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Emme Deamont

8/25/11
Analysis of the Gettysburg Address
The Battle of Gettysburg on July 4th 1963 marked a great turning point in the Civil War; it
was important that President Abraham Lincoln honor the men that fought in this victorious
Union battle. The speech that President Lincoln delivered a few months afterward proves to be
one of the most memorable in history because of its power to unite the American people in the
midst of a dividing Civil War. His dedication speech revolves around his belief of the
fundamental conviction of the Constitution that, all men are created equal. To achieve his goal
of reminding the people of the value of the American Union, the purpose of the Civil War, and
the worth of all men, he uses powerful arguments and calculated diction to evoke patriotic
emotions that would motivate the people to live up to the original expectations of the
Constitution.
Lincoln begins his honorary speech with a reflective and commanding tone by
acknowledging the important mission of our founding fathers. His choice to allude to the
Declaration of Independence encouraged the audience to remember and to be dedicated to
preserving the foundation of our nation, specifically, liberty and equality. The allusion that
begins his speech places the focus upon the responsibility of the living rather than the deadon
how much was at stake rather than solely eulogizing the fallen men.
After introducing his larger focus, the principal of equality stated in the Constitution,
Lincoln acknowledged that the nation was engaged in a great Civil War Instead of merely
stating that, we are in a war, Lincoln uses the word engaged, subtly calling for the audiences
full attention. Furthermore, he intends to unite the audience and himself by consistently using the

word we, thus compelling them to join him in his belief that supporting the war means
supporting the foundation of the Union. He further emphasizes his purpose by testing their
resiliency to withstand the threat that could pull the Union apart. It is interesting that Lincoln
uses the word testing as if to set forth a challenge for the people, and testing if they will hold
fast to their beliefs, or let the nation be torn asunder. Ultimately, he saw the Civil War as an
indicator of whether or not that nationso conceived and so dedicated [could] long endure.
He poses this question for the people to rise up and assure the perseverance of self-government.
Additionally, as the speech continues, Lincoln uses anaphora by beginning many of his
statements in the same manner: We are met and We have come Through anaphora, he
emphasizes that we are here to commemorate the soldiers lost lives: that we must extol their
dying in hope that our nation may remain in the end. This emphasis is meant to deepen our
commitment to the cause of their death, which was now our responsibility. At the end of the
second paragraph, he ends in the same manner with we should do this. However, he did not
simply say, we should do this, but he added, at the end, It is also fitting and proper. This
statement in the speech, adds to the serious tone of that particular moment, showing that it was
appropriate to dedicate this land for these brave men.
Furthermore, in paragraph three of the speech, Lincoln directly stresses that the ceremony
held at Gettysburg that day was much larger than eulogizing the men that fought that battle. It
was about fulfilling our duty as a unified nation to follow in their footsteps. The first line is
Lincolns antithesis; rather than continuing with the idea that, we should do this, he uses
anaphora again and repeats, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this
ground. The purpose of his antithesis is to set up a contrast between what the people believe
they came to the dedication ceremony for, and the larger, underlying meaning of their meeting.

The occasion itself, which honored the brave men, was actually the least prominent part of his
speech. Lincolns repetition of dedicated and dedicate throughout his speech becomes clear
once this is realized. Dedicate is always associated with our nation and those who fought for it.
We were not just dedicating the battleground as a cemetery. We were, more importantly,
honoring the men that took action. Lincoln illustrates this contrast by juxtaposing sets of words:
living and dead, poor power, add or detract, little note, long remember, what we say
here, and what they did here. The orientation of these words enhances Lincolns point even
further, because he differentiates between our dedication and the soldiers dedication; we were
defending our freedom with our words, while they defended it with their blood. By dedicating a
ground for them, we were saying these men are important, but the men physically displayed that
our nation is important. It is because actions are so much stronger than words that those who
struggled became models to the people of our nation. And this is truly what caused the people
to be dedicated to the great task remaining before [them].
After Lincoln hammered the idea of dedication into our minds, he replaced it with
devotion. We must take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full
measure of devotion This change in his repetition indicates an emotional shift in the speech,
because devotion involves a higher degree of passion. By doing this, Lincoln made an even
deeper connection between the people and the principles of the Constitution. He made us realize
that we should not just passively follow the actions of our honorable soldiers, but develop a
sense of love and loyalty for the protection of our nationfor our great task at hand. Much
like the beginning of his speech, Lincolns tone becomes demanding when he uses the words,
shall and shall not, to conclude his argument. The things that Lincoln said, we here highly
resolve[d] progressed from the honored men, to our nation, and finally to the earth. This last

line brings home his point that the new birth of freedom, for all of the people in this nation
under God, and the government of the people, by the people, for the people, was so much
larger than just the dedication of the battlefield of Gettysburg. He commanded that it was up to
the people to take a stand and ensure that our Constitutional government shall not perish from
the earth.