Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation

Cole Ragle

"Four score and seven years ago..." is how Lincolns historical speech started, and it ended soon after. He spoke just 272 words that day, while the preceding speaker had just wrapped up a phenomenal 2 hour speech. Still, Lincoln will always be remembered for the few words he did speak. This goes to show that no matter how small you make your presence, you can still make a huge difference. The possibility of a President attending the event in Gettysburg was not the talk of the town, officials felt he needed to be there, however they did not necessarily want him to be there. The invitation that was sent to him by Judge David Willis requested "a few appropriate remarks". This invitation showed that the people had little faith in Lincoln coming, or saying anything important for that matter. Judge David Willis makes it clear that Lincoln will be following a very talented speaker, one Edward Everett. Mr. Everett received his invitation in September, Lincoln received his invitation a mere 17 days before the speech, which is incredibly late. This brings up the presumption that Lincoln was not intended to be there, rather they felt it appropriate for him to make an appearance. "...our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal..." It is important to note that Lincoln uses the term "proposition." Using this word to describe this universal truth or ideal implies that it has not yet been an adopted belief by all men. This idea being impermanent then implies the dangers of losing it. Cole Ragle Fisher Jr./Sr. High School. Fisher, Il