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Lincolns Gettysburg Address The Manipulation of Language The power of words has rarely been given a more compelling demonstration than in the Gettysburg Address Lincoln was asked to memorialize a gruesome battle Instead he gave the whole nation a new birth of freedom By tracing its first birth to the Declaration of Independence which called all men equal rather than to the Constitution which tolerated slavery In the space of a mere 272 words Lincoln brought to bear the rhetoric of the Greek Revival the categories of Transcendentalism and the imagery of the rural cemetery movement In his book Gary wills by examining both the Address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame breathes new life into words we thought we knew and reveals much about a President so mythologized but often misunderstood Wills shows how Lincoln came to change the world to effect an intellectual revolution how his words had to and did complete the work of the guns The Civil War is to most Americans what Lincoln wanted it to mean In this book Garry Wills brilliantly explains how Lincoln wove a spell that has not yet been broken Lincoln at Gettysburgs book is a tribute not just to the genius of Lincoln but also to the power of language itself which sometimes compromises the mind in order to save the soul For Example depending on the state he was giving a speech Lincoln would advocate or reject slavery in order to capture the audiences attention therefore compromising his thought process with his beliefs To extract the original context and relevance of an American institution Lincoln in his account of the Battle of Gettysburg nearly five months later a cemetery was erected on the site Against all odds Lincoln not only brought dignity to this hellish battleground but ensured forever that Americans would interpret the Constitution and the
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