Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America - Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 5 Summary

Edward Everett's stilted overblown style of speaking was typical of the times. However, the minute he sat down and Lincoln got up and delivered his Gettysburg Address, Everett's style became obsolete. Just as some say that all modern American novels come out of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, so it is not an exaggeration to say all modern political speech descends from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

On the surface, Lincoln's "plain" way of speaking seems natural and easy to do. However, Lincoln took years to perfect his simple and direct way of writing and speaking. He was a student of words or a "philologist." He and John Hay would get into long discussions about words. When they attended Shakespearean plays, they would afterwards discuss whether an actor emphasized the right word in each speech. Lincoln considered language the extreme invention of mankind and gave a...

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This section contains 884 words
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