Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address - Nation Under God

Lincoln's Gettysburg address coined the phrase "nation under God." Various drafts exist of the address, and the earlier ones do not have this phrase. This causes some to argue that the phrase was added after Lincoln returned to Washington (suggesting the words were encouraged by Secretary of War Stanton).

However, several reporters present for the speech telegraphed the text to their papers on the day the Address was given, and the words "under God" were included. The only source for the reporters was Lincoln's delivery of the speech.

Gettysburg Address and "Under God"

Here is the speech:

"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."

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