The Greatest Speech   2 comments

It was the greatest speech ever given by an American President.

It surprised everyone with its brevity: only 272 words.

I learned it in school. Didn’t you?

It was delivered 4-1/2 months after the Battle of Gettysburg, and there are 5 known manuscript copies done in Lincoln’s own hand. The wording varies somewhat between the copies; the link below will get you to each of the 5 so you can compare them with what you memorized.

It is the greatest speech by an American President, and November 19 is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln delivering the speech.

Gettysburg Address - Bliss

Here’s the text from the Hay draft, or the so-called second draft of the speech that was written either the morning of the speech, or upon Lincoln’s return to Washington. Hay was the personal secretary of Lincoln, and he was given this copy by Lincoln:

Four score 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 here on a great battle field of that war. We are now have come to dedicate a portion of it as the a final resting place of 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 can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not 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 can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished ^work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. 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 the that cause for which they here gave 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 this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.


The 5 Original Copies

LA Times: 150 Years Later, Newspaper Prints A Gettysburg Redress

2 responses to “The Greatest Speech

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I’m also a big fan of his 2nd inaugural address.

  2. Pingback: Lincoln at Gettysburg |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.