Abraham Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address (1863)

The only confirmed photo of Abraham Lincoln (circled) at Gettysburg, taken about noon, just after Lincoln arrived and some three hours before the speech.
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States. He served from March 1861 until his assassination in 1865. As president, he led the country through the American Civil War, which was a great constitutional, military and moral crisis. He preserved the Union while ending slavery and promoting economic modernisation. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 until 1865. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, also known as "the Confederacy". Led by Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy fought for its independence from the United States. The U.S. federal government was supported by twenty mostly-Northern free states in which slavery had already been abolished, and by five slave states that became known as the border states. These twenty-five states, referred to as the Union, were led by Abraham Lincoln. On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered the speech The Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg. This address came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. Note: There are several sources of the speech: five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address. All versions differ in their wording, punctuation, and structure. It is unknown which is the correct one. However, the one presented here, "The Bliss Copy", is the only manuscript to which Lincoln affixed his signature.
Watch the video and listen to the speech. You can also read along with the text if you like. Otherwise, jump to the post-listening exercise directly after watching the video.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Vor vier mal zwanzig und sieben Jahren gründeten unsere Väter auf diesem Kontinent eine neue Nation, in Freiheit empfangen und dem Grundsatz geweiht, dass alle Menschen gleich geschaffen sind.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
Nun stehen wir in einem großen Bürgerkrieg, und in der Prüfung, ob diese Nation oder irgendeine derart gegründete und diesen Grundsätzen geweihte Nation dauerhaft bestehen kann. Wir haben uns auf einem großen Schlachtfeld dieses Krieges versammelt. Wir sind gekommen, einen Teil davon jenen als letzte Ruhestätte zu weihen, die hier ihr Leben gaben, damit diese Nation leben möge. Es ist recht und billig, dass wir dies tun.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate—we can not consecrate—we can not hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, 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.
Doch in einem höheren Sinne können wir diesen Boden nicht weihen – können wir ihn nicht segnen – können wir ihn nicht heiligen. Die tapferen Männer, lebende wie tote, die hier kämpften, haben ihn geweiht, weit über das hinaus, was unsere schwachen Kräfte hinzufügen oder hinweg nehmen könnten. Die Welt wird kaum Notiz davon nehmen, noch wird sie sich lange an das erinnern, was wir hier sagen. Aber sie kann niemals vergessen, was jene hier taten. Es ist vielmehr an uns, den Lebenden, dem großen Werk geweiht zu werden, das diejenigen, die hier kämpften, so weit und so edelmütig voran gebracht haben. Es sind vielmehr wir selbst, die hier der großen Aufgabe geweiht werden die noch vor uns liegt – dass uns diese edlen Toten mit wachsender Hingabe erfüllen für die Sache, der sie hier das höchste Maß an Hingabe erwiesen haben, – dass wir hier einen heiligen Eid schwören, dass diese Toten nicht vergebens gestorben sein mögen, – dass diese Nation eine Wiedergeburt der Freiheit erleben möge; und dass diese Regierung des Volkes, durch das Volk, für das Volk, niemals von der Erde verschwinden möge.
Read the questions and choose the right answer.
  1. Which event does Lincoln refer to in his very first sentence?Tipp
    • He refers to the adoption of the Civil Rights in 1791.
    • He refers to the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  2. Lincoln says that the Civil War also means a new beginning of something. What is it?
    • It's the beginning of a divided North America and the resumption of slavery.
    • It's the beginning of freedom and liberty in the USA and the survival of America's representative democracy.

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