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Nov 20

The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The words Abraham Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg comprise perhaps the most famous speech in history. Many books have been written about the Gettysburg Address and yet, as Lincoln scholar Gabor Boritt shows, there is much that we don't know about the speech. In The Gettysburg Gospel, he reconstructs what really happened on November 19, 1863.

Planning America's first national cemetery revitalized the traumatized people of Gettysburg, but the dedication ceremonies overwhelmed the town. Lincoln was not certain until the last moment whether he could come. But he knew the significance of the occasion and wrote his remarks with care. Frequently and, at times, hilariously misreported, few people initially recognized the importance of the speech. Boritt shows how Lincoln responded to the politics of the time and also clarifies which text he spoke from and how and when he wrote the various versions. In doing so, he removes a century of myths, lies, and legends to give us a clear understanding of this great speech - the words of which resoundingly echo in the American conscience to this very day.

Gabor Boritt is the Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. Born in World War II Hungary, he participated as a teenager in the 1956 revolution against the Soviet Union. He escaped to the United States, where he received his higher education and became a leading Lincoln scholar. Author, coauthor, or editor of sixteen books about Lincoln and the Civil War, his life story is soon to be the subject of a feature-length documentary film. He and his wife live on a farm near the Gettysburg battlefield, where they have raised their three sons.

More About the Speakers

Gabor Boritt
Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies and
Director of the Civil War Institute,
Gettysburg College

Hosted By

James Swanson James Swanson

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