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Gettysburg


The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC

In November 1863, as the small town of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania prepared to dedicate the Soldiers' National Cemetery, two speeches were delivered, each capturing the essence of the moment in vastly different ways.


Edward Everett, a celebrated orator, delivered the first speech. His reputation for eloquence preceded him, and he lived up to it with a lengthy oration that lasted over two hours. Everett's speech was a classical masterpiece, meticulously detailed, rich in historical references, and laden with the gravitas of the moment. He painted a vivid picture of the Battle of Gettysburg, intertwining it with reflections on heroism and sacrifice. It was a lot like handing a Rotary Past District Governor a microphone.


Then came President Abraham Lincoln, with a speech that lasted barely two minutes and consisted of just 272 words. In contrast to Everett's elaborate narrative, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was remarkably concise. Yet, in those few minutes, he profoundly redefined the Civil War as a struggle for the principles of human equality and a "new birth of freedom."


At the time, Lincoln's speech was almost overlooked. The brevity and simplicity of his words, coming after Everett's ornate oration, made it seem almost like an afterthought to many in the audience. It didn't capture immediate headlines, and its significance was not widely acknowledged. Lincoln himself wondered if the speech had failed to resonate.


However, as history unfolded, the true power of Lincoln's words became evident. While Everett's speech was admired for its classical eloquence, it was Lincoln's concise, poignant address that endured in the collective memory of the nation. It took nearly four decades for the Gettysburg Address to be universally recognized for its profound impact and eloquence. By the early 20th century, Lincoln's words were celebrated as a defining statement of the nation's ideals and a concise yet profound expression of the American spirit.


The story of these two speeches at Gettysburg is a study in contrasts: one long and detailed, the other short and succinct. Yet, it's Lincoln's address that stands as a testament to the power of brevity. His ability to encapsulate the essence of the nation's struggle and aspirations in just a few words eventually earned the recognition it deserved, illustrating that true eloquence often lies not in the quantity of words, but in their ability to resonate across time and space and touch people’s souls.

“If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” - Mark Twain

Sometimes less is more.

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ゲスト
5月01日
5つ星のうち5と評価されています。

Well timed

いいね!

ゲスト
5月01日
5つ星のうち5と評価されています。

A Masterpiece of Historical Significance. Simple yet profound. Thank you for sharing.🙏

いいね!

ゲスト
5月01日
5つ星のうち5と評価されています。

Very well delivered. Thank you.

いいね!
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