27 Dec 2022


Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: Full Text and Analysis

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 863

Pages: 3

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Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg Address is considered one of the most elegant expressions of modern English. There are different words that Lincoln used in the statement that are addressed in this paper. The first word is “proposition,” which Lincoln uses in the speech to emphasize the principle of equality among human beings (Holland, 2013). According to the word, concerning the occasion that was undergoing, Lincoln uses the term proposition as a synonym to test as he tries to put a question in the mind of Americans about their dedication on the principle of equality. Lincoln question the commitment America’s were willing to put in the doctrine of Declaration of Independent and how as the country they will be able to remain dedicated to the truth that had created the equality among human beings. Therefore, the word “proposition” used by Lincoln was to bring out the meaning of the equality testing that would be facing American people in the future. 

In his speech, Lincoln said that “we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground” (Cappa, 2011). The meaning of the word consecrate as used by Lincoln in the speech is to declare something holy, and the meaning of hollow-ground is holy ground. In Lincoln speech, he claims that there is no need of declaring the ground holy since the men that fought and shed their blood both the living and the dead at the war that occurred there have already consecrated the ground far more above the people’s power to add or detract it. The sacrifice that was made by the people who fought and died at the battlefield was a greater act that Lincoln considers as something above any other actions that could be done at that time, or ever, hence performing soil ordaining where they died would not symbolize the great sacrifice they already made. According to Lincoln, the blood that was split on the battlefield was more than enough to bless the soil. Therefore, declaring the soil holy would not be considered as doing a great honor for those that lost their lives on the battlefield. Rather, Lincoln suggested that the best way to honor those that sacrificed their lives in the great battle should be done by through holding their heroic actin in the hearts and minds of all Americans. 

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At Gettysburg address, Lincoln speech lasted for two minutes. There are several reasons why Lincoln kept his speech short. The first reason that Lincoln used to make the speech short is that it would be clear and precise so that each word is clearly remembered. The speech also was stuck to the point, and the context of speech covered all the needed elements to be addressed within a short time possible. Keeping the speech short meant that each word had a clear meaning and carried a strong thought that could be explained in a lengthy way. However, being precise and to the point was important at such function as Lincoln wanted to ensure each word carried a strong stand concerning the sacrifice that the soldiers made and how people of America should consider living in the future remembering such actions (Cappa, 2011). The rhetorical situation of Lincoln speech played a major significant in ensuring that the speech was short and detained enough to echo major points to the people. Lincoln uses the rhetorical situation to remind the people of the country’s founding principles of liberty and equality. The influence of rhetorical is demonstrated when Lincoln turns to recognize the fallen soldiers. The use of rhetorical creates a deep perspective that each word was deeply sinking into the minds of the audience. Also, the use of rhetorical makes Lincoln speech to follow a purposeful structure with each word within the speech providing an intended meaning and imagery. 

There is a correlation from Frederick Douglass “escape from slavery” work to the Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. The correlation is based on freedom, something that Douglass extensively mentions in his work. Douglass work escape from slavery illustrates how slavery was something bad that it was impossible to comprehend. The most individual might say that Lincoln did not mention the issue of slavery in his Gettysburg Address. However, Lincoln addressed the slavery issue in a different way rather than spouting his opinion or insulting the South. In his speech, Lincoln mentions the Nation’s Constitution and challenges the ideograph of liberty and equality of all men. The equality that Lincoln stresses in his speech covers the context of slaves as well as white men. Therefore, Lincoln uses the phrase to advocate for the end of slavery for the American people to start a new foundation where no man would be above another but under God and the Nation’s constitution. In Douglass “escape from slavery” work, Douglass acknowledges that “Prejudice against color is stronger North than South; it hangs around my neck like a heavyweight” (Klein, 2013). Douglass tries to stress that slavery exists both in the South and the North and either side can pretend to have abolished it when still it can be seen clearly in terms of a human living such as job and economic perspectives. 

In conclusion, the paper addresses how Lincoln speech at Gettysburg Address creates a significant impact on how people consider Lincoln one of the greatest political writers. The paper demonstrates how the use of rhetorical influenced the Lincoln speech and the reasons for him keeping the speech short. Lastly, the paper identifies the correlation about the end of slavery that exists between Lincoln Gettysburg address and Douglass work “escape from slavery.” 


Cappa, C. (2011). Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: A Dedication, A Consecration And A Challenge. Digital Commons. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1073&context=comssp 

Holland, M. (2018, November 19). Gettysburg and the New “Proposition” of American Politics. Public Discourse . Retrieved from https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/11/11230/ 

Klein, C. (2018, August 31). Frederick Douglass Escapes Slavery. HISTORY . Retrieved from https://www.history.com/news/frederick-douglass-escapes-slavery-175-years-ago 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: Full Text and Analysis.


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