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My "150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address"
12-06-2013, 03:39 PM
Post: #49
RE: My "150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address"
Though being sensitive, and aware of people's emotions, was something that he did possess, and had an effect on him. So, I would bet that the experience had an impact on him, to the point, of including a change in his address.

David, you seem to be highly adept at research, if someone here doesn't know the answer, (with the members of this group, I'd be surprised if one did not.) and there is an actual answer, ie. something on record, you could certainly find it.

I thank you for your compliment.

If the paragphah was added, it was most likely done on the morning of Lincoln's address.

"It is not clear when and how Lincoln composed his Gettysburg Address. He told close friends like James Speed and Noah Brooks that he began composing it in Washington and finished it in Pennsylvania. John G. Nicolay, who accompanied the president to Gettysburg, testified that he saw him revise the address on the morning of its delivery. Nicolay emphatically denied that Lincoln composed or revised it on the train ride from Washington. That seems plausible, for the train jerked and bumped along so vigorously that writing was virtually impossible. (Professor Michael Burlingame, "Abraham Lincoln: A Life," Vol II, pages 569-70)

I recall from watching some of the video on the 150th anniversary of the event, that Lincoln read the address from two pages of different type paper. Perhaps the addition of a final paragraph necessitated a larger page upon which to write. Otherwise, he could have merely penciled in any last minute, minor revisions to his Washington draft.

One of the characteristics that has most impressed me about Lincoln is his willingness to accept well-reasoned suggestions. One prime example occurred with Lincoln's reading to his cabinet of his original draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, which he had intended to promulgate immediately. The circumstances were described in detail, in Lincoln's own words, by the "Emancipation Proclamation" painter Francis B. Carpenter.

"Various suggestions were offered. Secretary Chase wished the language stronger in reference to the arming of the blacks. Mr. Blair, after he came in, deprecated the policy, on the ground that it would cost the Administration the fall elections.

"Nothing, however, was offered that I had not already fully anticipated and settled in my own mind, until Secretary Seward spoke. He said in substance: 'Mr. President, I approve of the proclamation, but I question the expediency of its issue at this juncture. The depression of the public mind, consequent upon our repeated reverses, is so great that I fear the effect of so important a step. It may be viewed as the last measure of an exhausted government, a cry for help; the government stretching forth it hands to Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching forth her hands to the government,' His idea," said the President, "was that it would be considered our last shriek, on the retreat." (This was his precise expression.) "'Now, continued Mr. Seward, ' while I approve the measure, I suggest, sir, that you postpone its issue, until you can give it to the country supported by military success, instead of issuing it, as would be the case now, upon the greatest disasters of the war!'"

Mr. Lincoln continued: "The wisdom of the view of the Secretary of State struck me with very great force. It was an aspect of the case that, in all my thought upon the subject, I had entirel overlooked. The result was that I put the draft of the proclamation aside, as you do your sketch for a picture, waiting for a victory. From time to time I added or changed a line, touching it up here and there, anxiously watching the progress of events." ("The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln, Six Months at the White House, F.B. Carpenter (1879) pages 212.)

Returning to my original question, perhaps Lincoln thought that evening and/or in his sleep about this conversation with the old man on the train and determined the next morning that he should add to his address a paragraph about the necessity of preserving this government "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

In my opinion, it was this final paragraph that rendered President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address profound. In Professor Michael Burlingame's text of the Gettysburg Address (Vol II, pages 574), he noted only four [applause] interruptions to the speech, with the last occurring at the end of the next-to-last paragraph. The final paragraph of Lincoln's speech was not interrupted with applause, but rather ended with [Long-continued applause.]

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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