The World Responds to Lincoln


More than 150 years after Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, a new book gives writers the opportunity to respond. The only catch, their essays had to be exactly 272 words -- the length of the original speech -- and be written in long-hand as Lincoln would have done. We talk with the editor who came up with the idea and one of the essayists. Joining us are Carla Knorowski, editor of Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and Graham Peck, an associate professor of history at St. Xavier University.

Read Lincoln's Gettysburg address.

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"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

Read essay excerpts from contributors. Click on the images to view larger versions of the entry.

Newton Minnow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and adviser to President John F. Kennedy:

Nikki Giovanni, poet, writer, commentator, activist, and educator:

Graham Peck, associate professor of history at Saint Xavier University in Chicago:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist:

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