President Abraham Lincolns Gettysburg Address was given on November 19, 1863 during the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Four months earlier, the Union army defeated the Confederate forces in Gettysburg during the American Civil War.
One of the best known speeches in U.S. history, the address begins with the now iconic phrase, 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. The speech ends with Lincoln exhorting his listeners to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of a new birth of freedom to ensure that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. Lincoln was not the main speaker at the event. His two-minute speech followed a two-hour address by famed orator Edward Everett. But Lincolns wordswhich advocated equality and a representative governmentare the ones we remember today.
Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon 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 it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. 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 hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation 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.