The Gettysburg Address


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: The Gettysburg Address.

Today marks 155 years since President Abraham Lincoln gave his famously brief address. It’s widely considered one of the greatest speeches in history.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Lincoln gave the speech only four months after the Battle of Gettysburg. The two sides suffered about 50,000 casualties.

So the president came to dedicate for the Union dead the Soldier’s National Cemetery.

There was no amplification, so Lincoln probably shouted his remarks to those within earshot.

REICHARD: So today, we’ll try to recreate the original conditions and let you hear what that speech might have sounded like. The voice actor is Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein.

KLEIN: 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 battlefield 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 cannot consecrate—we cannot 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.


(Photo/Library of Congress)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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