Many more than four score and seven years ago on this day, November 19th, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The speech itself—five known copies exist—and the circumstances of its composition and delivery have been long debated. On the occasion of Lincoln’s birthday in 1909, the historian William H. Lambert took to the pages The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography to consider (and eventually dismiss) the accounts that suggest Lincoln dashed off the 271-word speech at the last minute. Lambert’s account and Lincoln’s handwritten facsimile of the speech therein are a fascinating lesson in how history takes shape.
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