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The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
08-23-2012, 11:28 AM
Post: #1
The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
I would be interested in hearing from members what they think was the meaning of the Gettysburg Address, both then, now and in the future.

Robert Brugler

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08-23-2012, 11:32 AM (This post was last modified: 08-23-2012 11:33 AM by Gene C.)
Post: #2
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
How the times have changed.
Lincoln said a lot with a few words.
Now politicians say nothing with a lot of words.

(Robert, you have an interesting web site)

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-23-2012, 11:48 AM
Post: #3
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
For me it has several meanings but one that stands out is that Lincoln had announced a "new birth of freedom." What was the United States of America up to that point was gone and something new had begun. That "something new" was that slavery would be over and America would be closer to the ideals of freedom as expressed in the Declaration.

Bill Nash
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08-23-2012, 11:49 AM
Post: #4
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Very succinct Bill, and very correct, in my opinion.

Best
Rob

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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08-24-2012, 06:37 PM
Post: #5
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
I think that Bill has summed it up pretty well. I will further add that Lincoln realized that what was going on at that time would influence the state of affairs for generations.

Craig
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08-26-2012, 06:41 AM
Post: #6
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
I’m not an English native speaker but I hope can express myself properly:

Lincoln refers to the founding era of the American nation, links the battel/ the War to the revolutionary war and its ideology. He quotes the first sentence of the Declaration of Independence and underlines that the founding fathers had not fulfilled the principle of equality. It left a stain and weakened the republic which still was an extremely young and fragile experiment. Critics doubted that such great territories as Northern America could be ruled successfully by republicanism. The French republican equivalent had been failed and sectionalism in Europe caused conflict after conflict. In the Gettysburg address Lincoln states that a nation only can long endure when the flaw of inequality and sectionalism will be erased. Only by this achievement the American republican nation will be strong and exemplary to the world. Lincolns argumentation makes the Civil War a sequel to the revolutionary war and last chapter of the founding era.
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08-26-2012, 06:49 AM
Post: #7
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
(08-26-2012 06:41 AM)Claudine Wrote:  In the Gettysburg address Lincoln states that a nation only can long endure when the flaw of inequality and sectionalism will be erased.

And did the Black population and free slaves ever really get that equality, north or south? I think that's a moot point. They might have been freed technically, but were they ever embraced fully and integrated into the society that freed them?

‘I’ve danced at Abraham Lincoln’s birthday bash... I’ve peaked.’
Leigh Boswell - The Open Doorway.
http://earthkandi.blogspot.co.uk/
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08-26-2012, 07:26 AM
Post: #8
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Claudine: you stated it quite well! Maddie: your point is well taken. The end of slavery in America was but one step-a HUGE step in the progression of freedom. Martin Luther King's work continued the progress. Long way to go!

Bill Nash
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08-26-2012, 07:51 AM (This post was last modified: 08-26-2012 07:52 AM by Claudine.)
Post: #9
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
(08-26-2012 06:49 AM)MaddieM Wrote:  
(08-26-2012 06:41 AM)Claudine Wrote:  In the Gettysburg address Lincoln states that a nation only can long endure when the flaw of inequality and sectionalism will be erased.

And did the Black population and free slaves ever really get that equality, north or south? I think that's a moot point. They might have been freed technically, but were they ever embraced fully and integrated into the society that freed them?

Of course, the realization after the war was another story. Equality remains fragile, which every democratic society has to accomplish or defend. In the Gettysburg Address Lincoln didn't give a political program, he simply reminded his fellow citizens on the ideological principles the United States were established on. Those principles are expressed as promises to the people.
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08-26-2012, 08:03 AM
Post: #10
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
(08-26-2012 07:51 AM)Claudine Wrote:  
(08-26-2012 06:49 AM)MaddieM Wrote:  
(08-26-2012 06:41 AM)Claudine Wrote:  In the Gettysburg address Lincoln states that a nation only can long endure when the flaw of inequality and sectionalism will be erased.

And did the Black population and free slaves ever really get that equality, north or south? I think that's a moot point. They might have been freed technically, but were they ever embraced fully and integrated into the society that freed them?

Of course, the realization after the war was another story. Equality remains fragile, which every democratic society has to accomplish or defend. In the Gettysburg Address Lincoln didn't give a political program, he simply reminded his fellow citizens on the ideological principles the United States were established on. Those principles are expressed as promises to the people.

idealogies that cost thousands of people their lives.

‘I’ve danced at Abraham Lincoln’s birthday bash... I’ve peaked.’
Leigh Boswell - The Open Doorway.
http://earthkandi.blogspot.co.uk/
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08-26-2012, 08:26 AM (This post was last modified: 08-26-2012 08:30 AM by Gene C.)
Post: #11
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Idealogies cost thousands of people their lives, but what is the cost if we have no ideals?

If you have ever read the book of Judges, you read of a period of chaos and turmoil. The reason for this is summed up in the last passage of the book 21:25, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit." The book tells what happens to a people when they loose direction, purpose, ideals, and reject the source of their moral direction (God).

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-26-2012, 09:50 AM
Post: #12
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
Everyone has made excellent points. I would just suggest that perhaps no civilization will ever reach the perfect ideal of equality? I'm not suggesting that we should not attempt to reach it, just that it is a Utopian principle that may not be within reach.

Don't we also recognize that Lincoln himself was more intent on preserving the Union than in obtaining equality until well into the beginning of the Civil War?
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08-26-2012, 10:21 AM
Post: #13
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
@L Verge: You are right. Lincolns most important goal was to preserve the Union. He used the ideals of the founding fathers for this purpose. Of course, ideals can hardly be achieved. But people need something to believe in, to strive for.

In my opinion Lincoln addressed all soldiers, no matter what side the soldier fought for, what kind of ethnic background the soldier came from, or if he was born in the US or had just immigrated. Enlightenment principles as equality were principles everone could identify with. I mean many immigrants went from ship almost directly into the Union army. What did they know about the conflict between North and South?! (I'm exaggeratting a bit, I know.) Lincoln needed to find a language to address all and make them fight on.
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08-26-2012, 10:21 AM
Post: #14
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
(08-26-2012 09:50 AM)L Verge Wrote:  Everyone has made excellent points. I would just suggest that perhaps no civilization will ever reach the perfect ideal of equality? I'm not suggesting that we should not attempt to reach it, just that it is a Utopian principle that may not be within reach.

Don't we also recognize that Lincoln himself was more intent on preserving the Union than in obtaining equality until well into the beginning of the Civil War?

I may be completely barking up the wrong tree..but I can't help thinking that all those lives lost were a heavy price to pay for ending slavery. Surely there could have been some other way, less hostile and more negotiative?

‘I’ve danced at Abraham Lincoln’s birthday bash... I’ve peaked.’
Leigh Boswell - The Open Doorway.
http://earthkandi.blogspot.co.uk/
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08-26-2012, 10:27 AM
Post: #15
RE: The Meaning of the Gettysburg Address
The American Civil War was fought to promote Union, Freedom, and Equality. At least that is what one learns in public schools, and even colleges and universities. But that is only partially true. What the war really was all about was raw political power--about which white people would rule the United States. It was the successful attempt to take the political imperium from the Southern agrarian, slaveholding aristocracy that governed this nation until the most terrible of all American wars, and transfer it to the industrial, shipping magnates of the North, who have run it since. Which is one reason the war produced a reborn Union, but only a technical Freedom, and little Equality, legacies that haunt the United States even today.
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