Crowds surround President Abraham Lincoln in one of the only surviving photographs of the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July 1863. Lincoln is hard to spot—he's facing the camera to the left of the large man in a top hat and sash in the middle of the image.
Photograph courtesy the National Archives

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  • On November 19, 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech at the dedication of a soldiers’ cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It would come to be regarded as one of the great speeches in U.S. history. On July 1, 1863, the armies of the Confederate and United States clashed at Gettysburg in one of the biggest battles of the American Civil War. An estimated 7,500 men died were interred at the cemetery Lincoln was dedicating.
     
    Lincoln’s speech was short. In two minutes, he drew attention to the principles of human equality written in the Declaration of Independence, and redefined the Civil War not just as a struggle between North and South but “a new birth of freedom” in the U.S.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    battle Noun

    violent encounter during a conflict.

    cemetery Noun

    place for burying the dead.

    Civil War Noun

    (1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).

    Confederate Adjective

    having to do with the Confederate States of America (south) during the Civil War.

    principle Noun

    rule or standard.

    redefine Verb

    to identify or organize in a different manner.

    soldier Noun

    person who serves in a military.