Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Re-Made America.
The official orator at Gettysburg was Edward Everett, President of
Harvard and America's most distinguished Hellenic scholar. He spoke
for two hours, though without a text, a 58-paragraph survey not only of
the War but of episodes drawn from Greek -- and French Revolutionary --
history. This was then the expected and familiar funerary fashion.
Lincoln spoke for three minutes, in a bare plain prose, rich in its
biblical cadence, and strongly repetitive. Garry Wills traces
Lincoln's style and the content of his address to the rhetoric of
the Greek Revival, and shows that for Lincoln the 'new nation'
born in 1776 had by November 1863 been born again. In a penetrating
analysis, that reveals his early training as a Greek scholar, Wills
reveals that the President's 272 words transformed the
country's view of its origins and of the bitter War that had still
a year-and-a-half to run.