The story of Gettysburg is inextricably linked with the story of American democracy. No one articulated that better than President Abraham Lincoln in his famous Gettysburg Address that sanctified the battlefield where so many Union soldiers gave their “last full measure of devotion” to the country. Second perhaps only to the Declaration of Independence’s ringing endorsement of universal natural rights, Lincoln’s memorable speech represented the second founding of the American republic. As he put it, “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.” With these words, Lincoln bound the cause of the American slave, emancipation, with that of American democracy.
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