click on the link above to go to the paraphrase and pictures of Lincoln
The underlined words are links that explain the meaning of the words....
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.
Four Score - a score is 20 so four score would be 80 years so "four score and seven years ago" would be 87 years.
Brought forth – to make -- to bring forward
Conceived - born in
Endure – last
Dedicate – commit to do something
Proposition - Proposal -- and idea that is set down in words
Fitting -- Right
Consecrate -- To make something sacred
Hallow -- To set apart - make special -- holy
Detract -- To take away from --
Nobly -- having high character standards
Perish -- to die
On Nov. 19, 1863 President Lincoln delivered this speech (oration) to dedicate the cemetery where thousands of soldiers were burried after the bloody battle of Gettysburg. He spoke for just two minutes. He spoke after a very famous orator(speech giver) Edward Everrett. Mr. Everrett spoke for two full hours, but the words we remember belonged to the president. Below is a paraphrase of that speech.
This picture is very grainy, but it shows President Lincoln with bare head in the center of the photo. On the left is his body guard. The picture was probably taken before Edward Everett's 2-hour long speech.
Lincoln had brought with him the first part of the speech, written in ink on White House stationery. He wrote the second page in pencil on lined paper before the dedication on November 19, 1863. Matching folds are still evident on the two pages in the Library of Congress indicating that it could have been the copy that eyewitnesses say Lincoln took from his coat pocket and read at the ceremony.
87 years ago our fathers made a new country. They planned a country where people were free and equal. Now the states are fighting among themselves to see if such a country can last.
We are gathered today on this battlefield to dedicate a part of it to be a cemetery. It is right that we should do this, but really it was already dedicated by the men who died here. No one will remember what we say here, but people will always remember what those soldiers did here.
It is the job of those of us still living to work to finish what these soldiers fought and died for. They gave everything including their lives for this cause, and we must not let them die without meaning. When we win this battle our country will be a stronger country where government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not disappear from our Earth.