Abraham Lincoln is consistently considered one of the most important Presidents to ever serve the United States. It was during his term that he was charged with seeing the country through the Civil War, the battle that pitted Americans against each other in a fight to see which side of opinions would direct the nation. The Gettysburg Address has come to be known as one of the most prominent addresses ever given by a president as Mr. Lincoln was talking to those in attendance who came to the dedication service which was meant to turn the land where the Battle of Gettysburg occurred into a monument of sorts. Instead, what occurred is Lincoln giving the most important speech of his time that not only gave honor to those who died, but also helped shape the purpose of the bloody war.
Lincoln knew the importance of having a unified country and the importance of keeping the North unified in their effort against the Confederate South. In his speech he talks about the men who gave their lives during the Battle of Gettysburg and how they were giving their life for something that was much bigger than each of them. This battle was about so many different factors between the North and the South; however President Lincoln understood that it must be fought in order to obtain the true freedom that the United States wanted to maintain. For example, his quote, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,” points towards the belief that he knew this fight meant much more than freeing the slaves of the South or the disproportionate areas of wealth between the two warring factions. This fight meant so much more than that and with this speech President Lincoln wanted to make sure everyone in attendance knew that purpose.
In my opinion, the entire third paragraph is a testament to the parallelism that President Lincoln used during this speech to motivate the crowd towards the Union’s goals. He knew that the Civil War was grossly detested and the idea of Americans fighting against Americans was not popular at any time. However, he used this moment to keep those in attendance motivated towards a goal that was greater than any single individual. He repeatedly referred to the idea that the men who died at that location had already consecrated the area with their deaths and had done so in a way that those standing there were unable to match. These individuals died to protect the idea of freedom that the Union was working to progress during the Civil War and President Lincoln used this speech to present that fact. “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 –“With words such as these, Abraham Lincoln instilled the pretense that fighting and dying for freedom was the most that these individuals could give to the war effort.
In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln also did a fantastic job comparing the people who were in attendance to those who had died during the war effort. He praised those that had fought and died for the idea of freedom, for example he called them “brave” multiple times throughout the speech. The individuals that fought and died were given the highest praise. At the same time, he never took away from those who were alive and in attendance of the speech; instead he challenged them to not forget what occurred. “The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.” It is very apparent that one of the purposes of this speech was to praise the soldiers that had fought in the battle and looking at examples such as this, Lincoln did a strong job singing their praise.
In the time of the Civil War, keeping the morale high during battle was an important factor in victory. Unlike today, were we sit thousands of miles away from the battlefields of Afghanistan or other areas of the Middle East; Americans were given a front row seat to the violence that was the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln knew that he had to keep this country unified throughout this way and the Gettysburg Address was a great effort to reach such a goal. In three paragraphs he delivered one of the most important speeches in the history of our country and one that may be credited with keeping us a free country throughout history.