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November 19

Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863.

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Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Historical Figure & Event

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Invited to speak at the consecration of a memorial honoring the dead at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most well-known speeches in American history. While the speech is extremely short-just 267 words-Lincoln used the opportunity both to honor the sacrifice of the soldiers and to remind American citizens of the necessity of continuing to fight the Civil War. The Gettysburg Address stands as a masterpiece of persuasive rhetoric.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Middle and high school students should be able to do a close reading of the Gettysburg Address by using the Pre-AP strategy called SOAPSTone. Print a copy of the Address. Then, ask students to identify and discuss the following:

  • The Speaker of the text
  • The Occasion of the speech
  • The Audience (both present and after it was distributed)
  • The Purpose that Lincoln had in delivering it
  • The Subject matter discussed
  • The Tone of the piece Another interesting exercise for high school students is for them to compare Lincoln's Address with those of other famous orators, such as President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech.

    While younger students may find the text of this speech too advanced, they can certainly begin the process of identifying the purpose, structure, and means of persuasive speech and writing.
  • WEBSITES

     

     
    • The Gettysburg Address

      This site contains the full text of the Gettysburg Address as well as rough drafts and the only known photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg.

    • Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library

      The Library of Congress offers this collection of over 30,000 items by and about Abraham Lincoln. The collection includes letters and other items from Lincoln's presidency, as well as sheet music, pamphlets, and other items that reflect Lincoln's life and times.

    • Top 100 American Speeches of the 20th Century

      This site ranks the top 100 American speeches of the 20th century as determined in a nationwide survey. The speeches were rated on two criteria: rhetorical artistry and historical impact.

    RELATED RESOURCES

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    Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

    Analyzing Famous Speeches as Arguments

    Students are often asked to perform speeches, but rarely do we require students to analyze speeches as carefully as we study works of literature. In this unit, students are required to identify the rhetorical strategies in a famous speech and the specific purpose for each chosen device. They will write an essay about its effectiveness and why it is still famous after all these years.

     

    Grades   11 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

    What's the Purpose?: Examining a Cold Manipulation of Language

    With a crafty pen, Truman Capote wrote In Cold Blood to create a new genre and shock his audience. This lesson will help students examine Capote's manipulation of language as he forces his audience to take a different look at murderers and consider a different definition of nonfiction. His unique purpose leaves students an interesting text to consider.

     

    Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

    Can You Convince Me? Developing Persuasive Writing

    Through a classroom game and resource handouts, students learn about the techniques used in persuasive oral arguments and apply them to independent persuasive writing activities.

     

    Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

    Engaging Students in a Collaborative Exploration of the Gettysburg Address

    In small groups, students closely examine one sentence from the Gettysburg Address and create a multigenre project communicating what they have discovered about the meaning and significance of the text.

     

    Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

    Myth and Truth: The Gettysburg Address

    By exploring myths and truths surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, students think critically about commonly believed stories regarding this famous speech from the Civil War era.