Sunday, April 06, 2014

Gettysburg Address - Abraham Lincoln: The power of Brevity

Some communicate very well. One of the qualities of best communication is brevity and simplicity. We often speak  assuming total interest from the audience.  Often, the audience may just tolerate us out of courtesy and/or our superior position in hierarchy, social or official. Lincoln’s now immortal speech is an excellent example of how a good speech can be!  enjoy .. a lesson in communication.
best wishes
The speech referred to above was delivered on 19 November 1863 at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg. This was one of the best speeches in the history of America. That day the first speaker was the much famed speaker, Edward Everett, who spoke to the crowd for two hours. Abraham Lincoln followed with his now immortal Gettysburg Address. The next day, Everett wrote to Lincoln: “Permit me also to express my great admiration of the thoughts expressed by you, with such eloquent simplicity & appropriateness, at the consecration of the Cemetery. I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
The text:
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.
The original manuscript can be seen here and were preserved, the details of which can be seen from the URL quoted at the end.


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