The Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Strategies Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  979 Words
Date:  2022-10-11

The Battle of Gettysburg, which lasted from July 1 through July 3, 1863 was considered the most important phase of the American Civil War. This battle proved to be a Union victory and stopped Confederate General Robert E. Lee from attempting to invade the North again. The three-day battle was the bloodiest of the Civil War's major conflicts. More than 50,000 people died in the three days. Abraham Lincoln delivered a powerful and inspiring speech on November 19, 1863 dedicating Gettysburg's battlefield cemetery, Pennsylvania. Lincoln's speech was short, at three minutes in length. This is a rare feat for leaders who used to give long speeches. This speech is often called the Gettysburg Address and is considered the most influential in American history. Lincoln paid tribute in it to Union soldiers who gave their lives. It is still well-known today, despite the fact that Lincoln did not know how popular his speech would be at the time. Lincoln uses rhetorical strategies like repetition, allusions and antithesis in the Gettysburg Address to remind listeners about the purpose of the soldier’s sacrifice: equality and freedom.

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Lincoln's address begins with an allusion about when the Declaration of Independence was signed. He began his address with the phrase "Four score seven years ago ..."". This was an allusion to the year 1776, which was 87years ago (Lincoln). Lincoln used this strategy to highlight the importance of equality and freedom in his topic, as well as the need for national unity, by recalling the founding history of the United States. His first sentence ends with an explicit allusion to The Declaration of Independence. He uses the line that all men are equal. This allusion again appealed at the common value of equality freedom and unity. Lincoln used many of his same words in such a brief speech. Lincoln's repetitive phrasing was deliberate as it emphasised the points he made. He repeated the word "dedicate," multiple times, at the beginning of his speech to acknowledge those who have fallen in love with their country. Lincoln also wanted Americans to be dedicated to building the nation and keeping true to its principles. Lincoln was able make a link between the dead who have given their last full measure to devotion and those who are dedicated to the preservation of the nation. Lincoln's address stressed the importance of equality and freedom through repetition and allusion.

To show his devotion to fallen soldiers, Lincoln uses the rhetorical strategies repetition and antithesis in his speech. He also convinces listeners to save the nation. Lincoln uses the words "our" and "we" several times during his speech (Lincoln). These words were used to create a sense of national unity during the Civil War, when the nation was divided. Lincoln preferred to use the pronoun "we" instead of "I" when addressing his message. Because collective work is crucial for the development of the nation, this pronoun was essential to use. It's not just the job of a president. Lincoln stressed the importance of repetition in his purpose by stressing that everyone can feel the loss and share the work ahead. Lincoln used the antithesis to contrast ideas. Lincoln creates a contrast between death and life by stating "...for all those who gave their lives so that this nation might live." It is engaging and compelling to communicate an idea with its opposite. This helps to clarify the thesis. It honors those who have died in war but keeps true to the principles that America was founded. Lincoln was able to use the antithesis to communicate a positive and inspiring tone in his speech. Although many died in battle, it was a reminder that death brings new life and that sacrifice is necessary to bring about the rebirth of the nation. It inspires those who survived the war to work for the cause of those who gave their lives. Lincoln used repetition and antithesis to bring unity and purpose into the hearts and minds that supported the Union and its soldiers.

Lincoln began his speech by referring to the Declaration of Independence. He then closes it by referring to the Constitution. The Constitution's first three words are "We the People" (Madison). They state that the Constitution's power comes from the people. Lincoln referred to the important document by ending with a powerful triple that is well-known around the world: "of, by, and for the people" (Lincoln). As he tried to connect the broken country, he linked two of America's most important founding documents. Lincoln began his speech by referring the Declaration of Independence's principles of human equality. He then connected these principles to the desire to preserve the Union founded in 1776 and its ideal of self government. Lincoln used references to the nation's founding documents to create a strong sense of unity in his speech to communicate the purpose of Civil War.


Lincoln used the rhetorical strategies antithesis, repetition and allusions to remind his audience of the sacrifices made by soldiers for equality, freedom and national unity. Because it took suffering and made meaning of it, the Gettysburg Address is undoubtedly America's most well-known speech. Lincoln spoke in less than 300 words and honored the Union dead. He also vowed to preserve the nation America founded. He reminded Americans what they were fighting for. Lincoln began by referring to the images of the founding fathers, and the new nation. He stated his conviction that the Civil War would be the ultimate test of North or South's victory. The victory of the Northerners preserved the United States as a single nation and ended slavery, which had previously divided the country. Because of its change in the nature and purpose of Civil War, Lincoln's argument convinced his opponents. It is important to remember his speech today, as he reaffirmed the nation's commitment to equality, freedom and national unity. Many Americans still remember the Gettysburg Address as a significant impact on society.

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The Gettysburg Address Rhetorical Strategies Essay Example. (2022, Oct 11). Retrieved from

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