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Writing the Gettysburg Address

Writing the Gettysburg Address

Martin P. Johnson

Publication Year: 2013

The dramatic and surprising story of how Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address, this book solves the central mysteries that for over 150 years have surrounded our nation’s most admired speech. Follows Lincoln from Washington to Gettysburg as he composed, revised, and then delivered this important statement of American identity.

Published by: University Press of Kansas

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

...origins and writing of a speech that had become such an important part of American identity should be surrounded by so many questions. Early on, it became clear that much of the confusion arose from the encrustation of error accumulated over...

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Introduction: The Mysteries of the Manuscripts

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pp. 1-9

...Lincoln at Gettysburg. Few images of the American past run deeper in the national memory than that of the tall martyr president dedicating the cemetery for the honored dead of the greatest battle of the Civil War. But in our postheroic era, depictions...

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1. "It Will Be an Interesting Ceremony"

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pp. 10-34

...Lincoln had finally decided just two or three days before that he would be able to attend the dedication ceremony of the Gettysburg cemetery on November 19 for the honored dead of the Union’s greatest victory, but he was also in...

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2. The Washington Draft

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pp. 35-64

...Lincoln began to write what would later be called the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln’s writing of the speech in Washington has received remarkably little direct attention, having...

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3. A Celebrated Railway Journey

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pp. 65-87

...Lincoln stood on the platform at Gettysburg a day later he had traveled a long road, and because of this journey, and because of Lincoln’s understanding of the meaning the battle and the war had for the Republic, the speech also reflected Lincoln’s conception of the nation’s journey to Gettysburg, its path across time...

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4. Revisions in Gettysburg

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pp. 88-111

...“gathering my forces for tomorrow.” Still, the seventy-year-old went down to the Gettysburg station to greet the president and introduce him to David Wills. It was...

Photo Gallery

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pp. 112-123

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5. The Gettysburg Draft

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pp. 124-142

...anecdotes. No one had thought to bring extensive provisions along for what was supposed to be a four-hour trip, so as the train limped into one town, there was...

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6. The Battlefield Draft

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pp. 143-169

...arms there came the crowds, and all day long more arrived by train and cart and horse and foot. Scattered in houses and hotels across the town, a dozen governors...

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7. "What They Did Here"

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pp. 170-200

...thirty years before, similarly remembered, “We gathered about the house where Lincoln resided, and waited—led horses restlessly in attendance. The President came to the door, a fine flush and smile coming over his face at the rude welcome...

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8. "My Remarks at Gettysburg"

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pp. 201-234

...which of the early reports of Lincoln’s spoken words, virtually all of them from newspapers, are independent or reliable guides and which are merely corrupted copies of each other, because telegraphic variations in transmitting one text can...

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Conclusion: Who Wrote the Gettysburg Address?

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pp. 235-248

...Charles, who had inspired Longfellow’s touching poem “To a Child” and was just seventeen, had run off to join the army in spite of opposition from his father...


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pp. 249-300


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pp. 301-314


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pp. 315-322

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780700620647
Print-ISBN-13: 9780700619337

Page Count: 334
Illustrations: 12 photographs
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 -- Political and social views.
  • Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865. Gettysburg address.
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