150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 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.

You can read more about the different versions of the Gettysburg Address over at the Smithsonian and see copies of two versions (the Nicolay copy and the Hay draft) in Lincoln’s hand here.

Here is an excellent analysis of what the Gettysburg Address means for the US Constitution. And here’s a lovely analysis of the language of the Address.

Finally, here is the hat Abraham Lincoln wore on the night of his assassination.


“Better angels of our nature”

Today, 6 November, is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s election as President of the United States.

Here’s how he ended his first inaugural address:

We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

I should have remembered to post this on Tuesday this week, it being 1 January, and so being the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.

You can read the rest here: the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863.

Here’s a bit more info and context, and below is a picture of some guy showing a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation he has hanging on the wall of his office: