Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
The Manipulation of Language
The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was asked to memorialize a gruesome battle. Instead he gave the whole nation "a new birth of freedom". By tracing its first birth to the Declaration of Independence (which called all men equal) rather than to the Constitution (which tolerated slavery). In the space of a mere 272 words, Lincoln brought
showed first 75 words of 395 total
showed last 75 words of 395 total
equal rights for all human beings of the Declaration of Independence. He revolutionized the Revolution, giving people the insight and motivation that would change their future indefinitely.
Wills's brilliance is proven with his insights in to how Lincoln's speech reflected the Unionist empty words of Daniel Webster, transcendentalism, and the imagery of the rural cemetery movement, and especially, the section in which Lincoln set a new standard for American prose style with 272 carefully chosen words.