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Lincoln’s The Gettysburg Address

1656 words (7 pages) Essay in History

08/02/20 History Reference this

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Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth leader of the United States of America, set off for Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 with the goal to consecrating the Gettysburg National Burial ground. In a strangely short speech at least, for the 1860s, Lincoln could reaffirm the qualities our Founding Fathers had set down in the Declaration of Independence and in addition the Constitution. It is imperative to recall the specific circumstance; America was in the midst of a blood-stained civil war. Union troops had just four months earlier vanquished Confederate troops at the Clash of Gettysburg, which is generally perceived as the defining moment in the war. The Gettysburg Address hoped to mend a few injuries regardless of the new ones being created each day with each drop of American blood spilled. Lincoln trusted that the Civil War would before long end with a Union triumph yet needed the nation to realize that a unified United States, based upon great American beliefs, was the main way the country could push ahead effectively. In the Gettysburg Address, that was just 10 sentences and 272 words, Abraham Lincoln effectively used ethos, pathos and logos to connect with his audience, the American people, to inspire the idea of unity in the fragmented country, illustrate his view of the future of the country, and express his idea of the purpose of the United States. He sought to unite, not further divide the nation. He used his platform to inspire an emotional response that would resonate with his group of onlookers, as well as one that would resound through time.

In rhetoric, ethos represents credibility, or an ethical appeal, which involves persuasion by the character involved. The ethos of the President Lincoln became effective before Americans even heard the speech. Lincoln needed to pick up the trust and regard of the general population with the goal to be chosen to the workplace of President, so his character had been examined by people in general. His highly regarded position as the president of the United States gave him ethical credibility, particularly in an unfortunate situation, his words carried additional power. At the point when Lincoln alluded to the Declaration of Independence, he appealed to shared values or qualities, specifically equality. “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” (Lincoln 601). By beginning with a statement his entire audience perceived to be valid, Lincoln acquired the authority of that accepted truth for the remaining of his discourse. His position as president granted him the ethos, to speak with persuasive authority on the subject on hand. While Lincoln opened The Gettysburg Address with a mention of the Declaration of Independence, he closed it with an allusion to the Constitution. The Preamble to the Constitution starts with the words “We the people.” By utilizing “We the people” as a representation of the general population, Lincoln alluded to that vital document that expresses the basic written set of principles and precedents of the federal government in the United States. Using that strategy, he connected the two incredible founding documents of the United States as he is endeavoring to heal the fragmented nation. Additionally, Lincoln utilized his allusions to weave basic solidarity and unity in his discourse. He introduced the speech with a mention to the Bible, and in his last sentence alluded expressly to God. Opening and closing with religious references and introducing and concluding with references to the nation’s central archives, created an atmosphere filled with a strong sense of unity.

Pathos is a quality of an experience in life, or a work of art, that stirs up emotions such as pity, sympathy, and sorrow. Pathos can be expressed through words, pictures, or even with gestures of the body. The Gettysburg Address was made for the consecration of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, a solemn occasion. Lincoln utilized the pathos, or passionate appeal, to inspire the American people to persevere and further endure the Civil War as they took up the weight of the American spilled blood. The dialect and language structure of The Gettysburg Address was intended to make a feeling of solidarity in spite of the alarming occasions, as observed by Lincoln’s selective utilization of plural pronouns, similar to “we”, “our”, and “us”, all throughout the speech. The absence of first person pronouns reinforced the message of unity, as it was a message for all Americans, not simply Northerners or Southerners. The speech gave the air that all citizens united could cooperate as one, moving towards a shared objective of a superior United States. He comprehended that the war influenced Americans on both sides of the issue, not simply the Union troops he had come to memorialize. The president used pathos to appeal to the audience’s sense of patriotism and optimism. As a great prose stylist, he intended to make citizens of the Union completely devote themselves towards reunifying American common values that are underestimated: “life, freedom and the quest for satisfaction.” These beliefs and standards dated back to the Founding Fathers and had a place in the core of the American individuals. Conjuring them in the Gettysburg Address gave Lincoln and the Union the soul and boost it needed to drive forward through one of the darkest occasions ever in the history of the United States.

Logos, is a literary device that can be defined as a statement, sentence, or argument used to convince or persuade the targeted audience by employing reason or logic. The Gettysburg Address used various forms of logos to get its message across, employing the utilization of speech formatting, deduction, and ways or networks of interpretation. Lincoln styled the Gettysburg Address in a genuinely sequential or chronological order, opening with the renowned, “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” (601). Additionally, president Abraham Lincoln made a reference to both the Gettysburg Cemetery and battlefield in the present when he said “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” (602). Subsequent to summing up the assignment laid before the Union-proceeding with the battle for freedom and unification. Lincoln stated clearly his vision of a future American nation that, “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” (602). The transition from past, to present, to future gave the Gettysburg Address a logical rationale and an organized flow. Also, Lincoln was able to exquisitely outline his thoughts and ideas for the future-both immediate and distant-of the United States. One such point Lincoln presented was the commence that fairness for all men must exist in the United States to be consistent with the expressions of its founders. However, when compared to the Emancipation Proclamation and Civil War, these words appeared to be empty, and noticed how a few men were not seen as equivalents to other people, and in certainty were being subjugated by their “equal” kin. Lincoln recognized this reality, but emphasized the principles and values of the United States that should represent the government with the well-known line, “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom”(602). Lincoln tested the United States to change its system of interpretation concerning the expressions of its founders and declared that all men-regardless of color are indeed equal.

In conclusion, why is this short speech so cherished? Looking to respect the dead and move the living, Lincoln wound up conveying a standout amongst the most incredible discourses in American-if not world-history. Lincoln stated clearly his vision of a future American nation that, “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” (602). Abraham Lincoln effectively used ethos, pathos and logos to connect with his audience, the American people, to inspire the idea of unity in the fragmented country, illustrate his view of the future of the country, and express his idea of the purpose of the United States. In not more than more minutes, Abraham Lincoln related the driving principles and the importance of human equality. A significant part of the American dream that we are aware of today has been based on similar standards of equality and liberty for all. It isn’t regularly that the Gettysburg address by President Lincoln gets made reference to in notes about the American dream. In any case, it is significant that the highlighted points featured by President Lincoln in the speech are the building blocks that compose the American dream that we know of today. The Gettysburg Address was full of references on hop and freedom. These values were the two basic things that kept the earliest Americans going strong in trying on desperate times. The address served as a pathway of hope for people when there was no such thing as hope. Although President Lincoln was murdered before he could see the products of the Civil War’s tranquility, his logos was in the end demonstrated right with the additions of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth Amendments, which annulled slavery, set the guidelines for citizenship, and ensured the privilege of voting regardless of race. These elements, alongside the long-haul results of the speech itself, check the Gettysburg Address as a standout amongst the most vital speeches ever delivered

Works Cited Page

  • Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address” The Conscious Reader, edited by Caroline Shrodes, Michael Shugrue, Marc DiPaolo, & Christian J. Matuschek, Pearson, 2012, 601-602.
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