems and depression are among other ailments modern-day doctors have investigated in the 16th president. But smallpox is the one that might come as the biggest surprise to the general public, especially if Lincoln had it when he spoke at Gettysburg.
According to Goldman and co-author Dr. Frank Schmalstieg, Lincoln fell ill Nov. 18, the day before giving the speech in Pennsylvania. When Lincoln arrived at the battlefield to dedicate a cemetery for the fallen soldiers, he was weak, dizzy, and his face "had a ghastly color," according to the report.
On the train back to Washington that evening, Lincoln was feverish and had severe headaches. Then he developed back pains, exhaustion and a widespread scarlet rash that turned blister-like. A servant who tended to Lincoln during the three-week illness later developed smallpox and died in January 1864.
The smallpox theory isn't news to many historians, although some say documents suggest Lincoln had a mild form of the disease.
"In historians' minds, it really doesn't matter too much if he was suffering from the slightly milder case or more serious disease," said Kim Bauer, head of the Lincoln Heritage Project in Decatur. "It was still severe enough that people were still concerned."
Rodney Davis, a Lincoln historian at Illinois' Knox College, said people who don't read Lincoln biographies may not know about his smallpox, but "it's not anything that's ever been suppressed. It's just never been all that significant given the highlights of his career."
Citing an autobiography of J.M.T. Finney Jr., an early 20th century surgeon, the report says a physician summoned by Lincoln's personal doctor diagnosed a mild form of smallpox. Upon hearing the contagious diagnosis, the report says, Lincoln joked that while he was constantly hounded by people who wanted something from him, '"For once in my life as President, I find myself in a position to give everybody something!'"
The authors in the May journal argue that Lincoln's symptoms suggest it was instead full-blown smallpox, which was common at the time and killed many Civil War soldiers despite an early vaccine.
It is unclear if Lincoln was ever vaccinated, the authors wrote. There are few descriptions of his disease, and notes from his personal physician that might shed more light have not been found, they said.
If Lincoln had smallpox, it's unclear where he got it. Goldman and Schmalstieg suggest it might have been from Lincoln's 10-year-old son, Tad, who was bedridden with a feverish illness and rash around the same time. But that is speculation since details of what sickened Tad are not known, the authors said.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University who scanned the report and just finished reading a Lincoln biography, said he's skeptical that Lincoln had any form of smallpox.
"I find the argument entrancing, but I don't find it convincing," Schaffner said.
Lincoln's symptoms could have been chickenpox or scarlet fever, a strep infection that also can cause a blister-like rash, Schaffner said.
"Here we are in the 21st century and we're trying to know and understand and read language of physicians in the 1850s," Schaffner said.
Historic Gettysburg Photo May Contain Lincoln's Image
Abraham Lincoln photos are rare -- especially those from the day of the Gettysburg Address. For years, only one such photo was thought to exist, but now that may not be the case.
I think it's absolutely staggering to see something like this that was in a sense hidden in plain sight," said Lincoln author Harold Holzer.
Holzer thinks the image of a person in one of only two known photographs taken at Gettysburg on the day of Lincoln's address looks like Lincoln possibly arriving to the stage on horseback.
"To have the moment recorded minutes before he's about to give his greatest rhetorical triumph is very significant," said Holzer.
Last year, a Hanover man found the photo. It was on the Library of Congress' Web site all these years. The Center for Civil War Photography enhanced it.
Lincoln author Harold Holzer will show it publicly for the first time Saturday in 3-D on a big screen at the annual Lincoln Forum Conference in Gettysburg.
"When the photo is probably put on the screen, or whatever else Harold plans on doing, we're all just gonna go 'Oooooh!'" said Lincoln enthusiast Dave Walker.
For one thing it has not been confirmed that the photo actually shows Lincoln. Historians say one of Lincoln's good friends was at Gettysburg that day. He was a tall, bearded man who wore a top hat as well.
The mystery has Lincoln scholars and enthusiasts buzzing.
"It's exciting my goodness. It took a long time to see that. So we're all going to decide whether that's really Lincoln or some copycat," said history buff Darla Moe, of Sacramento.
"Either they're going to stand up as one and say, 'We've found the Holy Grail.' Or they're going to throw their chairs. We'll see," Holzer said.
