1105333226 2004 English Advanced Notes Hussain Essay

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Abraham Lincoln: Government of the people, by the people, for the people’ 1863

Also known as the ‘Gettysburg Address’, this concise speech is simple in its language yet carries a complex message of freedom for all men including the abolition of Negroes in slavery during the period of the Civil War in America. Given at Gettysburg after a great battle and victory for the North, Lincoln praises the efforts of the dead and also calls upon the living to continue fighting for the cause of liberty. It is a speech of passionate resolve and high ideals in a tone that is formal, as well as sombre, reflective, sincere and meaningful. Lincoln’s formal register reflects his status as the President of USA. The speech is a eulogy relaying a message of freedom for all men during the US Civil War with a profound purpose of honouring the dead and soldiers and reiterating the purpose of America as a nation and its support for war. The speech is structured chronologically with each separate paragraph examining the past, present and future respectively. This places the speech in a broader context, then examines the purpose and situation, then develops on what is needed for the future. The sentences are long and divided by pauses for a dramatic effect eliciting emotional responses. The commencing salutation, ‘Fellow countrymen’, establishes the theme of universality which is the core of the speech where everyone including the speaker is being addressed and reminds his American audience that America was founded on the double principle of freedom and equality. It also identifies self with his countrymen giving him a solemn tone. This inclusive, personalising and patriotic greeting immediately engages the audience who are the relatives of loved ones, soldiers, influential state governors whose support he needed, large crowd of ordinary citizens many of whom were bereaved by the war, other spectators and media also today’s wider American audience who pride in their values and beliefs. Lincoln places himself historically in his following commencing paragraph, ‘four score and seven years ago’ as this is the only fact that he states throughout, the rest of his address is primarily idealistic. The fact along with ‘our’ and ‘fathers’ establishes Lincoln’s rapport - a connection with his audience to inspire them with his passions. The allusions to Declaration of Independence in ‘liberty’ and ‘all men are created equal’ play on the American emotions of nationalism and the American dream. The second paragraph beginning with ‘Now’ instantaneously establishes the present situation and the first person plural pronoun ‘we’ engages the audience by including them as well as the speaker confirming his identification with the people of his nation. He refers to the specific occasion of his address – the dedication of a memorial to the fighting men ‘who here gave their lives that that nation might live’, the paradox of this idea is blatant as the soldiers are themselves part of the nation. Lincoln uses the word ‘nation’ and calls on ‘freedom’ as a rallying point making his language evocative and inspirational. The ‘great battle-field’ confirms that the dead fought in a great battle thus died nobly. The purpose of his address, to dedicate new military cemetery, is outlined at the paragraph’s end as he admits that ‘we have come to dedicate a portion of that field’. He goes on to confirm the rightness of dedication of a special war cemetery in ‘It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this’. The paragraph’s progressive increases in length amplify Lincoln’s purpose directing his audiences’ attention in increasing degrees from the past, to the present and to the call for action that shapes their future. The concluding paragraph develops Lincoln’s political message – the greatness of those ‘brave men’ who have died. The rhetorical technique of triple utterances is noticeable in the repetition of ‘we cannot dedicate… consecrate… hollow this