The Dedication of the Gettysburg
The invited featured speaker at the dedication was Edward
Everett, the former president of Harvard College and one of the 19th century’s
most celebrated orators. Everett spoke for two hours. Following his long
presentation, Lincoln, in a black suit, tall silk hat and white gloves,
spoke for two minutes, delivering a powerful speech that has remained
one of the most inspirational and eloquent expressions in the English
language. From the time of its first delivery, Abraham Lincoln’s
Gettysburg Address has stood as an American touchstone, offering comfort
and inspiration to the living by honoring the sacrifices of the dead.
Lincoln formulated the Gettysburg Address with great
thought, but the brevity of the President’s address was in such
contrast to Everett’s long oration that the audience was surprised
and slow to respond, so that Lincoln feared his effort had fallen short.
Everett afterwards wrote to the President: "I should be glad if I
could flatter myself that I came as close to the central idea of the occasion,
in two hours, as you did in two minutes."
Read excerpts from Edward
Everett’s Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln, Republican Candidate for Sixteenth
President of the United States. E.B. & E.C. Kellogg and Geo.
Whiting, Publishers. Hand-tinted lithograph, ca. 1860. Susan H. Douglas
Political Americana Collection, #2214. Division of Rare and Manuscript
Collections, Cornell University Library.
Ideas are always more than battles