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The Gettysburg Address… What did he actually say?

“Four score and seven years ago…”

150 years ago this month, President Abraham Lincoln delivered what we now consider to be one of the greatest speeches of all time. Interestingly enough, since 5 different manuscripts exist [1], there is some disagreement amongst historians concerning what he actually said. Might original newspapers of the day with eye witness accounts provide the answer? If the speech had been long we probably wouldn’t have a high degree of confidence in the newspaper reporters’ accounts, but the brevity of the speech certainly increases the probability of an accurate transcription. Original reports may not have the definitive answer to this question, but they certainly provide reasonable evidence regarding what was actually spoken. Once again, “History is never more fascinating than when it is read from the day it was first reported.

View Authentic Newspapers with Gettysburg Address Coverage [2] [3]

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1 Comment To "The Gettysburg Address… What did he actually say?"

#1 Comment By Charles Signer On 11/20/2013 @ 5:54 am

It may be possible to come up with a written draft of the speech without “under God” in it, but there is no doubt in my mind that the two word were in the speech as delivered by Lincoln at Gettysburg.

The contemporary newspaper reports that I have seen from the speech all have “under God” in the text. The speech was transcribed by reporters from competing newspapers who wrote it down by shorthand as they heard it from the mouth of Lincoln. All heard and wrote down “under God.”