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4 Things You Don’t Know About the Gettysburg Address

August 29th, 2012

Regardless of political views, people consider the Gettysburg Address to be the most memorable and influential speech in history.  After all, Abraham Lincoln had a massive challenge — to unite Americans after the Civil War tore them apart, and to do it while overlooking the graves of thousands of soldiers who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

The speech’s mark on history is even more impressive when you consider that:

  •  It was short

At just 272 words, the Gettysburg Address was over in less than three minutes

Can you remember what was said in the 2012 State of the Union Address?  It lasted 77 minutes, and I bet you don’t remember a single one of its talking points!

  •  Lincoln wrote it all himself

Can you imagine today’s leaders sitting down at their desk and writing their own speech — then delivering it flawlessly without a teleprompter?!

  •  No one clapped

Unlike the hooting and hollering that we see during political speeches today, the response at the end of the Gettysburg Address was stone-cold silence — which stirred up all kinds of debate.  Some people thought it was proof that the audience didn’t like it.  Others thought the silence showed that people were in awe of what Lincoln had just said.

  •  Lincoln had smallpox at the time

The day before the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln told his assistants he didn’t feel so good, and they said he looked weak and dizzy.  Within a few days, Lincoln had a high fever, major aches and pains, and skin that was covered in red blisters.  Now THAT’S devotion to the task at hand!


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