Gettysburg Young Reader Title
The Gettysburg Address in Translation: What It Really Means

How long is four score and seven years? Just what are unalienable rights? This translation makes important historical documents meaningful. Each book translates the work of a primary source into a language you can understand.
Abraham Lincoln
The Gettysburg Address
Kindle Available
The Civil War

The Civil War
Introduces young readers to the harrowing true story of the American Civil War and its immediate aftermath. A surprisingly detailed battle-by-battle account of America's deadliest conflict ensues, culminating in the restoration of the Union followed by the tragic assassination of President Lincoln

Picture from the battlefield

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon 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 here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it 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 can never forget what they did here.

It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. 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 here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Gettysburg Address and the Bible
Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: Echoes of the Bible and Book of Common Prayer

This is a new look at the sources of one of history's great speeches. While it has long been determined that Abraham Lincoln's writings were influenced by the King James Bible, until now no full-length study has shown the precise ways in which the Gettysburg Address uses its specific language
A discussion about Presdient Lincoln's use of the phrase "Under God" in the Gettysburg Address

John George Nicolay Copy
This represents the earliest known of the five drafts of what may be the most famous American speech. Delivered by President Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at the dedication of a memorial cemetery on November 19, 1863, it is now familiarly known as the "Gettysburg Address." Drawing inspiration from his favorite historical document, the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln equated the catastrophic suffering caused by the Civil War with the efforts of the American people to live up to "the proposition that 'all men are created equal.'" This document is presumed to be the only working, or pre-delivery, draft and is commonly identified as the Nicolay Copy because it was once owned by John George Nicolay, Lincoln's private secretary. The first page is on White House (then Executive Mansion) stationery, lending strong support to the theory that it was drafted in Washington, D.C. But the second page is on what has been loosely described as foolscap, suggesting that Lincoln was not fully satisfied with the final paragraph of the Address and rewrote that passage in Gettysburg, on November 19, while staying at the home of Judge David Wills.

GENESIS OF THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. The theme of the Gettysburg Address was not entirely new. President Lincoln was aware of Daniel Webster's statement in 1830 that the origin of our government and the source of its power is "the people's constitution, the people's government; made for the people, made by the people, and answerable to the people." Lincoln had read Supreme Court Justice John Marshall's opinion, which states: "The government of the Union . . . is emphatically and truly a government of the people. . . . Its powers are granted by them and are to be exercised directly on them, and for their benefit." In a ringing anti-slavery address in Boston in 1858, Rev. Theodore Parker, the noted minister, defined democracy as "a government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people." On a copy of this address in Lincoln's papers, this passage is encircled with pencil marks. But Lincoln did not merely repeat this theme; he transformed it into America's greatest patriotic utterance. With the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln gave meaning to the sacrifice of the dead—he gave inspiration to the living.

Rather than accept the address as a few brief notes hastily prepared on the route to Gettysburg (an assumption which has long gained much public acceptance), it should be regarded as a pronouncement of the high purpose dominant in Lincoln's thinking throughout the war. Habitually cautious of words in public address, spoken or written, it is not likely that the President, on such an occasion, failed to give careful thought to the words which he would speak. After receiving the belated invitation on November 2, he yet had ample time to prepare for the occasion, and the well-known correspondent Noah Brooks stated that several days before the dedication Lincoln told him in Washington that his address would be "short, short, short" and that it was "written, but not finished."

THE FIVE AUTOGRAPH COPIES OF THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. Even after his arrival at Gettysburg the President continued to put finishing touches to his address. The first page of the original text was written in ink on a sheet of Executive Mansion paper. The second page, either written or revised at the Wills residence, was in pencil on a sheet of foolscap, and, according to Lincoln's secretary, Nicolay, the few words changed in pencil at the bottom of the first page were added while in Gettysburg. The second draft of the address was written in Gettysburg probably on the morning of its delivery, as it contains certain phrases that are not in the first draft but are in the reports of the address as delivered and in subsequent copies made by Lincoln. It is probable, as stated in the explanatory note accompanying the original copies of the first and second drafts in the Library of Congress, that it was the second draft which Lincoln held in his hand when he delivered the address. Quite opposite to Lincoln's feeling, expressed soon after the delivery of the address, that it "would not scour," the President lived long enough to think better of it himself and to see it widely accepted as a master piece. Early in 1864, Mr. Everett requested him to join in presenting manuscripts of the two addresses given at Gettysburg to be bound in a volume and sold for the benefit of stricken soldiers at a Sanitary Commission Fair in New York. The draft Lincoln sent became the third autograph copy, known as the Everett-Keyes copy, and it is now in the possession of the Illinois State Historical Library.

