Gettysburg Address: Forward


During the American civil war there was a great battle at Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania that led to a horrific three day slaughter and loss of life of both Union and Confederate forces beginning on the 1st of July, 1863. With the American public at this point, who were already tiring of the war, and the senseless bloodshed of their friends and neighbors on both sides, it was thought that the battle of Gettysburg would cause northerners to reject the continuation of the war and settle for a compromised peace. At this pivotal turning point, it fell to President Abraham Lincoln to define what the battle and the continued sacrifice was all about. The Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Lincoln on a Thursday afternoon 19th November, 1863, in a way helped to reinforce the constitution of the United States and the bill of rights as "evolving, living documents" by defining what the fighting and the sacrifice truly stood for. 


When one reads the Gettysburg Address and the fundamental documents that they support in this "experiment in democracy" called the United States of America, one tends to realize that they were not talking about an "exclusively American thing." Rather, they were talking about universal human aspirations that define a democracy far beyond the parameters of race, colour and religion. This is true whether you’re an American, a Canadian, an Afghan, Egyptian, Libyan, Iraqi, or a Syrian in the world's largest modern day open air concentration camp for many of its 17,000,000 citizens, or any other nationality throughout the world. These basics of freedom and democracy are completely "colour blind" to Nationality, Religion, culture or system of beliefs upon which the foundation of human civilization is anchored. When denied, it is inevitable that these basic human needs and aspirations only build up like a giant coiled spring waiting to be released or explode depending on how those in power govern fairly or not. In this case, the senseless slaughter of the American Civil war was the result, and serves as an example of what happens when these basic human needs and aspirations are denied anywhere on the planet that we all inhabit 


Gettysburg Address:


"Fourscore 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 cannot 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".