The Watering Hole: November 19 – The Gettysburg Address

Detail from 'Government'. Mural by Elihu Vedder, 1896, Wikipedia Commons

Today is the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address given by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, 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.

From Wikipedia:

Abraham Lincoln’s carefully crafted address, secondary to other presentations that day, came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, Lincoln invoked the principles of human equality espoused by the Declaration of Independence and redefined the Civil War as a struggle not merely for the Union, but as “a new birth of freedom” that would bring true equality to all of its citizens, and that would also create a unified nation in which states’ rights were no longer dominant.

Beginning with the now-iconic phrase “Four score and seven years ago,” referring to the American Revolution of 1776, Lincoln examined the founding principles of the United States in the context of the Civil War, and used the ceremony at Gettysburg as an opportunity not only to consecrate the grounds of a cemetery, but also to exhort the listeners to ensure the survival of America’s representative democracy, that the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Despite the speech’s prominent place in the history and popular culture of the United States, the exact wording of the speech is disputed. The five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address differ in a number of details and also differ from contemporary newspaper reprints of the speech.

The Gettysburg Address:

“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.

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.

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.”

This country’s founding principles.. “all men are created equal”.. “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.. So very important, but do they still apply today? Some days I wonder..

We are created equal as long as we aren’t Gay, our skin isn’t a different color, or we aren’t poor.. And we seem to have evolved into a “government of the corporations, by the corporations, and for the corporations”. What’s the answer?

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to add your thoughts on this, or any other topic that comes to mind.

59 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: November 19 – The Gettysburg Address

  1. While I do like this post, I wanted to wish Zooey a peaceful visit to the coast … I can’t seem to locate her recent post on this little device ~

    Hope you all a having a good one ~ bonbon time here 🙂

  2. As a non-theist, I’ve long wondered about the term “under God” — I mean, as a figure of speech, as a recitation of a tidbit of mythology, no problem. But sadly it’s become far more than that. If I could counsel Abe today, I’d tell him to rewrite that line to read, –that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom– and leave it at that.

  3. Great thoughts for the day, Muse. Given the dire straits this country has been in before, it really seems rather silly that the big issues of the day revolve around things like if science is true and if two consulting adults can marry. The Founding Fathers and other great figures would surely have hoped we had built a better nation by now–not one ruled by corporations and with a huge standing army deployed all over the world. Maybe someday…

  4. Sorry can’t think of Lincoln without thinking of:

    “Four score and seven minutes ago, we, your fore fathers were brought forth upon a most excellent adventure.”


  5. And I’d like to say that all corporations bleed the same os us… but they don’t.

    They are not (natural) persons….. Thom Hartmann covers the history of the rise of the corporation. I don’t think Lincoln would have signed that amendment, had he lived.

  6. Wow, I had not seen Helen and Margaret’s blog before. What a hoot! *subscribes*

    I love fiesty women…especially the old ones. They don’t take any shit from anybody!

    • Pawz, now you’ll feel compelled to spend hours and hours catching up with the down to earth genius of Margaret & Helen. 🙂

  7. Zooey, yes, I’m afraid I will….it’s been slow at work, so I have plenty of time to kill. 😉

    BABY KITTEHS!!! So adorable! 😀 I have two that look like the ginger and white one–Sirocco and Zephyr. I call them the Breezes. 🙂

  8. Muse, the democrats are *already* blamed for increasing taxes in 2009 (even though they actually lowered taxes on a lot of people). People are stupid, they believe what they are spoon-fed and not what their paychecks say.

    So I think the political capital on ‘raising taxes’ is already in the Repubs bank, so go ahead, let the tax cuts expire, blame the republicans for not making them permanent to begin with and start claiming the reduction in the debt. The Dems have nothing to lose by raising taxes and actually everything to gain.

    • I don’t want ANY extension of the tax cuts for the rich. Period. I am totally with Bernie Sanders on this one. But this paragraph by Ezra Klein bothered me..

      “But Republicans, despite wanting to increase the debt by extending the Bush tax cuts, don’t want to vote to raise the debt ceiling. They’re already planning to hold the vote hostage until they get substantial concessions on health-care repeal and spending cuts. And Democrats, at that point, will have little choice but to accede to their demands. The politics of the debt ceiling are tough, and since Democrats both lost the last election and control most of the government, they’ll get blamed.”

