Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Rex E. Piercy

272 Words A century and a half has passed since Lincoln delivered an address so brief that it stunned the gathered crowd assembled to hear it. It continues to stun us today with the majesty of its words and the magnanimous heart it reveals. It would not be objected to by many that this brief speech is the finest one ever uttered, save perhaps that which was delivered by the young rabbi from Nazareth on a mountainside two millennia before Lincoln. Of no small coincidence, the speech on the battlefield resonates with the one from the hilltop in echoes of compassion and all that makes human life admirable – humility, understanding, forgiveness, nobleness, respect, and a daring commitment to craft a realm of peace with justice on earth. Lincoln’s words and his life, humanly flawed as he was, drew their prophetic power from a simple proposition that the ancient rabbi would no doubt have affirmed – that we hold certain truths to be self-evident which begin with “the proposition that all men are created equal” and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them being life itself, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. For as the rabbi said so long ago, “Happy are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Rex E. Piercy July 2013