George Bancroft requested a copy in April 1864, to be included in Autograph Leaves of Our Country's Authors. This volume was to be sold at a Soldiers' and Sailors' Sanitary Fair in Baltimore. As this fourth copy was written on both sides of the paper, it proved unusable for this purpose, and Mr. Bancroft was allowed to keep it. This autograph draft is known as the Bancroft copy, as it remained in that family for many years. It has recently been presented to the Cornell University Library. Finding that the copy written for Autograph Leaves could not be used, Mr. Lincoln wrote another, a fifth draft, which was accepted for the purpose requested. It is the only draft to which he affixed his signature. In all probability it was the last copy written by Lincoln, and because of the apparent care in its preparation it has become the standard version of the address. This draft was owned by the family of Col. Alexander Bliss, publisher of Autograph Leaves, and is known as the Bliss copy. It now hangs in the Lincoln Room of the White House, a gift of Oscar B. Cintas, former Cuban Ambassador to the United States.

George Bancroft Copy - Held at Cornell University

"Fourscore 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 cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot 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 here 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."

Of the five known manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address, the Library of Congress has two. President Lincoln gave one of these to each of his two private secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. The other three copies of the Address were written by Lincoln for charitable purposes well after November 19. The copy for Edward Everett, the orator who spoke at Gettysburg for two hours prior to Lincoln, is at the Illinois State Historical Library in Springfield; the Bancroft copy, requested by historian George Bancroft, is at Cornell University in New York; the Bliss copy was made for Colonel Alexander Bliss, Bancroft's stepson, and is now in the Lincoln Room of the White House.

Did Lincoln add extemporaneously the phrase “under God”
as he delivered the last sentence of the Address?

Prior to the moment he rose to make the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln had not written the phrase “under God” into the final sentence of the text: for the undisputed evidence shows that the written text of the Address, which he held in his lap as he sat on the platform at Cemetery Hill and waited for Edward Everett to end his speech, does not contain the phrase. But did he speak the phrase to the audience gathered before him?

Proof of the fact that he did depends upon accepting as true the newspaper reports of the speech that were printed the day following Lincoln’s delivery of the speech. The New York newspaper reports, including the phrase “under God” in the text of the spoken speech, were based on the statement of Joseph L. Gilbert, a member of the staff of the Associated Press, who claimed he wrote the phrase down as he recorded what he heard Lincoln say. The evidence shows, however, that Gilbert did not record accurately what Lincoln actually said; for example, his version of Lincoln’s speech leaves out the adjective—poor—in the phrase “our poor power” Still other reporters present also appear to have included the phrase “under God” as having been spoken, though they, too, are not completely accurate in giving the exact words of his speech.

Several months later, Edward Everett wrote Lincoln, requesting an autograph copy of the text of the Address which Everett wished to include with his publication of his own quite lengthy speech, given before Lincoln spoke. The text Lincoln sent Everett includes the phrase “under God” as does the text Lincoln later sent to George Bancroft, the last version of the Address known to be in Lincoln’s hand.

The evidence shows that Lincoln spent much time molding and refining the text of his speech before he gave it, writing and rewriting it, deleting words and phrases, adding new ones etc. In the process of doing this, including here the long hours that he held the text in his lap waiting for Everett to finish speaking, it is clear that Lincoln did not include “under God” in the Address. Yet, when he rose and spoke for barely five minutes he suddenly improvised by adding the phrase ab lib? This is strange human behavior, indeed, for a  man known to have taken great pains to prepare the text, to not pencil in the phrase into the text as it occurred to him as he waited to speak through the offered prayers, the songs, and the speeches that went before he rose to speak.

Perhaps, the human explanation for the presence of the phrase in the history of the event lies in the politics of the moment, rather than in the nature of his speech-making or in his thoughts about “God.” The fact was that the newspaper reports attributed the phrase to him and, in providing Everett and Bancroft with their requested copies, he saw no practical reason for disputing it.    note by Author Joe Ryan    Read all Joe Ryan Original Works

Preservation Techniques for Original Drafts

In order to assure the long-term preservation of the two drafts of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in the Library of Congress collections, in the 1990s the Preservation Directorate commissioned the design and manufacture of two environmental cases, one for each document. In addition, the Library constructed a low temperature vault where these encasements and other Top Treasures of the Library will be permanently stored.

