Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 7.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
November 19, 1863

FIRST DRAFT [2]

Executive Mansion, Washington, , 186

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 on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all proprietyPage  18 do. 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 hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated [3]

[Second Page]

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 these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, 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.

SECOND DRAFT [4]

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.

Page  19We are met here [5] on a great battle-field of that war. We have come [6] to dedicate a portion of it as a [7] final resting place for [8] those who [9] here gave their lives that that nation might live. It [10] 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 [11] it far above our poor [12] power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but [13] can never forget what they did here. It is [14] 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 [15] cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion---that we here highly resolve that [16] these dead shall not have died in vain; that this [17] nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this [18] government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

NEWSPAPER VERSION [19]

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. [Applause.] NowPage  20 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 are met to dedicate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here gave [20] their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our power [21] to add or detract. [Applause.] The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. [Applause.] It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the refinished [22] work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. [Applause.] 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 the [23] dead shall not have died in vain [applause]; that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth ofPage  21 freedom; and that Governments [24] of the people, by the people, and [25] for the people, shall not perish from the earth. [Long-continued applause.]

EDWARD EVERETT COPY [26]

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 on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, [27] 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 [28] 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 [29] 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 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, under God, [30] 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.

Page  22GEORGE BANCROFT COPY [31]

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on [32] 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 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, 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.

FINAL TEXT [33]

Address delivered at the dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg.

Page  23Four 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 [34] 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. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.