Community Education

The Gettysburg Address Challenges America - A Conversation

November 19, 2012 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Desmond Campus

The Gettysburg Address lives in popular imagination as sweetly poetic patriotism. While that perspective has value, deeper meanings in Abraham Lincoln’s great words are often overlooked. This conversation explores how the Gettysburg Address asks what it means to be an American. What is the meaning of the phrase “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, and in Lincoln’s quotation of that phrase? How does the Constitution fit a discussion of equality? Though the promise of equality now seems ideal and inevitable, Lincoln’s foes dismissed the Declaration’s reference to equality as mere opinion, with no legal standing, and instead invoked the Constitution, because it allowed slavery. Beyond equality, what was the “great task” that Lincoln said remained? And what is the fundamental basis of our government? By asking what it means to be an American, and what America is, Lincoln joined a conversation that continues today.

D. Carlyon
Sponsored by NY Council for the Humanities

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