American Romanticism in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address






Several aspects of American Romanticism are evident in Abraham Lincoln’s “Address Delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863”. Much of the Romantic language used in this excerpt illustrated the nation’s state and the Civil War. An aspect of American Romanticism stems from the theme of the Civil War. In the beginning of the address, Lincoln commences by asserting that, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. This statement verifies an aspect of Idealistic Philosophy regarding the reason for immigration in America. Additionally, it also provides a philosophy for the reason regarding the Civil War. This illustrates the Romantic superlative of being discontent with the present circumstances. It also symbolizes a belief in positive change. Consequently, Lincoln surmises, “…we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground” because “the brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it…” This statement illustrates the countless lives that soldiers lost for a laudable cause. It provides an indistinct scrutiny of the Civil War and propels the Union to believe that the cause is sacred. At the conclusion of the address, Lincoln progresses his argument further by asserting that the ones who sacrificed themselves “shall not have died in vain” and “this nation under God, shall have a new birth of freedom”. After three years of intense war, the citizens of the Union question the integrity and incentive of the war. Additionally, Lincoln also incorporates democratic values, which comprise American Romanticism. His statement, “-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” depicts support for democracy and individual freedom.

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