      I don’t want the Republicans going after the health care reform. They won’t be undoing it because of the health insurance industry, because the insurance industry is as pleased as punch. They’ll be getting even richer with everyone in the country being forced to purchase some form of insurance. The Republicans simply want to undo it because they don’t want Obama to have ANY successes, they can be able to point at him and call him a failure in their plan to take the next presidential election. They made this goal clear from day one of this administration starting with fat Limbaugh’s “I want him to fail” screed.

      Why is it everything the Republicans want to do will hurt just about ALL Americans, especially the weakest and most disadvantaged amongst us , and will only benefit the rich few? EVERYTHING! And why is it everyone in this country can’t see that? They aren’t even trying to hide it.. Not extending unemployment benefits to those on the verge of losing what little they have left during this terrible economy… Undoing all the protections that keep our food, air and water safe.. Undoing any banking regulations to protect consumers from being victimized, like the crap that turned our economy upside down and made so many people homeless.. Closing up the office of ethics so nobody will notice what they are doing or be able to take any actions against them.. Taking away what little help Americans have been given by the new health reforms/laws that will help to insure all Americans.. Now they want to raise the retirement age and go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid..

      Raising the retirement age in this economy is only going to create more unemployment and homelessness. There are already no jobs, except for minimum wage and labor intensive. If someone 68 years old goes for a job, the same job being applied for by a 20-something, who is the employer going to hire? Especially if it’s a job doing hard labor.. Certainly no the senior citizen.. And the Republicans are already wanting to cut unemployment benefits, AND go after Social Security and Medicare. The elderly in this country must be anxious as hell. They want to remove all the safety nets. What kind of country are we becoming? The survival of the fittest..


      • And WHAT are the Democrats so afraid of? I’m not naive. I realize both parties want to hold on to their jobs, that it is no longer “public service” but instead a career path, that there is WAY too much money in politics, and that the same rich and powerful fund both sides, but is it still possible to fight for doing what’s right for the right reason, even if it’s not politically advantageous?

  9. Joe Scarborough suspended from MSNBC for political donations

    Another MSNBC corespondent received a two-day suspension for donating to political campaigns Friday. MSNBC announced Joe Scarborough would be suspended for two days. The news comes just two weeks after another MSNBC correspondent, Keith Olbermann, was suspended for two days for his political contributions.

    MSNBC became aware of the contributions after Politico sought comment from the news station. Politico had found evidence that Scarborough “gave at least five previously unknown $500 contributions while serving as an MNBC host – all to Republican candidates to whom he was close who were running for state legislative seats in or near Scarborough’s hometown of Pensacola, Fla.”

    At least Morning Joe fans (are there any?), won’t have to sweat the word ‘indefinitely’, like we did!

    • That is hilarious, House.

      I wonder if Morning Jo(k)e will get as many people demanding he be re-instated immediately? Other than Mika, of course. 😀

  10. “Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Keep spoutin’ the truth all…Loudly and repeatedly to any and all you meet!

    I love TP and the Zoo!

  11. Our former Governor, Jesse Ventura, was on Stephanie Miller this morning. He was there ostensibly to promote a new TV show he has.

    However, in the course of the conversation, he whipped out a great quote from Einstein.

    “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

    People say many things about Ventura, but all I have to say is he’s much better than the current governor, and at least he finished his term without quitting.

  12. Zooey, if they had specified a limit on Keith’s suspension, there wouldn’t have been near the upheaval. We all remember David Schuster, whose indefinite suspension is still in effect. Scaborough fans won’t have time to miss him.

  13. Maybe I’m just being cynical, but I think the Scarborough suspension is a feeble attempt to legitimize the Olbermann suspension.

  14. Thoroughly enjoy reading William Rivers Pitt – he who speaks my mind many a time!

    The Democrats…ah, yes, the Democrats. Seldom in history has there been a larger collection of utterly useless people than the motley mob of elected officials who rally under the banner of the Democratic Party. They had the House, the Senate, the White House and put two new Justices on the Supreme Court, and yet with all that power and influence, found themselves blown out yet again in a midterm election.

    But if those protesters at the Bush Library teach us anything, it is that hate must be channeled if it is to have any real effect. Theirs was an eloquent protest, and ours must be the same.

