"Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address"
Online Professional Development for US history and American literature teachers
In a speech that lasted barely three minutes but that has since become a touchstone of American
democracy, Abraham Lincoln spoke at the site of a decisive battle in which nearly 8,000 Confederate and Union soldiers had been killed and more than 30,000 wounded. Why has the “Gettysburg Address” achieved almost scriptural status for American culture? What, in Lincoln’s view, was at stake in the battle and the larger war for which it proved to be the turning point? How can we account for the majesty and precision of Lincoln’s language? We will discuss these and other questions through a close reading of the speech and consideration of the context in which Lincoln delivered it.
Leader: Andrew Delbanco
Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities
Director of American Studies, Columbia University
National Humanities Center Fellow
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