The Gettysburg Address and how history came to know (and argue over) its immortal words

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  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Nov. 20, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    LDS Liberal

    Your view of the "right side of history" is like a persons view of who was a good president and who was a bad president. I'd bet, for instance, that many on the left would not give credit to Reagan/Bush as being on the right side of history with regards to anti-Communism, military buildup, and ending the Cold War. Others would say it was a great historical accomplishment. I know people still that think our country should never have spend billions on a space program to get to the moon. Especially as it was a race against the Russians. Others, like myself still see that as one of Americas greatest accomplishments. Right side of history?? From each of our points of view, we both are on the right side of history. And refering to a comment above by Beowolf, was one of the icons of liberalism, FDR, on the right side of history with Japanese internment camps?

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Nov. 20, 2013 9:24 a.m.

    @Brutus-- it appears you and Obama share the same thoughts.

  • Beowulf Portland, OR
    Nov. 20, 2013 7:42 a.m.

    Oh my. "Right side of history". This is a common mantra of the Progressive Liberal left that is repeated by such people to comfort themselves that whatever they are pressing for at that particular moment is "right".

    Well, a century ago one of these so-called "right side of history" ideas was eugenics, the idea that a perfect man could be created by breeding people with the "right" genes. Sounds great, right? Well, the reverse was discrimination against people who did not have the "right" genes. And who got to decide which was which? Why, the Progressive Liberal left, of course. Forced sterilization of southern black women in the 1920s and 1930s was instigated by Northern liberals, not by Southern segregationists (which you would expect to be the usual suspects in such shenanigans).

    This evil idea only perished after the horrors of World War II, when the concentration camps were discovered (eugenics applied in practice...).

    So don't let me hear banal nonsense about being on "the right side of history". You won't know whether you were or not until long after you are dead.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:12 p.m.

    Maple Don, don’t know what the President believes in his heart. The fringe right loves to him, attempted to paint him as evil and anti-American, despite evidence to the contrary. Just because he has a different ideology than the libertarian right wing doesn't make him either bad or wrong.

    Blind ideology is taking this country down faster than any outside internal threat. There is no cooperation between parties any more, no consensus, just partisan bickering. My vote always goes to the candidate that is competent and honest. I wouldn’t vote for a candidate that agrees with me politically that I do not find to be ethical and capable of doing the job. I would vote for a candidate with opinions divergent from my own if that candidate strikes me as able to serve effectively and grounded on honesty and a true ethic of public service.

    I did not vote for Obama, and wasn’t happy that he won, but he is still the president. You might want to refer to the Constitution and check out the systems of checks and balances we have. One man cannot destroy America without the cooperation of the people.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:48 p.m.

    Guess which two words from the original Gettysburg Address did President Obama exclude when reciting the speech?

    Huh? Give up?

    "Under God."

    Barack Obama omitted the words "under God" from the Gettysburg Address when reciting the great speech for a Ken Burns documentary. Burns had filmed all living presidents as well as various Hollywood personalities and luminaries to pay homage to the speech which was delivered by Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, today.


  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 19, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    @custer – “This was a war that never should have been fought.”

    Easy to say in hindsight, but this was a problem even the collective genius of the Founders could not solve. And slavery was something the South was given repeated opportunities since the founding to abandon, but greed (not to mention an increasingly entrenched Southern aristocracy) is a powerful motivator.

    No, this was a war that not only should have been fought but in fact is one of the few in history that was morally justified. And for all the ways wars (and the aftermath) can go wrong, Lincoln did about the best job of navigating that treacherous four years as anyone could have.

    We could easily be two nations today, and given the ideology pervasive in the South it is highly doubtful the Confederacy would have continued intact. It’s questionable whether even their states would have survived given the factionalism and distrust of government.

    More likely they would have ended up as hundreds of Kingdom of Jones’.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    Fairview, UT

    "The Emancipation Proclamation was an EXECUTIVE ORDER issued by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, as a war measure during the American Civil War, to all segments of the Executive branch (including the Army and Navy) of the United States."

    Against this background, Lincoln issued the Proclamation under his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution.
    As such, he claimed to have the martial power to free persons held as slaves in those states which were in rebellion "as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion".

    and yes,
    The Executive Order was then made permanent and Nationwide [trumping any and all States rights] with the passage of the 13th amendment to the U.S. constitution.

    The points is,
    The Progressive Liberals have more often than not been on the right side of history.

  • custer Boise, ID
    Nov. 19, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    A truly great president, worthy of Mt. Rushmore, would have prevented the Civil War from ever happening. Instead, Lincoln ran headlong into it, just waiting for the South to fire a shot, so he could raise an army and start the tragic Civil War--which cost the lives of over 600,000 Americans. This was a war that never should have been fought. Americans fighting Americans. A great president would have brought the North and South together long before shots were fired.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 3:22 p.m.

    Lincoln did not free slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. That occurred with the 13th Amendment. What the proclamation did was direct the military how to treat slaves encountered in states which were in rebellion to the Union. It did not affect the five Southern states not in rebellion. It was only enforceable in areas of rebel states that came under Union control. It was a part of his role as Commander-in-Chief during a time of war to expedite the management of liberated slaves.
    States Rights did not apply because those states were in a state of declared war. What the Emancipation Proclamation did was set the stage and define the stated outcome of the Civil War.
    And yes, we are still divided. Unfortunately, many people have exchanged their chains of iron with chains of blind obeisance.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 2:45 p.m.

    Lincoln "freed" the Slaves via the "Emancipation Proclamation", i.e., an executive order.
    He usurped States Rights [viewed by the South as un-Constitutional],
    He stripped away a Master's "property" without compensation [also viewed un-Constitutional],
    They called Lincoln as a Tyrant,
    They felt he had made himself a "KING" [sound familiar at all?]

    Agreed --
    We're still divided,
    and along the same ideological lines as well.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:51 a.m.


    Lincoln was also the leader of the War of Northern Aggression against the South.


  • Lehicoug Lehi, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    Brutus and Esquire have illustrated with their comments we are just as divided now as a nation as we were in 1863.

  • Brutus ,
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:03 a.m.

    Lincoln was a tyrant in every sense of the word. The Gettysburg Address, as lovely as it may read, was just Lincoln being the politician he was. His actions throughout his presidency should speak far louder than any address, and those actions are not to be commended. He was no friend to our constitutional government.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    Cowboy, my issue is that the right wing talks a big game about the principles of the speech, but that's where it ends. Blah, blah, blah, but their actions are totally opposite.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    Nice article; captures the speech's essence quite well - that above all Lincoln stood for government by the people (i.e., democracy) and against factionalism, ideology, and unequal representation.

    Lincoln was perhaps the least tangential politician this country has ever seen and arguably one of the most complete human beings in history.

    His shoes are large and difficult to fill, and watching our politics today one can't help feel that we're doing a poor job of filling them.

  • CasualCowboy CEDAR CITY, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    I am willing to bet that you hear about it a lot more on Fox News and The Blaze rather than CNN and MSNBC.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:12 a.m.

    Do you think we could get the Tea Party and the Republicans to even read the Gettysburg Address? It would do them and the nation, a lot of good.