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Old 11-21-2013, 02:20 PM
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Do you have any personal thoughts on this or how did effect you when you first read or learned it in school?
You know as I read the address I've come to be so impressed with Lincoln's knowledge of history and how he weaves the past into it. It's almost as if he used Pericles' Funeral Oration Speech as a guide to make his now famous one. Pericles used his speech to honor the Athenian dead and their heroism in fighting for their 'polis' in their war against the Spartans. Lincoln's genius was now taking that event and adapting it eloquently to the battle. His way of words and sentence construction amplified that connection with history to literally stamp his view on what the battle really meant to the United States of America.
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Old 11-21-2013, 05:23 PM
Location: Cushing OK
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Originally Posted by OpenD View Post
The PBS special last night also made a couple of points I was unfamiliar with before, and I picked up more in my reading afterwards...

It was highly unusual for a President to give a public speech other than during an election campaign. It just wasn't done in that era. Presidents didn't even deliver their own State of the Union address, but merely sent their text over to the Congress to be read to the assembled body. There was no precedent for what he did.

He almost didn't go.

What he read... the previous speaker spoke for 2 hours without notes, while Lincoln actually put on his glasses and read his remarks verbatim... was not the first speech he wrote. His speech was so short that it caught the official photographer completely by surprise and he got only one rushed picture of Lincoln surrounded by crowd, after the speech was over.

At first there was a long silence after Lincoln finished, and he had stepped down in silence and was surrounded by audience members who wanted to shake his hand, when applause started in the back of the crowd, and built to a long, thunderous ovation.

The local newspaper panned the speech, an error in judgment they finally corrected this week.

Whether from the lousy weather, exposure to the crowds, proximity to the cemetery, or some combination, Lincoln became quite ill as a result of the trip, fighting a case of smallpox for weeks to follow.
That show was very good. Its worth looking for it online to watch. I had never heard that the telegraph played such a large role in the civil war either. I liked the term that it wasn't necessarily the first modern war but a mix, and more properly a transitional one. But Lincoln was the first commander and chief who could sit by the telegraph and discuss things with commanders on the field. (Or am I confusing two shows back to back here)

The small pox was from his son, who was ill with it when he left that grey day to make his short speech. Somehow I never thought of how the four score and seven years ago refered to the declaration of independence, not the constitution. But the people on that field got it right away.

His first son died of small pox, but his second one survived.

Hard to imagine politics today without all the tailored media moments and sound bytes and pr run coaching.
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