Analysis of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 735 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Words: 735|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jan 29, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Historical Context of the Gettysburg Address
  2. Analysis of Lincoln's Rhetorical Strategies
  3. Use of Ethos
    Use of Pathos
    Use of Logos
  4. Examination of Lincoln's Central Message
  5. Emphasis on Unity and Equality
    Resolution for the Nation's Future
  6. Impact and Legacy of the Gettysburg Address
  7. Influence on Subsequent Leaders and Speeches
  8. Conclusion
  9. References

The Gettysburg Address is one of the most iconic speeches in American history. Given by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863, it is regarded as a masterpiece of oratory and a defining moment in the nation's history. In this essay, we will examine Lincoln's rhetorical strategies, his central message, and the impact and legacy of the Gettysburg Address.

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Historical Context of the Gettysburg Address

Before analyzing the speech itself, it is important to understand the historical context in which it was given. The Civil War had been raging for over two years, and the Union was locked in a bitter struggle with the Confederacy. The Battle of Gettysburg, fought in July 1863, was a turning point in the war, with the Union emerging victorious. This battle resulted in a high number of casualties and served as the impetus for Lincoln's visit to Gettysburg later that year. As the commander-in-chief of the Union army, Lincoln was responsible for the war effort.

Analysis of Lincoln's Rhetorical Strategies

Lincoln's speech is famous for its memorable phrases and its ability to convey a deep sense of purpose and meaning in a short amount of time. This was achieved through his use of ethos, pathos, and logos.

Use of Ethos

Lincoln's credibility as President gave him a natural advantage in establishing his ethos. His strong character and leadership in a time of crisis were well known. He emphasized the moral authority of his words by emphasizing the principles of democracy such as the rule of law, equality, and patriotism.

Use of Pathos

Lincoln used pathos to appeal to the audience's emotions. He painted a vivid picture of sacrifice and loss, calling attention to the great cost of the war and the need to honor the fallen. He also emphasized the importance of preserving the Union for future generations.

Use of Logos

Lincoln used logic to make his case for unity and equality. He presented clear and logical arguments to support his ideas. For example, he argued that equality was inherent in the Declaration of Independence and that it was the obligation of all Americans to uphold this principle. He also noted that preserving the Union was crucial to achieving this goal.

Examination of Lincoln's Central Message

Emphasis on Unity and Equality

Lincoln emphasized unity and equality as the central message of the speech. He stressed the importance of unity in the face of a divided nation and the need to work together to rebuild and create a better future for all citizens.

Resolution for the Nation's Future

Lincoln also provided a resolution for the nation's future, calling for the rebuilding and moving forward of the country, united under a common purpose and vision. This message of hope and perseverance has resonated throughout the years and has become a symbol of the American spirit.

Impact and Legacy of the Gettysburg Address

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address had an immediate impact on the nation and the world. It was met with a thunderous applause, and even those who were opposed to Lincoln's administration were moved by his words. The speech also had a lasting impact on American history, with its emphasis on unity and equality becoming ingrained in the collective consciousness of the country.

Influence on Subsequent Leaders and Speeches

The Gettysburg Address has influenced subsequent leaders and speeches, including Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech. King drew on Lincoln's emphasis on equality and unity, adapting it to the Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for racial equality. The legacy of the Gettysburg Address also extends to the present day, with its emphasis on democratic values and principles still relevant and important in our current political climate.

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In conclusion, the Gettysburg Address stands as a testament to Lincoln's ability as a rhetorician, his commitment to democracy, and his vision for a better future for all Americans. Through his use of ethos, pathos, and logos, Lincoln was able to convey a deep sense of purpose and meaning in his speech that has resonated throughout the years. The message of unity and equality remains as relevant now as it did over a century ago, and the Gettysburg Address continues to be an inspiration to people all over the world.


  1. McPherson, J. M. (1988). Battle cry of freedom: The Civil War era. Oxford University Press.
  2. Blight, D. W. (2002). Race and reunion: The Civil War in American memory. Harvard University Press.
  3. Fornieri, J. R. (2006). The Gettysburg Address: Perspectives on Lincoln's greatest speech. SIU Press.
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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Analysis of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. (2024, January 29). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Analysis of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.” GradesFixer, 29 Jan. 2024,
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