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“WAS THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS A MISTAKE?”

November 19, 2013

GoodOleWoody's Blog and Website

POLITICO MAGAZINE

By Chuck Thompson

Four score and 70 years ago, America’s Great Emancipator delivered the most famous speech ever made by a U.S. president. Universally regarded as a triumph of genius and brevity, Abraham Lincoln’s stirring Gettysburg call for national reconciliation in the midst of the Civil War was a 272-word masterstroke of empathy, statesmanship and diplomacy.

It was also a missed opportunity.

The speech remains eternally inspiring for the way Lincoln refrained from laying explicit blame at the feet of an enemy so embittered to the cause upon which he’d staked his life (literally, as it would turn out) that it had eagerly thrown itself into its own fight to the death.

 Lincoln sidestepped all that rage. And in so doing, he sidestepped the lessons of Gettysburg, thereby failing to predict—or prevent—the ways in which they were fated to play out over the next century and…

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