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The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, Twelfth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Examining the Evidence Activites
Chapter 21: The Furnace of Civil War, 1861-1865

Examining Related Evidence: Lincolnís Gettysburg Address
This internet activity is based on the Examining the Evidence feature found on page 463 of The American Pageant, Twelfth Edition. Or you can view the feature here.

Lincolnís Gettysburg Address is one of the most famous speeches in American history. However at the time, Lincoln was only invited to Gettysburg at the last minute to make a few remarks before the featured speaker, Edward Everett gave his oration in memory of the soldiers killed at Gettysburg. Historians disagree on whether Lincoln thought his speech was a success. What did Everett think of Lincolnís brief remarks?

Go to the American Memory Project and click on Search. Then do a search for items in the collections containing the words "Abraham Lincoln Everett Gettysburg." When you get the results, select Edward Everett to Abraham Lincoln, November 20, 1863. Read Everettís letter, especially the second paragraph which begins on the first page and is continued on the third page.

  1. What did Everett think of Lincolnís speech? (Hint: how did Everett complete the following sentence: "I should be glad if I could flatter myself that Ö"?)

    A month before the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln issued a proclamation establishing a formal Thanksgiving holiday to be observed on the last Thursday in November. Historians often compare speeches and other records to look for clues about people in the language and imagery they use in their writing. To compare the Gettysburg Address to the Thanksgiving proclamation go to the Internet Public Libraryís page on Abraham Lincoln and click on the Thanksgiving Proclamation located under the Historical Documents section.
  2. According to Lincoln, for what should Americans be thankful?
  3. Compare this document to the Gettysburg Address. How are the values he invokes in both similar? Different?





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