As shown in the images below of the display encasement for the Nicolay copy of the Gettysburg Address, the two cases are constructed of heavy-gauge stainless steel frames with clear Plexiglas panels to allow access and viewing of the documents from both sides of the case. The cases are filled with inert argon gas that replaces all the oxygen in the case thereby virtually eliminating deterioration from oxidation. The argon gas is humidified to a low relative humidity to retain the moisture level required in the document, while reducing the impact of high or fluctuating relative humidity. The Plexiglas filters out ultraviolet wavelengths to further protect the document from damaging non-visible radiation when on exhibition.

Prior to the bicentennial Lincoln exhibition (February–May 2009), the cases were assessed in 2008–2009 to integrate advances in technology and new high performance materials. The installation of new gasket materials and valves, and extensive leak testing of the cases, ensured continued high performance to extend the lifetime of the anoxic environment. This controlled environment protects the documents from damaging fluctuations external to the encasement while minimizing oxidative or hydrolytic reactions within the case. The constant low temperature of the case in the permanent storage area (50º Fahrenheit) ensures further protection from environmental changes, greatly extending the lifetime of these precious documents.

Kindle Available

The Gettysburg Gospel:
The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows

Reconstructs what really happened in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863.

The Gettysburg Address
The Gettysburg Address
9 in. x 12 in.
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Lincoln with Text of Gettysburg Address
Lincoln with Text of Gettysburg Address
18 in. x 24 in.
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Lincoln and Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment

The history of slavery in North America, the Dred Scott decision, the evolution of Lincoln's view of presidential powers, the influence of religion on Lincoln, and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation

Abraham Lincoln
Preserving the Union

Abe Lincoln's presidency in detail. The emotional tragedy and the humorus side of the man. His thoughts on the early commanders and dicussions with Historians. Pictures and details hard to find in other historical documentaries.
Buy this Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address 1863 Poster
Gettysburg Battlefield Lincoln picture

Allan Pinkerton of the secret service, President Lincoln, and Major General John McClernand, 1862

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Rutgers University Press (1953, is the authoritative text for Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In Vol VIII, the editors give us this:

The First Draft does not contain the phrase “under God” in the final paragraph.  The first page of this draft was written in ink on Executive Mansion stationery before Lincoln went to Gettysburg. The page ends in an incomplete sentence which infers that a second page was written in Washington. There is no existing original page, however, that has been found that is written in ink. The only existing second page written in Lincoln’s hand, is written in pencil on lined paper. It shows indications of being a copy made by Lincoln of an original page he threw away, perhaps because it had been overwritten.

When Lincoln made the penciled copy is uncertain. If we believe John G. Nicolay, Lincoln wrote the second page at Gettysburg.

The second page, written in pencil by Lincoln’s hand, reads in the last sentence: “that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Second Draft: This draft is written in Lincoln’s hand on paper similar to that of the first draft. It does not contain the phrase “under God” in the last sentence. Lincoln probably spoke with this draft in front of him.

While Nicolay writes about “a new autograph copy” written sometime after the event, Nicolay’s account, published many years after the event of the Gettysburg Address, is incomplete, vague and shows no acquaintance with the second draft. No other document containing the address, written in Lincoln’s hand, exists.

The phrase “under God” appears in the New York newspapers version of the address Lincoln gave. The text the newspapers printed came from an Associated Press reporter, Joseph I Gilbert. According to Gilbert’s later account, his text came partly from his shorthand notes and partly from Lincoln’s manuscript. In order to accept Gilbert’s rendition of what Lincoln actually said, we have to believe Gilbert wrote down accurately what Lincoln said. That he did not embellish. It must be understood here that Lincoln was speaking in the cemetery, before a large crowd, and whether or not his voice could be heard clearly to Gilbert’s ear, no one can ever know. It is clear that Gilbert did not record precisely what Lincoln actually said. Lincoln’s manuscript reads, for example, “Our poor power.” Gilbert’s text gives us only “our power.”

It does appear that three months after the address was given, Lincoln signed off on a copy he sent to Edward Everett, for use by Everett in the publication of his own address, which included the phrase “under God.” The historians take the view, here, that Lincoln included the phrase in the text he sent to Everett, because it had appeared in the newspapers. Whether Lincoln actually said the phrase at the time the address was made remains an issue in dispute. Had Lincoln meant the phrase to be included, there is no intelligent reason why, having prepared at least two drafts of his speech over a number of days, he would not have interlined the phrase into the draft he actually spoke from.

