The strength of any given nation depends on how firm the nation sticks to its values, ideals, and principles, when faced with great adversities. It is for this reason that all nations have their founding principles and values that they can turn to in moments of tribulations. They need a leader who will constantly remind them of why the founding tenets matter to them in their journey of progress and unity as a country. History is awash with numerous cases where the strength and will of a nation have been put to the test. One instance is the case of the Great Civil War of the 1860s in America where Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburgs Address was able to remind Americans of the need to use their founding principles as their source of strength and unity in the tough times that preceded the historic war of 1863.
A careful analysis of the Gettysburg Address shows Lincolns commitment and belief in the American founding principles that all men are created equal and should strive to enjoy their liberties and unity without any interference. According to Lincoln, the Great Civil war was a historic moment for America as a nation (Grady 164). It was a time when the nations strength and resilience were put to the test. He does this by reminding the citizens of their historic triumph in attaining their independence from the British eighty-seven years before the Civil war. He depicts this by stating fourscore 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 (Murray 239). The quote is an affirmation that the war that was facing them could be won if all Americans would ascribe to the words of their founding fathers and sticking to the quest for unity and liberty for all Americans. According to Lincolns speech, the Great Civil war was a perfect time to test Americans commitment to using their founding principles and values in times of trouble as pointed in the quote: Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure (Murray 239).
History provides better lessons to human beings in their quest to achieve their goals and purpose in life. In the case of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln reminds Americans of their history as a nation founded on principles of unity and liberty for all without any form of discrimination (Foner 519). This is evident in the lines; But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot 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 (Murray 239). In this case, the use of the hallowed ground in the speech alludes to the sacred ground where the dead are buried. He uses it in the context of honoring the brave soldiers who fought to deliver America from bondage during the battle. As a result, he believes the best way to honor the soldiers who lost their lives in the war was to practice what the nation was fighting for; A nation that is united, where all are valued and treated with dignity (Grady 165). It is the practice of what the soldiers fought for that Americans would emerge as a new nation where freedom and liberty for all reigns.
In conclusion, the Gettysburg Address provided an avenue and environment that all Americans, during that period and the posterior generation could enjoy liberties and freedoms. It was a call-to-arms for all Americans to show devotion and commitment towards their founding principles and values that bore the Great American nation. It is this aspect that Lincoln concludes his speech that America would not perish from the face of the earth if it lets democracy and commitment towards freedom and liberty reign. The speech serves as a perfect explanation on why America remains one of the most diverse nations that treats all its citizens as equals and allows them to enjoy their freedoms and liberties without fear of prejudice. They were able to triumph tough tests by ascribing to their founding principles and values as pointed out in the Gettysburg Address.
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History: Seagull Fourth Edition. Vol. 1. WW Norton & Company, 2013.
Grady, John. "Liberty and freedom: A visual history of Americas founding ideas." (2016): 164-165.
Murray, Jennifer M. "The Long Shadow of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address." (2016): 238-240.
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