The White House is not a home, but the Gettysburg farm, 81 miles away, more than fills the bill. Spreading below Seminary Ridge, steeped in the spent passion of a great battle, the farm's 496 acres are a haven where Dwight Eisenhower can peacefully convalesce only 25 minutes by air from the capital.
From the Gettysburg post office, Ike will direct the affairs (though not the panoply) of state—but he will spend as much time alone on the farm as he can. There, aside from watchful Secret Service men, only Mamie, Master Sergeant John Moaney (Ike's valet) and Mrs. Moaney will share his privacy. The farm remains the quiet refuge Ike envisioned in 1950 as his first permanent home.
Black Angus, White Fence. Then it was a tired, 189-acre dairy farm, worked for 30 years by Allen S. Redding. Sight unseen, Ike paid $23,000 for Redding's house and land. He split operating costs with famed Presidential Jester George E. Allen, who owns a nearby 80-acre farm, then left for Paris to command NATO. Until he returned to become President, the farm, its topsoil worn away in supporting Redding's 42 milch cows and heifers, was a losing proposition. Ike sold his share of the operation to Allen, who switched it to grassland cultivation and replaced the milch cows with Black Angus cattle. Allen employs retired Brigadier General Arthur Nevins, who served Ike as a World War II staff planner, to man age operations; work is done by Farmers Ivan Feaster and Dale Newman.
As President, Ike expanded his retreat to get more privacy, bought two more farms and two smaller plots that brought his property, now worth more than $250,000, to the battlefield's western edge. Using profits from his book, Crusade in Europe, he renovated the drafty, 100-year-old, nine-room house by adding two wings. It emerged as a 14-room air-conditioned mansion, surrounded by a whitewashed fence and sentry boxes at the gate for uniformed White House guards.
Putting to Pickett. Farmer Redding's original red brick house, now painted white, contains the dining room and a modernized version of the big, old-fashioned kitchen that delighted Mamie when she first saw it. In the new north wing living room is a white marble fireplace brought to the White House by President Pierce in 1854, junked by President Arthur in 1882 and tracked down through the Smithsonian Institution by White House aides, who secretly installed it at Gettysburg. Upstairs are six bedrooms and a studio in which Ike can paint as he looks out over the Blue Ridge. His other hobbies are served by a new putting green and a pond freshly stocked with bass.
In the new fieldstone southwing is Ike's home workshop. A small office contains a well-thumbed set of Winston Churchill's memoirs, a telephone directly connected to the White House, a portrait of Lincoln. Adjoining is Ike's beam-ceilinged study, a null room with a masculine air: soft leather lounge chairs, an old Dutch oven, a pine cabinet built from discarded White House timbers. On one wall is a reproduction of a cyclorama (TIME, July 5, 1954) of the Gettysburg battlefield, showing locations of men, guns and horses on July 3, 1863, when Pickett charged toward Cemetery Ridge, just over two miles from Ike's windowsill.
After Pioneering. Four miles northeast of Ike's new address (Route 10, Box 218 Gettysburg) is sleepy Gettysburg (pop. 7,046) and the little Presbyterian Church which Lincoln visited after he spoke. There Ike's presidential office, newly daubed a pale green, has been fashioned from a first-floor room at the post office, usually occupied by Town Postmaster Lawrence Oyler, who has moved into the mailroom. Ike's Sherman Adams and staff will work on the second floor, confining presidential business to the post office and respecting Ike's passion for privacy on the farm. Facilities for Cabinet and National Security Council meetings are at Ike's Catoctin Mountain retreat at Camp David, Md., 20 miles away.
Adams and staff will live at the 30-year-old Gettysburg Hotel, which has spent $20,000 converting an adjoining basketball court into a bright new press headquarters for 60 reporters. In the town's small Annie M. Warner Hospital, one room with an electric-lift bed has been set aside for Ike by his physician. Major General Howard Snyder, in the event of any emergency.
In these restful yet well-equipped surroundings near where one Nicholas Eisenhower, an ancestor of the President, established a farm in 1753, and one Captain Dwight Eisenhower commanded a World War I tank unit at Camp Colt, the President this week settled down to bringing himself and his Government back to the condition of vigor and motion in which he left for Denver long weeks ago.