Abraham Lincoln’s Speech “Gettysburg Address”

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In the speech “The Gettysburg Address,” Abraham Lincoln’s purpose is to unite the North and the South after the bloody battle of Gettysburg in which many Union soldiers lost their lives. Abraham Lincoln refers to events from American history and uses logical reasoning to support his cause of restoring the Union and ending the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln convincingly uses allusions to the founding fathers and values to remind his audience of the principles upon which this nation was founded. He makes references to the fathers of this country, such as George Washington and others, who built this new nation. On page 539, Lincoln begins: “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.” Lincoln alludes to the principles of the Constitution, especially the notions that all men are created free and equal, a choice that speaks to uniting the nation and abolishing slavery. In addition, the choice of words in “fourscore” alludes to dialogue from the Bible, which may make his argument more persuasive to a Christian audience. Overall, he understands the values that his audience may hold dear and seeks to spark their patriotism and empathy.

Lincoln also uses rhetorical devices in the The Gettysburg Address to appeal to his audience. One rhetorical device he uses is Antimetabole, in which the same statement is made at the beginning and at the end to bring the speaker’s ideas full circle. To drive his points home, Lincoln begins and concludes his speech with references to the U.S. Constitution. The final lines motivate listeners to ensure “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” In this manner, Lincoln goes beyond the stakes of the single battle of Gettysburg to contest the fate of the entire nation, which his audience surely cares about. Also, although the abolition of slavery is a vital point, Lincoln understands that he should stress even more universal issues, such as the country’s future.

In his masterful speech, The Gettysburg Address, Lincoln uses allusion, evidence from history, and rhetorical devices to persuade the nation to unite and stop the Civil War. Lincoln knows his audience shares the values of liberty and equality, and so he makes these the center of his emotional argument. He also uses references to historical documents to make his speech more authoritative and rally the nation to defend its founding principles.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Speech “Gettysburg Address”. (2021, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/abraham-lincolns-speech-gettysburg-address/

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