|The symbol of freedom
|I am proud to be an American and a Southerner.
In the history of our world, freedom has been a very rare luxury. We are fortunate
to live in a country that was conceived in the proposition that; " All men are created equal." That governments
do not give us "rights", but are instituted to protect and preserve the rights we are born with. This was
a radical and unique departure from the normal course of human events, and it changed the world. Our Country is not perfect,
nothing is. But, our Country is the finest that human creativity , desire, and endevor, has ever produced.
We have been attacked by those that would impose their will upon others without consent. I have no doubt, nor fear, that our
nation will respond and liberty will prevail. We can do no less. We are, after all, Americans. History is on our side.
| They are endowed by their Creator with certain
|Battered, worn, Defiant.
Four score 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 battle-field
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 can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not 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.
Our present position has been achieved in a manner unprecedented
in the history of nations. It illustrates the American idea that government rests upon the consent of the governed,
and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish a government whenever it becomes destructive of the ends for
which it was established. The declared purposes of the compact of Union from which we have withdrawn were to establish
justice, insure domestic tranquillity, to provide for the common defence, to promote the general welfare, and to secure the
blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity; and when in the judgment of the sovereign States now comprising this
Confederacy it had been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the ends for which
it was established, an appeal to the ballot box declared that so far as they were concerned the government created by that
compact should cease to exist. In this they merely asserted a right which the Declaration of
Independence of 1776 defined to be inalienable.