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Gettysburg Address
12-01-2015, 03:44 PM
Post: #46
RE: Gettysburg Address
Galusha A. Grow spoke very highly of President Lincoln. He wrote:

"He never rubbed Congress the wrong way. He was masterful in diplomacy as in politics, and with the aid of this quality he brought members to see his way who the day before were looking in the opposite direction; a power he possessed beyond any man who has appeared in our public life and which was absolutely essential to his trying position. I often wondered what would have happened if Seward had beaten him in the convention. Seward was one of the wisest men in his generation, but Seward never understood the art of wise selection and handling of men. It is a question if he could have kept such a cabinet as Lincoln selected in harness two weeks without broken traces, cracked whiffletrees, and a general smash-up. But those on the ground knew how Lincoln managed them and made them do great work, although Chase and Cameron and later Stanton tried his masterful patience almost to the parting of the ways, and did it many times in the very days when he most needed their loyal sympathy and help. To work with them and through them and get the best out of them was much — far more than it was in Seward to have done.

I spent many hours with the President during the darkest days of the war. He remained always
the same fearless, brave man whose personality and calm, patient spirit were incomparable. I was with him often when he was receiving news of some great battle, and whether our side won or lost his great heart seemed to shudder at the slaughter of soldiers.

As I recall those hours, spent with our greatest President, "who stood alone, no ancestors, no fellows, no successors " [said Grow], I know why "a remembering world will never forget that on his sad and tragic face was deeply graved the divine patience of destiny. He spoke at times as no man spoke except the lowly Nazarene, and he clothed his words with justice and mercy."
Always simple, even in his joking moods never undignified, he made me feel completely at home in his presence. With such a beginning as he had to reach the heights that he did was miraculous. Born in a pitiful hovel, surrounded by squalor and want, he became the mightiest personality of his day — homely in body and divine in spirit."
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12-01-2015, 06:48 PM (This post was last modified: 12-01-2015 11:02 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #47
RE: Gettysburg Address
(12-01-2015 09:49 AM)L Verge Wrote:  And for all these years, I have considered the Gettysburg Address a beautiful piece of writing that could bring tears to my eyes at certain occasions. I'm not sure that I'm going to like this ongoing critique and analysis of its construction.
I feel the same!

BTW, it's "on this continent" in the Bancroft and the Bliss copy.
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07-19-2019, 02:23 PM
Post: #48
RE: Gettysburg Address
I came across this interesting article about the phrasing "four score and seven years ago" :

https://www.jewishpress.com/news/jewish-...019/07/19/

Any thoughts?
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07-19-2019, 03:58 PM
Post: #49
RE: Gettysburg Address
I always liked Bob Newhart's take on this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0s7lJ-NRVw

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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07-19-2019, 07:01 PM
Post: #50
RE: Gettysburg Address
Steve, I think the phrase "drawing a long bow" comes to mind when reading that article.
But ... but .... but. If Lincoln did borrow/ plagiarise (call it what you like) the phrase ... I guess the rabbi would have had just cause for claiming to have had some input to one of ("the", IMO) greatest speeches. (But then many others have also suggested that the Address has echoes of other great speeches. Example, Pericles' funeral oration as related in Thucydides.)

If he did use the phrase following reading the Rabbi's words ... It would tell me that Lincoln kept a wide grasp of texts and opinions. It would tell me that he was astute enough to recognise a powerful collection of words. It would tell me that he loved the way certain words came together to portray the exact quality he was seeking.

(That Newhart clip is pure gold, BTW , Gene)

“The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that” Robert Burns
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07-19-2019, 10:28 PM (This post was last modified: 07-19-2019 10:31 PM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #51
RE: Gettysburg Address
This actually isn't new. In 2014, historian Gary Philip Zola published a documentary history titled "We Called Him Rabbi Abraham" in which Zola reprinted Rabbi Sabato Morais' sermon. Here is what Zola writes:

What is genuinely intriguing about this document, beyond Morais's characteristic eloquence, is the first sentence of the third paragraph, where the rabbi remarks, "I am not indifferent, my dear friends! to the event, which four score and seven years ago, brought to this new work light and joy" (emphasis added). The following Friday, July 10, 1863, the Jewish Messenger, a Jewish newspaper published in New York, printed the entirety of Morais's July 4, 1863 address.
Most scholars agree that Lincoln's famous turn of phrase
"Four score and seven years ago" came from the King James Version of the Bible, with which he was so familiar, and wherein the phrase "three score and ten" appears numerous times. It is nevertheless fascinating to discover that Morais's use of "four score and seven years ago" is arrestingly identical to the immortal words Lincoln employed as he began the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. Is it possible that Lincoln had read Morais's sermon and made mental note of the rabbi's biblical rhetoric? This question has no definitive answer.

