The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place in Pennsylvania in 1863, was a turning point of the Civil War. In that bloody three-day battle, Union forces prevented Confederate forces from moving north, thus confining the war mainly to the South. The battle left at least 51,000 soldiers dead, wounded , or missing.
On November 19, 1863, part of the battlefield was dedicated as a military cemetery. President Abraham Lincoln was asked to make some remarks at the dedication. Although very brief, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is considered one of the greatest speeches by a U.S. political leader. It is notable especially for its vision of American democracy.
After You Read
Answer the following questions in complete sentences.
1. What two American ideals seem most important to Abraham Lincoln? Do you agree with him? Explain.
2. What challenges does Lincoln propose for the future? How is honoring the dead connected to that challenge?
3. Find two examples of refrains in Lincoln’s speech. What ideas is he trying to emphasize in each case?
4. Describe in a sentence or two what you think the theme, or message, of the Gettysburg Address is.