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Gettysburg Address – Rhetorical Analysis

An rhetorical analysis of one of the famous speech – The Gettysburg Adress by Abraham Lincoln.

                 November 19, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln writes a speech that becomes one of the most known speeches in America. Lincoln wrote this speech in response to many solders that died in the civil war in Gettysburg, it brought great sadness to the nation. He argues that the people who sacrificed their lives for freedom should be honored. In order to support his claim he uses rhetorical strategies – ethos, pathos, logos.                                                                                                 Lincoln earns the audience respect through his title, and words of choice through his presentation. For example, “President Abraham Lincoln”, when the reader reads his speech or they hear him read it we know his title is the highest title in the nation and he was great at making peace and ending the civil war, giving him credibility. Other examples shown in his speech like, “dedicated”, “consecration”, and “hollow”. In his speech he shows the reader the words he chooses to give him more credibility. Lincoln’s authority gave him a lot of respect from the reader, but he really connected with them to show what he was trying to say.                                                       The way Lincoln uses pathos connects the reader to his speech. For example, in the speech he says, “…a final resting place for those who have gave their lives    …” this is an emotional part for those families who lost someone in the civil war and is now going to be remembered for giving their lives for “the great task” – a new birth of freedom. Lincoln also uses “we” and our in his speech which gives the audience the feeling that they have the purpose in this that all of us as a nation are together. This speech needs more than ethos to persuade his readers. He needed facts.                                                                                                                                 Logos is an important part of a speech or an argument. It gives facts and answers the reader’s needs to move to action. Lincoln does just that in his speech. He says, “A new birth of freedom”. This tells the audience what the soldiers were fighting for, “the great task”. Another example in his speech was, “four scores and seven years ago our father brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty”. This relates to logos because it’s a fact that has happened 87 years ago, this country was made.                                                                                          In writing this speech, Lincoln used ethos, pathos, and logos, to show that he believes that people will sacrifice their lives for the country should be honored. Many soldiers died in Gettysburg for a new birth of freedom for the Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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3 Responses to “Gettysburg Address – Rhetorical Analysis”
  • Jack.B
    October 12th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Intersting! This just gave me a good idea for my class lesson.

  • Dan Van Haften
    February 29th, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    There is a hidden structure to the Gettysburg Address. Post-1853 Abraham Lincoln used the structure provided by the six elements of a Euclidean proposition (which he learned by studying Euclid) for his speeches, letters, and legal arguments. The book I co-authored, “Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason”, shows how Lincoln did this. It also reveals how Thomas Jefferson used this structure for the Declaration of Independence.

  • josh
    February 28th, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    hey man thanks for the essay for my lit class.

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