Although the best U.S. presidential speeches can be subjective, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, is most likely to appear on everyone’s top 10 list. Its popularity only escalates each time an American or foreigner goes to the National Mall and walks past Lincoln’s memorial where the wonderful words are written.
Only five copies of his speech were written by Abraham Lincoln., but the most popular was given to Colonel Alexander Bliss. The only hand-written and signed copy of his Gettysburg Address sits in the Lincoln room of the White House. The Gettysburg Address that you have seen in textbooks is the copy given to Bliss and in the White House. Read it below:
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 — 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. 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 — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that 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.
November 19, 1863
A great blog with facts about the Gettysburg Address that you may not have known: http://blog.pennlive.com/gettysburg-150/2013/11/seven_things_you_may_not_have.html