Hello Richard,I have recorded video of the entire celebration as well a separate one of Brown's VERY MOVING 'eulogy' to Alonzo Cushing . . .Bob
Thanks Bob - yes, the whole ceremony is now available on the link in the post as well.
(Again my comment is too long so I'll post it in 2 parts.)Now, I'm no fan of the Gettysburg Address (and said so here last year on the 150th commemoration). I find the November 19, 1863 speech deceptive, self-serving, and hypocritical, although a decent respect for the opinions of others requires I note the elevated rhetoric and the virtues of brevity.I consider it Lincoln's first important campaign speech for the 1864 Presidential election. Public opinion in the North started turning against the war right after the embarrassing loss at First Manassas (Bull Run) and over time as costs and casualties mounted in the face of a string of bitter Union losses the notion of armed opposition to Southern Independence began increasingly wearing thin as an excuse for continuing the war. The Copperhead movement was rapidly growing and the trend in Northern opinion was to let the South go and be done with hostilities.Lincoln could foresee that if he was to have any chance of winning reelection 1864 he needed 3 things: battlefield victories; a much better rational for the unpopular war; and a way to prevent France and Great Britain from recognizing the Confederacy.Lincoln had no choice but to rely on the generals he selected for the military victories but he could address the other 2 issues himself. He began by linking secession to slavery, Lincoln understood that no European government could openly ally with a slave power. The Emancipation Proclamation was to be his primary weapon. It would undermine the Southern economy, cause difficulty for the Confederate army to recruit replacement soldiers, and most importantly keep self-interested European powers from taking sides.Additionally, when Union forces turned back Robert E Lee's first invasion of the North at Sharpsburg, Maryland (Antietam) in September of 1862, it gave Lincoln the opportunity he needed to issue his well considered and carefully worded Emancipation Proclamation which cynically freed the slaves in Confederate States (where the Union had no authority) but kept them in bondage in border states (Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and West Virginia) and in areas of Confederate States under Union occupation.The EP worked to prevent France and the UK from recognizing the Confederacy, but changing the war's prime rational from opposition to secession to opposition to slavery (after he had repeatedly denied the significance of the peculiar institution) was going to be a more difficult task.The fortuitous battle at Gettysburg which turned back Robert E Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania presented Lincoln with a golden opportunity to redefine the war in terms he could more easily defend.
Ostensibly Lincoln had come to the Gettysburg battlefield 4 months after the battle to dedicate a proper final resting place for fallen Union soldiers, (Confederate dead received more perfunctory disposal) but history remembers Lincoln's words on that solemn occasion announcing a change in his rational for making war on the Confederacy. Opposition to Southern Secession had outlived its usefulness as the justification for Federal aggression and had to evolve in order to better serve Lincoln's political needs.At Gettysburg Lincoln began his remarks by referencing the Declaration of Independence by implication and reminding his audience our nation was "...conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." But among other omissions he conveniently neglected to mention the same document's powerful opening statement because it completely exposes the bold and ruthless deception which followed:When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them...Then having carefully cherry picked the DoI to support his hidden agenda, Lincoln paid lip-service to the Union dead before cleverly playing his trump card: Lincoln claimed Union deaths would not have been in vain if Federal armed forces were to ensure that government of the Confederate people, by the Confederate people, and for the Confederate people did in fact perish from the face of the earth.Here's the full context for the DoI hook Lincoln's argument hangs itself on:We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, -- That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (emphasis added)Lincoln got away with his deception and 151 years later some people are still willing to stand outside in the cold and listen to it.
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