Gettysburg Address is without
a doubt one of the most significant speeches ever written by an American President.
In order to appeal to the emotions (pathos) of the people, President Abraham
Lincoln referenced the Declaration of Independence “all man are created
equal” (Lincoln), the Civil War, and the Soldier’s National Cemetery.
Abraham Lincoln delivered his
address on the battlefield of the Battle of Gettysburg on November 19, 1863.
The main reason for the ceremony was to dedicate a little portion of the
battlefield of war as a cemetery for those who fought for the cause. In the
speech, he used all three modes of persuasion. Since the motive of the address
was to dedicate the cemetery, mostly of Lincoln speech was in Pathos; “But
in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow
– this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have
consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract”(Lincoln). Abraham
Lincoln was able to transmit the emotion to the audience by recognizing that
the men earned the dedication of those grounds where they have died. Lincoln
also used Ethos; “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great
task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased
devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full
measure”(Lincoln). Abraham Lincoln used his speaking ability to show his
compassion and admiration to those listening to the speech.
Finally, Logos; “Four score and seven years
ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in
liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created
equal”(Lincoln). With this sentence Lincoln was referencing to the
Declaration of Independence and therefore signifying that the equality of all
men was what the nation’s beliefs were supposed to be. In which, in those times, after more than 100
years after the Declaration of Independence, slavery in the southern states was
The Declaration of Independence
was written in 1776. This was only a year after the American Revolutionary War
started. The principal cause of the revolution was the constant abuse in the
way the Americans were taxed by the British which lead the colonist to the
desire of independence. Great Britain was at war with France and Spain leading
to a financial crisis. The only way to recover from the national debts was to
tax the 13 American colonies. For the desire of independence, a committee was
appointed to draft a document that justified the reasons of why they should
break relations with Great Britain. That document was later called the
Declaration of Independence and was presented on July 2, 1775, but approved on
July 4th, 1775 by congress. One of the sentence of the Declaration of
Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all
men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with
certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness” (1776). Those principles of a land of liberty and
freedom is what Lincoln was inspiring the people to fight for.
Even though the writing of the Gettysburg Address was excellent, there were
some amounts of bias. At the time when the speech was conceived our
nation was divided in two over the issue of slavery and both halves were
engaged in aggressive civil war. One half wanted an undivided union and
the emancipation of slaves, while the other fought for independence from the
union and the right to keep slavery. Lincoln was the president of the
half that wanted a unified country; therefore his speech shows bias there.
Lincoln was advocating for a union in his speech. A person from the confederacy
would most likely view his speech as irrelevant and wrong in relation to
conserving the union. However, this does show a plus side to the bias
because the speech was not directed toward southerners at the time. This
bias that Lincoln shows does not reduce the validity of the piece, but rather
increases its appeal to his chosen audience.
In conclusion, Lincoln was able to write and deliver his message. The President
was not just able to dedicate the burial ground, but was able to bring the
message and encourage all that listen to keep fighting for the cause. The
address was just two-hundred and forty-six words, but in those words, a pure,
sincere, and humble message was successfully delivered. The way that the speech
is written has made it become one of the best speech ever written. Lincoln’s
speech was effective in reaching its goals. The speech instills a sense
of nationality and does a great job of encouraging its audience to join in and
help preserve the union.