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Class Year

2009

Abstract

It was simple: 272 words, woven together into an appropriate poem and meant to dedicate both a cemetery and a nation to a cause. Its words are now eternal; they are sacrosanct lines that have left an indelible mark on the foundation and ideals of America. When selecting a subtitle for his 1992 Pulitzer Prize winning volume Lincoln at Gettysburg, Garry Wills called the Gettysburg Address “the words that remade America.” On the other hand, the humble Lincoln, within his address, suggests that “the world will little note nor long remember what we say here.” Quite the contradiction: one, simple speech being unworthy of a mere thought from posterity, yet at the same time being the words that gave a nation “new birth.”

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