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“Hay Draft” of the Gettysburg Address, 1863., page 2

Abraham Lincoln

House Divided Project at Dickinson College

House Divided Project at Dickinson College

The second draft of the Gettysburg Address, probably made by Lincoln shortly after his return to Washington from Gettysburg, was given to his secretary John Hay, whose descendants donated both it and the Nicolay copy to the Library of Congress in 1916. There are numerous variations in words and punctuation between these two drafts. Because these variations provide clues to Lincoln's thinking and because these two drafts are the most closely tied to November 19, they continue to be consulted by scholars of the period.

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  • Title: “Hay Draft” of the Gettysburg Address, 1863., page 2
  • Creator: Abraham Lincoln
  • Original Source: Library of Congress
  • Transcription: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon 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 here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it 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 can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. 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 here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
  • Reproduction Number: Digital ID # secdrt1 and secdrt2

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