The 16th U.S. President was described by
his father as "the ganlin’est, awkardest feller
that ever stepped over a ten-rail fence; he
had t’duck to git through a door; he ’peared
to be all j’ints." From this inauspicious
beginning, Abraham Lincoln became one of
the most dramatic leaders of our country.
Abraham Lincoln Online offers a
great deal of information and helpful links
that demonstrates the greatness of such a
Second Inaugural Address
"This theologically intense speech has been widely acknowledged as one of the most remarkable documents in American history. The London Spectator said of it, ‘We cannot read it without a renewed conviction that it is the noblest political document known to history, and should have for the nation and the statesmen he left behind him something of a sacred and almost prophetic character.’" (Originally Published: 3/4/1865; Last DCTKD update: 11/30/0002)
"The most controversial document in Lincoln’s presidency, its signing met with both hostility and jubilation in the North, and initially triggered a stock decline, depressed military enlistment, and impaired Republican elections. However, Lincoln said, ‘I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper.’" (Originally Published: 1/1/1863; Last DCTKD update: 11/30/0002)
Abraham Lincoln on Preserving Liberty
"As he wrote in 1861, ‘The struggle of today, is not altogether for todayit is for a vast future also.’"
(excerpts from various speeches and writings) (Originally Published: 10/16/1854; Last DCTKD update: 11/30/0002)
Gettysburg Address (OurDocuments.gov)
“Although Lincoln expressed disappointment in the speech initially, it has come to be regarded as one of the most elegant and eloquent speeches in U.S. history.” (Last DCTKD update: 11/8/2010)
Lasting under five minutes, this speech clearly demonstrates Lincoln’s mastery of thought to express just the right words at just the right time. Although not acknowledged immediately as an address of note either at the the consecration of the national cemetary or in the weeks that followed, this speech still resonates with remarkable significance today.
As a side, Lincoln was not the principal speaker; Edward Everett was. Everett was a former U.S. Minister to England, former Harvard President, former Secretary of State, former Senator, and vice-presidential candidate. His speech lasted over two hours.
Everett recognized the accomplishment of Lincoln’s speech, however, and after returning to Washington, he complimented the president on the “eloquent simplicity & appropriateness” of his remarks, adding in open humility: “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.” (Last DCTKD update: 11/19/2007)