What was Abraham Lincoln's message in "The Gettysburg Address"? What point was he trying to make?

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Lena Share
Feb 19, 2017


Lincoln's message in his Gettysburg Address was that the living can honor the wartime dead not with a speech, but rather by continuing to fight for the ideas they gave their lives for.


Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was given during the dedication and consecration of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in 1863. The Civil War was still going on, and Lincoln centers his speech around this, referring to the founding of America "four score and seven years ago" before explaining that the war is a fight to preserve America's existence as a republic (and possibly the existence of America itself).

Lincoln explains that they (the living) cannot consecrate the ground of the battlefield with their words; rather, the dead have done that through their actions.

It is the job of the living to continue their fight, Lincoln explains, "that these dead shall not have died in vain" in their efforts to give America "a new birth of freedom" and so that the government "of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

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