Gettysburg Address

There are five known manuscript copied of the Gettysburg Address, each varying slightly in wording and punctuation. The version engraved on the south wall of the Lincoln Memorial is from what is know as the Bliss copy, so named after Colonel Alexander Bliss, publisher of Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors, written by his stepson, George Bancroft. Bancroft requested a handwritten copy of the Gettysburg Address for inclusion in his book, and the president obliged. The Bliss copy is the only version to which Lincoln affixed his signature, and because of the care in its preparation (including a title, the signature and date) it has become the standard version of the address and the source for most facsimile reproductions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

"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 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 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."

Last updated: April 29, 2021

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