The Gettysburg Address, delivered by US President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, is one of the best-known speeches in American history.
In only 271 words, Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, called for national unity in the face of the Civil War.
This short speech—some of those present said it lasted less than three minutes—contains some of the most poignant quotes about war, military service, and the pursuit of freedom and equality.
Here are nine of Abraham Lincoln’s most important quotes from the Gettysburg Address that you need to know.
“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 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.”
Find more Abraham Lincoln quotes on our Abraham Lincoln page!
Editor’s Note: These quotes from the Gettysburg Address are from the Bliss copy, named for Colonel Alexander Bliss. This was the only copy of the speech that Lincoln signed, and it has become known as the standard version of the text.
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