Posted:  Mar. 3, 2014

The Greatest Speech, Ever  This book was written to be more than a specialized monograph about the Gettysburg Address. The author digressed along the way into side excursions and back rods of Abraham Lincoln's remarkable life- exploring his hardscrabble childhood, and his courageous but controversial Emancipation Proclomation. After all, to fully understand how the Gettysburg Address came to be. Part of the greatness of the Gettysburg Address is that the the DANA of Lincoln's life is found in every word. Senator Baker in his Foreward wrote "Judge Cotton's book is not only a fascinating and scholarly assessment of the Gettysburg Address and its impact on America, but also an absorbing look into Abraham Lincoln's life."

This is a very in depth look at the speech that President Lincoln gave in Gettysburg for the dedication of the memorial. The author said that he had not heard it or looked at it in a while until Sep 11, 2012 during the memorial for all of the people that were lost at the Twin Towers. This is a very in depth look at not only the speech and how it came about, but also about Lincoln. That he had his own body guard by the name of Ward Hill Lamon. He was paid $2.00 a week and he was a friend of Lincolns back when the President was a lawyer, he also campaign for him. Hill stood 6ft 2 inches, carried a gun, brass knuckles and was incorruptibly loyal and willing to step in front of a bullet or a blade to safe the President. Lincoln did not want to be seen as a King or someone who needed consent protection, but from the time he was elected into office he was receiving letters daily of threats of his life. Hill was really the only who saw though letters. Lincoln also made him and U.S.Marshall as well. As for the speech it really started back in 1858. He gave a speech in Chicago about immigrants and how they were promised the same assurances in the Declaration of Independence as someone who was born here in America. “That if not we are living a contradiction of the expressed promise of the Declaration of Independence “”All men are created equal”. Whether Thomas Jefferson consciously intended his words to extend that beyond white males, slaves, immigrant and people of color you do not know. It is not written. Lincoln’s argument spoken as a lawyer which he was at the time of this speech, was the word expressed promise that “ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.” It was like no one got it. On July 7 1863, celebrating the victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Lincoln speech was the beginnings of the Gettysburg address. “How long ago is it – 80 years since on the 4 of July for the first time in history of the world a nation by its representatives, assembled and declared a self-evident truth that all men are created equal”. He went on to say that the Confederate war against the Union was to overthrow that very principle. He went on to say, “Some people talk of freedom for the slaves a few speak of equality you cannot have either until you have both”. For this speech which I had never seen before was more powerful than the Gettysburg Address. The author also wrote about how Lincoln could have delayed the election of 1864, he did not because he said by “doing so would be like the South winning for we would be doing away with are principles”. He could not stand for that. That was something also no one had ever talked about. He then dispelled the rumors of the speech being written on an envelope or anything else. He only went by what is in museums and has been authenticated. The day of the speech was strange for a number of reasons. This has been in all of the books I have read about Lincoln, (my wife says too many). Lincoln in his Youngers years was a surveyor, so he meet with the man William Sanders, who was the landscape architect of the Soldier’s National Cemetery. He then toured the grounds with Seward, who was Sec of State. It would be nice to know if anything was said then. Then back to the podium, band played a short introduction and then the first speaker. Edward Everett he spoke for two hours. Boring, but they said he was entertaining, I don’t know how but all the books agree on the time. The President of The U.S. Lincoln gets up the crowd is stirring standing for two hours people begin to talk it is hot the President starts talking and he is done, his speech is less than 3 min and the ones that heard it say it was great but most people don’t even hear it. Mr. French said “it was the best speech he ever heard and wished he would have written it”. Really the speech was printed in some papers that for emancipation but the speech was torn apart by northern and southern papers. It would really be 50 years later that his speech was looked at again for what it really was and herald as one of the greatest speeches ever. But WW1 was beginning. Now the book at the time of the war South Carolina who actually fired the first shot, had more than half of their population were slaves. 1 out 7 persons in America was a slave & the south had when he became President over 4 million people languishing in human bondage in the south. Lincoln goal was freedom for all men, he believed ALL MEN WERE CREATED EQUEAL. No ands or buts about it the sad thing is he also killed for that belief. This is a good book with more information than what I gave in my review. You can tell I liked it. I got this book from net galley.

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