The great Battle of Gettysburg, fought for three days in July 1863 through the streets and around the countryside of the little Pennsylvania town, was the turning point of the Civil War. Congress decided to make a national cemetery of the battlefield where so many gallant men had fallen. President Lincoln came from Washington to dedicate that cemetery. His dedication speech of November 19, 1863, short as it is, is one of the most eloquent statements of the democratic faith ever made.
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-his 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-hat from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-hat 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.