“We highly resolve […] that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner commented on what is now considered the most famous speech by President Abraham Lincoln, what is universally known as “The Gettysburg Address.”
Considered perhaps the most important speech ever delivered on American soil, it was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated the armies of Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg.
Containing only 271 words, and taking less than 3 minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by our founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence, and positioned the Civil War as a struggle not only for the Union, but for “a new birth of freedom” that would deliver the promise of true equality to all of its citizens — creating a unified nation in which states’ rights were no longer dominant.
In his eulogy, Sumner called The Gettysburg Address a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, he remarked: “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”
Let’s resolve that we will always remember the battle and the speech, the war that started it, and that our honored 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.”
Call your Senators and your Elected Representive today, and remind them that the United States is a democracy “of the people, by the people, for the people,” and not an oligarchy of corporate interests, by corporate interests, and for corporate interests.
Of The People, By The People, For the People: The Gettysburg Address
“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 battle-field 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 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 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.”