Gettysburg Address Versus Declaration of Independence
Lincoln’s Address Versus Jefferson’s Declaration
Two of the most important, and, perhaps the two most important documents in American history are the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address. The Declaration of Independence, the document of secession written by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, called for the complete independence of the states from the British Empire. The Gettysburg Address was a document on the theory of union that stressed the need for one united country and expressed the importance of doing whatever necessary to complete the task of keeping the states united as one. It was written and delivered by Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at a cemetery dedication for soldiers who had died in the famous Civil
…show more content…
He opens his speech with the past, mentioning the founding fathers of the United States (ironically speaking of Jefferson) and the values that they possessed when creating a new nation. Lincoln then quickly moves to the present. He states, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and do dedicated, can long endure.” Here, he is identifying the country’s current state, in the midst of a civil war, as a problem or, even more so, as a challenge that has been brought upon the United States that it must overcome. Lincoln then goes on to the main, and most crucial part of the Gettysburg Address, the future. Here is where he sums up what needs to be done in the years to come in order to make sure that the country can in fact overcome the challenge that it has brought upon itself. Though Lincoln’s argument is shorter and not as in depth or broken down as Jefferson’s, his past, present, and future strategy is arguably just as effective. The Gettysburg Address is less of an argumentative document and much more of a motivational one that was designed to persuade the American people to strive for a centralized, united country. Lincoln’s speech did just that.
Even more significant than the lack of organizational similarities between the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address, are the differences between the theories and ideas that Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln are trying to convey in their