Assess the style of Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.”


Please complete the Lesson 7 Assignment in a Word document and submit it to complete the assignment.

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Read the following excerpt:

In 1776, our ancestors created the United States of America, a free nation where no individual was considered better than another. Now the United States and its principles are being tested in this war, part of which took place here. Many soldiers gave their lives on this battlefield and so it is only appropriate that we dedicate these grounds in their honor. That cannot compare, however, to the great sacrifice American soldiers have made for their country. They will be remembered fondly, and now it is our duty to continue fighting to preserve this nation. By doing so, we can ensure that the United States of America will once again unite and survive for generations to come.

The excerpt you just read was a paraphrase of one of the most famous speeches in American history, “The Gettysburg Address,” delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863. Today, the address is considered one of the most monumental speeches of all time, and Lincoln has been praised for his style, eloquence, and pithiness.

Now, read the actual Gettysburg Address below:

The Gettysburg Address: November 19, 1863

Fourscore 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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.

(Authenticated text from American Rhetoric (Links to an external site.) website.)

In an essay of approximately one page, analyze and evaluate Lincoln’s use of stylistic language in his speech at Gettysburg. As Dr. Zarefsky says in Chapter 12, Lincoln’s speech had “plainness of structure, simplicity of wording, and even brevity” (p. 285)—but it was not simple and easy; pay particular attention to the artistry of Lincoln’s language. All papers should be Word-processed, in Times New Roman with 12-point font and indented paragraphs with sources cited in the APAstyle; cite the additional reading by Leff and Goodwin, and other scholarly sources, to support your claims.  Include a word count in your submission.  All papers must be free from typographical and spelling mistakes. Errors of grammar, syntax, and composition affect the assignment grade.

In your essay, you should discuss specific language choices Lincoln makes to express his ideas. Be sure to use specific examples in your essay to illustrate your claims.

  • What stylistic devices are used?
  • How do they add to or detract from the message?
  • How does the speaker achieve rhythm, clarity, and vividness?

Read the address out loud and think about this chapter’s discussion of oral versus written style.

  • What elements of Lincoln’s speech make it well adapted to an oral style?
  • Did you find it more effective when it was read aloud than when it was read silently? Why or why not?

Finally, consider the paraphrased version of the Gettysburg address.

  • How does reading both versions help to illuminate the importance of using stylistic language?


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