150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

At this point, we have posted quite a few videos of people performing the Gettysburg Address. But with today as the anniversary of Lincoln’s speech, we thought Johnny Cash’s more musical interpretation makes for a nice soundtrack to accompany some facts about the Gettysburg Address.

  1. Lincoln DID prepare for his speech. Despite the contrary popular myth, Lincoln had begun researching and drafting his speech before leaving Washington D.C. While he only had a few weeks to prepare, most scholars agree that he did not wait until the train ride to begin considering his remarks.
  2. Lincoln delivered his remarks to a crowd of 15,000 people.
  3. William R. Rathvon is the only known person of that crowd of 15,000 to leave a recording detailing his experience, including a recitation of the address: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fU6UacteZus
  4. While there are five known manuscripts for the Gettysburg Address, they all contain slight variations so we don’t really know what Lincoln said exactly (but we have a pretty good idea). Most scholars follow the Bliss manuscript as the standard.
  5. Lincoln was not the only person delivering a speech that day; Lincoln was not even the headliner. That honor went to Edward Everett who spoke for two hours that day. Lincoln spoke for a little over two minutes; the standard version of the speech runs to only 272 words.
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