The Gettysburg Address was delivered on November 19, 1863, four months after the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. It was immediately seen as a rhetorical triumph for President Abraham Lincoln and a splendid expression of the principles of American democracy. But not by everyone. Quite a few newspapers sneered at it. What sort of comments would it have attracted if it had been published on a 19th Century internet?
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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 battlefield 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.
EdwardEverett: Well done, Mr President. I spoke before you for two hours, but I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.
Seneca: Complete crap. The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.
AmericanPatriot: @seneca, you’re full of it. This was a speech for the ages.
Seneca: @americanpatriot. Change your handle to @hayfoot-strawfoot. Here’s what the London Times had to say: “The ceremony was rendered ludicrous by some of the luckless sallies of that poor President Lincoln.” Learn to read, you ignoramus.
TippecanoeAndTylerToo: This speech moved me to tears.
Seneca: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here”. Yup. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
WhiteHouseMary: a perfect gem that is deep in feeling, compact in thought and expression, and tasteful and elegant in every word and comma. Way to go, Mr President.
OldVirginny: Let me guess: This wouldn’t be Mary-who-lives-at-the-White-House Todd Lincoln? Typical of this popularity slut you Unionists elected President that he has to get his wife to praise him. Who else would?
BoysInBlue: why is MercatorNet letting this secessionist scum comment in this forum? Its editors are poisonous blots on the Republic.
DixieLover: You guys live in a bubble, your own little private echo chamber. Burble away, @BoysInBlue. Here’s what someone objective had to say: “A vein of comedy was permitted to mingle with the deep pathos of the piece. This singular novelty, and the deviation from classic propriety, was heightened by assigning this part to the chief personage. Kings are usually made to speak in the magniloquent language supposed to be suited to their elevated position. On the present occasion Lincoln acted the clown.” Why don’t you subscribe to the Richmond Dispatch and get some real news?
GloryGloryHallelujah: this disgraceful effusion by this Illinois backwoodsman made me weep. Yes, his words are noble, but his heart is full of self-righteous duplicity. What are we really fighting this war for? That the slaves might be free, that the black man might break his fetters, shatter the yoke and snatch the lash from the hand of his tormenter. IS THERE ONE WORD ABOUT SLAVERY IN THIS ADDRESS? NOT ONE!!!!!
JohnBrownsBody: Lincoln was, is, and ever will be an opportunist. His only aim is to keep the plutocrats of New York happy as the buzzards batten on the battlefields. When did he emancipate the slaves? Two years after the outbreak of hostilities. He only freed them when when his military ineptitude became evident. He needed our black brothers as cannon fodder for the armies which are devouring our young men. A 24-caret Janus-faced hypocrite.
DixieLover: I freed my slaves in 1856. We are fighting for states’ rights. In any case, I’d rather live on my neighbour’s plantation than in an Irish slum in New York. You Yankees make me sick with your hypocrisy.
GloryGloryHallelujah: Being an apologist for slavery is as bad as owning them. Look within your own breast for hypocrisy, @DixieLover.
Copperhead: This fungus from the corrupt womb of bigotry and fanaticism has been sending our young men to the abbatoirs of Antiedam and Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Why the bloodshed? Why the weeping mothers? Why the grieving widows? Why the orphaned innocents? Why the maimed? Why the ruined farmers? Why? We want peace now. And what did this monkey do to the only man courageous enough to tell American voters the truth about how to end this war, Clement Vallandigham? He expelled him and sent him into exile.
StarsAndStripes: What twaddle!
Horatio: This is rank treason. Vallandigham is a yoke-fellow of Satan, a despoiler of the Union. Our boys died in their thousands at Gettysburg and he now spews his lies from the safety of Canada.
OldGlory: These Copperheads have won every competition for America’s Biggest Loser.
BoysInBlue: if you are arresting anyone for being a copperhead, send out the bloodhounds for the weasels at MercatorNet who allow this treasonous filth to meet the light of day.
Gideons300: “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”. Yeah, right. What about people who want to secede? Justice will triumph.
NehemiahStevenson: This man will be re-elected next year. A leader. A giant among men. Thank God that the nation was wise enough to repudiate that jackass Stephen A. Douglas. So SAD.
ILoveLittleGiant: No, he won’t.
NehemiahStevenson: YES, HE WILL.
ILoveLittleGiant: Dream on.
NehemiahStevenson: Crawl out from under your rock, @ILoveLittleGiant. What is your real name? Defend your moronic opinion like a man.
ILoveLittleGiant: Anonymity is a First Amendment right. How do I know that Nehemiah Stevenson is a man or a mangy mongrel? In fact, with opinions like yours, you probably are an illiterate mangy mongrel.
NehemiahStevenson: Thank God he’s dead, that’s all I can say. What would have happened if that SAD man had been elected?
DixieLover: Let me guess: Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chickamauga, Seven Pines, Bull Run again, Chancellorsville? Whoever your President is, you Yankees are still a bunch of deluded no-hopers.
OldGlory: How about Gettysburg, @DixieLover? At full-time, the score was Union 23,055 casualties; Rebels 23,231 casualties. A clear win for the home team, I’d say.
Seneca: “of the people, by the people, for the people” sounds a bit rich in the mouth of a man who has abused the power of presidential edict and executive order. He has suspended habeas corpus, confiscated property without compensation, tried thousands of civilians under military tribunals. This guy makes Hitler look like my sainted grandmother.
GloryGloryHallelujah: Hitler? Who is Hitler? I’ve never met your grandmother, but she sounds terrifying.
AmericanPatriot: You guys are A-grade morons. Hitler won’t even be born for another 26 years.
Seneca: How is that relevant? Nero, Vlad the Impaler, Peter the Great, Napoleon, Lincoln, Hitler: all cut from the same cloth. The truth hurts, @AmericanPatriot.
Abraham Lincoln is president of the United States. Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet