First, let's look at the actual text. Here's the version that is carved into the Lincoln Memorial (we'll talk about the others later):
Fourscore 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 this 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 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.
How Long Was It?
Before the official photographer could set up his camera again after photographing featured speaker Edward Everett, Lincoln got up, gave his speech and was already heading back to his seat. As a result, there are no known photos of Lincoln giving his speech at Gettysburg. For nearly 90 years, there were no photographs of Lincoln at Gettysburg at all, but that changed in 1952. That year, Washington, D.C., archivist Josephine Cobb is credited with finding one of the only images known to exist of Lincoln at Gettysburg.
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