19 November 1863, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA
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 battlefield 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 cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot 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.
….And to further clarify this two minute speech from President Abraham Lincoln, a quote from Heather Cox Richardson, 11/19/22, “Letters from an American“:
“The men who wrote the Declaration considered the “truths” they listed “self-evident”: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
But Lincoln had no such confidence. By his time, the idea that all men were created equal was a “proposition,” and Americans of his day were “engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
Standing near where so many men had died four months before, Lincoln honored “those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.” But he noted that those “brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated” the ground “far above our poor power to add or detract.”
Instead, “[i]t is for us the living,” Lincoln said, “to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” He urged the men and women in the audience to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”