November 19 - 1863 - Abraham Lincoln Gives the Gettysburg Address
The Gettysburg Address is the most famous speech in American history, so its proper meaning and context often get lost. Lincoln's speech wasn't even the top billed oration of the day. He was simply there as the President to help consecrate the National Cemetery commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg. The featured speaker that day was Edward Everett, former politician and President of Harvard, who spoke for two hours with an academic syntax, Greek references, and overwrought statements about the events of the Battle of Gettysburg. Lincoln, by contrast, spoke about the meaning of the Civil War and the best way to continue the work done by soldiers on the battlefield in front of him. His speech would speak for the nature of American government from that point forward.