    No retreat, the man once said. No surrender.

    • Steve Benen weighs in on the Scarborough suspension.
      I’m curious who’s idea this actually was.. (This is how cynical I’ve become..)
      I can’t help wondering if Scarborough was perhaps a bit jealous of all the attention, love, and support Keith’s suspension brought him.., and thought he could use a couple of days off (it’s not like he’d miss 2 days of pay), and he might just get some good publicity and attention to boot.. Like I said, cynical (and can’t stand Scarborough)..
      I realize it is more likely that MSNBC came up with this as a way to come across as fair and balanced, though in the process, making the same mistake twice..

      • More on Scarborough:

        Scarborough and MSNBC management agreed to the two-day hiatus after Politico reporter Kenneth P. Vogel asked for comment about five donations Scarborough had made to political candidates. Scarborough admitted to making the donations, as well as three others.

        Scarborough and MSNBC ‘agreed’ to it? A ‘hiatus’? They ask Scarborough permission first before they gave him two days off? Is he part of management?
        That’s what I meant about wondering if this was Scarborough’s idea in the first place… Did Keith get asked first if he ‘agreed’ to his suspension before they did it?? Weird..

  15. I won’t surprise me if Joe got some sort of bonus that is equal to, or greater than, the amount he loses via this “suspension.”

    Of course at the rate we’re going, it’s not going to surprise me that Joe simply took a couple of vacation days, that had been planned for weeks.

  16. Happy Friday all,

    I’m a few days behind on the news, but the shelving of the vote for the Paycheck Fairness act really pisses me off. There are a lot of strong and capable women in my family and I can’t abide anything that discriminates against 51% of the population. Especially when it’s shot down by a minority of the Senate.

  17. KO makes two donations and gets an indefinite suspension (without conference first IIRC). Joe gets two days with a conference. Seems like a 3 card Monte game to me.

  18. Ten bucks says Joe S. doesn’t have 300,000-plus sigs on a petition by tomorrow at this time. Maybe 30 or 35, but not 10,000 times that. I’m sure he’ll fill us in when he’s back. Keith did, after all.

  19. anything which brings attention to the Newscorp contributions, is a good thing.

    joe may be just playing along with NBC…..but who knows…??

  20. My wife has a friend with two knee implants, two thigh implants two shoulder implants and one elbow implant. She sets off alarms every time she flies. She carries a note from her doctor in order to get past security. Next time, will they will have to perform surgery when she checks in?

  21. I’ve had my fun with metal detectors because of my spinal stimulator, but I do have a card from Medtronic that explains why I set off the alarms.

    I imagine Wayne Schniedner’s experience would be fun with his 14 inches! 🙂

  22. I have titanium coils in my head. Which is a lot more than those who ‘do’ the TSA have in their head. Last time I flew was in August of 1996 — I’ll probably leave it that way … unless it’s the only way I can get to my island, of course.

  23. I haven’t flown in about twelve years. Before that, I was a serious frequent flyer. I discovered one thing that always helped get me through airport security with a minimum of hassle.

    The night before flying I indulged in a wonderful meal in a Mexican restaurant with lots of refried beans.

  24. Walt,

    I got my hair cut. We need another picture.

    When do you want to have breakfast again?

  25. The Federal Elections Commission has dismissed a complaint against Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) that alleged that he made an illegal contribution to his own campaign when his parents gave his former mistress and staffer — and her family — $96,000.

  26. “What’s the answer?”

    Historically, two choices: resort to terrorism or resort to non-violence.

    Either way, the price to pay to force the ruling class to give up some of its power will be steep, in terms of human lives.

    In the meantime, our species is evolving as we speak. There will be offspring among us who will see money – and power – as irrelevant and trivial.

  27. Seems on every continent mining is just too dangerous these days:

    No attempt to rescue trapped miners tonight – police

    There will be no attempt to rescue 29 miners trapped in the West Coast’s Pike River Coal mine tonight.

    Tasman District police area commander Superintendent Gary Knowles told One News the last sampling of mine quality air was taken at 4pm, with no further samplings until tomorrow morning.

    It means a second night underground for the miners.

    Mr Knowles said the mine air quality was still unsuitable for a rescue attempt.

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