The Gettysburg Address – the greatest speech of the American history
Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president of the United States of America. He saved the Union, which made it possible for him to free the Black Americans. But he did more than this.
Without him we probably would have had no reason to celebrate the bicentennial first of the Declaration of Independence and then of the Constitution. Abraham Lincoln was not a Freemason, but he possessed and displayed all the important qualities of Freemasonry: freedom, honesty, hope, charity, equality, and belief in God. His political philosophy was affected by Masonic ideals through the Masonic influence on the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. To mark the bicentennial of his birth, Walter Berns recalled the great man. Special thanks to Veronique Rodman, American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Communications, for recording and streaming the event.
David Berger, Editor & Publisher HIRAM7 REVIEW
Bradley Lecture by Walter Berns
American Enterprise Institute, Washington DC, February 9, 2009
Walter Berns is a professor emeritus at Georgetown University. Mr. Berns studies political philosophy, constitutional law, and legal issues. He has taught at the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, Cornell University, and Yale University. His government service includes membership on the National Council on the Humanities, the Council of Scholars in the Library of Congress, the Judicial Fellows Commission, and in 1983 he was the alternate United States representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. He has been a Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Fulbright Fellow. He is the author of many books and articles on American government and politics, including Democracy and the Constitution (AEI Press, 2006) and Making Patriots (University of Chicago Press, 2001).
On June 1, 1865, Senator Charles Sumner commented on what is now considered the most famous speech by President Abraham Lincoln. In his eulogy on the slain president, he called it a “monumental act.” He said Lincoln was mistaken that “the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” Rather, the Bostonian remarked, “The world noted at once what he said, and will never cease to remember it. The battle itself was less important than the speech.”
The Gettysburg Address
by President Abraham Lincoln
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 battle-field 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.