The Battle at Gettysburg was a the bloodiest 3 days of the civil war, lasting from July 1-3, 1863. Between 23,000-25,000 soldiers from the north were lost (over 3,000 died, 14,000 wounded, and 5,000 were captured), with roughly the same lost for the south. 4 months after this battle, on November 19th 1863, a ceremony was held to dedicate the Gettysburg cemetery, with 15,000 persons in attendees. The war was still going on and would continue for 2 more years. Many people don't know that Edward Everett was actually the main speaker, and spoke first for 2 hours. President Lincoln then gave a 2 minute speech that would become one of the most famous in history.
The full text reads:
"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."
Lincoln was giving a statement of new birth, saying that the nation coming out of the civil war would be different than the one going in. That we would be an indivisible nation based on freedom.
He listed 3 principles which are the foundation of my campaign:
- "Of the people" refers to the government's composition. It's referring to the fact that the government is made up of people who come from the people.
- "By the people" refers to who chooses those people who make up the government. This is our democracy.
- "For the people" indicates that the objective of the government is to improve common welfare. Our elected officials are there to serve the people.
154 years later, President Lincoln's words still ring true! We find ourselves in another civil war, not one fought with bullets, but with insults and tweets. A war fostered by partisan ideologies, instead of rooted in facts.
Thankfully, this is a war which is within our power to end. We do this by meeting our neighbors face to face, instead of behind the shield of a smartphone, and engaging them as people instead of as the enemy. We do this through conversation and by listening more, especially to those with a differing point of view from our own, then working to find common ground. We do this by continuing to stand for our country, without the interference of political parties. We do this by focusing on people, not politics.
We do this together. We'll be stronger once we do.