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far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. 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 of devotion, that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom,—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
When anything so brief and simple as this address lives and grows more popular year by year, we ought to study it carefully in order that we may understand it better, and appreciate the causes of its wonderful power.
The whole address consists of but ten sentences and only about two hundred and seventy-five words. It is almost impossible to express the meaning in fewer words, but a tabulation of the thought may enable us to understand it at a glance. The outline which follows does not show all the minor thoughts, merely the main trend of the argument. What, that are in the oration, have been omitted from this? The Arabic numerals appearing at the left in the outline call attention to the sentences by number. I. Introduction.
1. Spirit of the nation.
(a) Conceived in liberty.
(b) Dedicated to equality.
The war will determine.
A great battlefield.
4. Why we meet.
5. A fitting meeting. II. Body.
6. Impossible, in a larger sense, to dedicate.
(a) Our words.
(b) The soldiers' deeds.
(a) To be dedicated.
(1) That their deaths shall not be in vain.
freedom. (3) That the people's government shall
not perish. When you have thought of the meaning, noticed the form of the several sentences, and the words that compose them, consider whether there is anything in the arrangement of the words that does not please you,
Study, to determine their delicate shades of meaning, the three words dedicate, consecrate and hallow. Which is the strongest of the three words? Has Lincoln used these in the order in which they should appear?
What is the “last full measure of devotion” which a soldier can pay—that beyond which he can give no more?
Is it possible for us to hallow, to consecrate or even to dedicate ground any more completely than the soldiers did when they shed their blood upon the soil?
See how perfectly the eighth sentence is balanced, one part against another-how vividly the phrases what we say here, and what they did here are contrasted.
What is a government of the people? How does it differ from a government by the people, and from a government for the people?
Do some sentences seem to you fuller of meaning than others? Do some sound better than others? Which sentences are the fullest of meaning? Which sentences sound best? Are the sentences so arranged that those fullest of meaning and those sounding best come at the close of the address? If they are so arranged, they are in the order of a climax.
Now, when you have studied the address and answered the questions which have been asked here to your own satisfaction, can you not see that the arrangement is logical, that the sentences are faultless in structure, that the whole thing is simple, forceful and elegant? Could there be any more sincere or heartfelt sentiment uttered? There is nowhere in our language anything so brief and simple, and at the same time so elegant, forcible and full of patriotic inspiration.
By THEODORE ROOSEVELT Note. On the twelfth of February, 1909, the onehundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln was celebrated at Hodgenville, Kentucky, at the farm on which Lincoln was born. At that time the corner stone of the Memorial Hall, in which is to be preserved the cabin where he was born, was laid by Theodore Roosevelt, then President of the United States. Many distinguished visitors were present, and a large number of people gathered together from different parts of the United States.
The following tribute to Lincoln was President Roosevelt's speech on that occasion :
E HAVE met here to celebrate the
hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of the two greatest Americans; of one of the two or three greatest men of the nineteenth century; of one of the greatest men in the world's history.
This railsplitter, this boy who passed his ungainly youth in the dire poverty of the poor