Zola notes that Rabbi Morais met Lincoln once, when he appeared before him asking for a pardon for a Jewish soldier. Morais was a strong admirer of Lincoln who gave a moving sermon after the assassination. However, to accept the possibility that Lincoln used this phrase or was influenced by Morais for the phrase is a massive stretch. For what reason would Lincoln have even read a Jewish newspaper published in New York at that time? While I have no evidence to show the number of Jewish newspapers in New York at the time (that weren't printed entirely in either Yiddish or Hebrew...the Jewish Messenger was printed in English, German, and Hebrew), I think the chances that this particular edition landed before Lincoln's eyes to be too astronomically high. An interestingly coincidence? Quite likely.

By the way, anyone who wants to look at the original newspaper can go to this link.

I would highly recommend Zola's book as one of those "odd duck" types of books on Lincoln that one otherwise might not have noticed given its specialized nature. I corresponded with Zola regarding the papers of Emanuel Hertz and he seemed to me to be a very nice person.

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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07-20-2019, 01:25 AM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2019 01:42 PM by Steve.)
Post: #52
RE: Gettysburg Address
My personal take is that it's more likely a coincidence that both Morais and Lincoln used the same phraseology. After all, Morais's speech was given on July 4, 1863 and Lincoln was consecrating the cemetery of the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to secure the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg the day before that July 4th anniversary. It seems unlikely Lincoln would have seen a copy of the speech unless it had been mailed to him.

In an interesting side note, after searching the Lincoln collected works, I did find out that a copy of a different speech and prayer delivered by Rabbi Morais at his synagogue in 1862 was sent to Lincoln that year:

https://books.google.com/books?id=Q4ysBX...se&f=false
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07-20-2019, 03:35 AM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2019 03:36 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #53
RE: Gettysburg Address
Steve, I cannot open your link but a lot was sent to Abraham Lincoln that likely only his secretaries read, if at all. I also think it way more likely he "coined" his words from the Bible as the Rhabbi did as the Bible has several times been his source for catching phrases in speeches. I don't think in those days he had time to dwell much on Jewish speeches and prayers.
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07-20-2019, 04:42 AM
Post: #54
RE: Gettysburg Address
(07-19-2019 10:28 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  Most scholars agree that Lincoln's famous turn of phrase "Four score and seven years ago" came from the King James Version of the Bible, with which he was so familiar, and wherein the phrase "three score and ten" appears numerous times.

Captain Mix, the commander, at one period, of the President's body-guard, was frequently invited to breakfast with the family at the "Soldiers' Home" residence. "Many times," said he, "have I listened to our most eloquent preachers, but never with the same feeling of awe and reverence, as when our Christian President, his arm around his son, with his deep, earnest tone, each morning read a chapter from the Bible."

-- F.B. Carpenter, Six Months At The White House, pages 261-62.

"So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history." -- Plutarch
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07-20-2019, 06:16 AM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2019 06:18 AM by Gene C.)
Post: #55
RE: Gettysburg Address
(07-19-2019 10:28 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  Most scholars agree that Lincoln's famous turn of phrase "Four score and seven years ago" came from the King James Version of the Bible, with which he was so familiar, and wherein the phrase "three score and ten" appears numerous times.

Psalm 90 verse 10, uses the term "four score"
"The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we fly away"

The entire psalm -
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?se...ersion=KJV

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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07-20-2019, 09:48 AM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2019 01:43 PM by Steve.)
Post: #56
RE: Gettysburg Address
Eva, I was trying to send a link to Lincoln's 1862 letter to Abraham Hart. See if this link works:

https://books.google.com/books?id=Q4ysBX...se&f=false

I've changed the link in the previous post to this one.
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07-21-2019, 09:42 AM
Post: #57
RE: Gettysburg Address
(07-19-2019 03:58 PM)Gene C Wrote:  I always liked Bob Newhart's take on this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0s7lJ-NRVw

From The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart-his first album!

Bill Nash
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02-18-2020, 07:31 AM
Post: #58
RE: Gettysburg Address
(11-17-2015 12:25 PM)Wild Bill Wrote:  The use of 1776 rather than 1787 is very important in Lincoln's mind as it refers to the Declaration of Independence and "all men are created equal" and his concept of a "New Birth of Freedom" being initiated through the Civil War. I would suggest that analyses of the Gettysburg Address "line by line" can be found in Garry Wills, "Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America" and Gabor Boritt, The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech that Nobody Knows."

After all, Lincoln and the Republicans were going to change the Constitution or 1787 by amending it after the war, rather than junking it as many thought necessary. See Harold M. Hyman, "A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution," especially his references to Major William Whiting's influential beliefs that the Constitution was adequate to the Civil War emergency if properly amended.

I love both of the books you mentioned (by Wills and Boritt). Highly recommend!

Bill Nash
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