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Theodore Larkin

Mary Grabar
Class Time 2:30
Summary and Analysis of Lincolns Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address is often cited as the most powerful
speech in American history. At first glance it appears Lincoln wrote the Address solely to
honor the bravery and valor of the fallen soldiers, during the Battle of Gettysburg. Yet,
the documents main purpose, though it acknowledges various differences between the
North and South, was to focus on addressing national unity as the best way to mend the
divisions of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln not only honorably bestows a farewell to
the soldiers who gave their lives for the livelihood of their country, but through his
rhetorical usage of juxtaposition, repetition, and parallelism, Lincoln unites his speech
together, and this in turn transfers into his central message of unity as a nation.
Lincoln began his declaration by emphasizing the fact that liberty and equality
were the core components for the emancipation of America. Lincoln urged the common
man and politician to consider the lives lost in the attempt to save the nation from
colonization, and pay tribute to the unsung heroes. He highlighted the fact that the
Gettysburg Address may be forgotten in time, but not the soldiers who willingly laid
down their lives. He urged the gathering to take up the cause and complete the task at
hand, to usher in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
At the beginning of his declaration Lincoln immediately established a sense of
ethos: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new

nation. By recalling the very foundation of our nation he pointed out the great historical
gravity of what he was about to say. Additionally the use of logos in the speech is very
brief but incredibly powerful. The phrase, The world will little note, nor long remember
what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here, is immediately followed by
a call to action. This is powerful example of logos because it effectively says that if we
didnt continue the cause that these men died for, then they will have died in vain. While
there are strong instances of both ethos and logos, Lincolns greatest appeal is pathos.
Throughout the piece he uses images of the struggle that the country was enduring, and
emphasized their historical gravity. Lincoln also managed to appeal to the crowds
patriotism in his statement, that government, of the people, by the people, for the people,
shall not perish from the earth. Lincoln found a way to use the power of rhetoric to make
real change in the world.
Abraham Lincoln redefined the Civil War through this speech. He propagated
the struggle as one meant to witness the rebirth of freedom and people's power over the
state. The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the civil war, making the town a
burial ground for over 7,500 soldiers. Its significance lies in the fact that Lincoln's
political sentiments re-addressed war effort and challenged the outcome that otherwise
seemed in favor of the 'copperheads'.
Abraham Lincoln was a proponent of peace and the end to the civil war. Lincoln
had effectively made the people aware of their rights and declared the government
answerable to the people. Through his clever use of rhetoric Lincoln unites his speech
together, and this in turn transfers into his central message of unity as a nation.