Additional Reading:
Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America  see Appendix I (page 191-195) by: Garry Willis

Video by the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Trust

photograph taken Nov. 8 1863
Photographic Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1864
Photographic Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1864
Mathew B. Brady,
9 in. x 12 in.
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Civil War Exhibits
Civil War Timeline
Women in the War
President Abraham Lincoln
Confederate President Davis
Kids Zone Gettysburg
Battle of Gettysburg
Civil War Picture Album
Pennsylvania Battle Map

Selected Additional Abe Lincoln Book Titles

Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

The definative book on the Lincoln Assassination, and the escape of John Wilkes Booth. not only does the author give a clear and concise accounting, he takes us out of the vacuum and explains the minute details of the very knotted relationships between the conspirators, and the links of the Confederate underground to Canada and back.

Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession

Democratic leader Stephen Douglas to Republican party leader William Seward. More than just a politcal history, letters and quotes from common townspeople provide a complete view of the perceptions of the time

The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858

Zarefsky analyzes the rhetoric of the speeches, showing how Lincoln and Douglas chose their arguments and initiated a debate that shook the nation. Their eloquent, statesmanlike discussion of the morality of slavery illustrates the masterful use of rhetorical strategies and tactics in the public forum: a form of discourse that has nearly disappeared from the political scene today

Forced into Glory
Abraham Lincoln's White Dream

This dissenting view of Lincoln's greatness surveys the president's policies, speeches, and private utterances and concludes that he had little real interest in abolition. Pointing to Lincoln's support for the fugitive slave laws, his friendship with slave-owning senator Henry Clay, and conversations in which he entertained the idea of deporting slaves

We Saw Lincoln Shot
One Hundred Eyewitness Accounts

How witnesses felt after; how rumor of other tragedies spread in the hours after, why some Southerners hated Lincoln and cheered his death; and, ultimately, why those who loved him were so profoundly affected

Lincolns Assasins
Their Trial and Execution

For twelve days after the president was shot, the nation waited breathlessly as manhunters tracked down John Wilkes Booth

Right or Wrong, God Judge Me
The Writings of John Wilkes Booth

Collection of the writings of John Wilkes Booth constitutes a major new primary source that contributes to scholarship on Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and nineteenth-century theater history. The nearly seventy documents--more than half published here for the first time--include love letters written during the summer of 1864

Political Culture and Secession in Mississippi: Masculinity, Honor, and the Antiparty Tradition, 1830-1860

A rich new perspective on the events leading up to the Civil War and will prove an invaluable tool for understanding the central crisis in American politics.

Kindle Version

Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House

This is a memior written by a woman who started life as a slave, then managed to buy her freedom, and later set up a successful living as a seamstress, eventually going to work for Mary Todd Lincoln in the White House

Loving Mr. Lincoln: The Personal Diaries of Mary Todd Lincoln

Chronicles life, love, and daily struggles with Abraham in their 26 years together. In frank, haunting journal entries, Mary describes the pain she felt when Abraham left her at the altar, when her sons died, and when Abraham's political career seemed to be at an end

A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy

An account of Southern dissidents in the Civil War, at times labeled as traitors, Tories, deserters, or mossbacks during the war and loyalists, Lincoln loyalists, and Unionists by historians of the war.
Kindle Version

The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government

Whether we agree with Jefferson Davis or not, knowledge of his point of view is essential to understanding the causes of the Civil War. The forward by McPherson helps to give balance and explanation.

More American Civil War Book Titles

American Civil War Young Reader Book Titles

Grace's Letter to Lincoln
Many important details of the time period help to make the reader understand what life was like then. It also includes photos of the actual letters written between Grace and Mr. Lincoln

Abe Lincoln's Hat
Step into Reading

Abraham Lincoln, started out in life as an absent-minded lawyer. How did he nudge his memory? He stuck letters, court notes, contracts, and even his checkbook in his trademark top hat.

Abe Lincoln
The Boy Who Loved Books

Children of all ages will enjoy reading this book and realizing that a love of books, as Abraham Lincoln did, can change a persons life and move him or her to become a great person

The President Is Shot!: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Grade 6-10 --Description of the violent end to Lincoln's life. Holzer provides the Civil War context of the event and then details April 14 and 15, 1865. Why Murder Lincoln?, to demonstrate that this president was not always the universally beloved icon that students see him as today.

Night Boat To Freedom
Night Boat to Freedom is a wonderful story about the Underground Railroad, as told from the point of view of two "ordinary" people who made it possible. Beyond that, it is a story about dignity and courage, and a devotion to the ideal of freedom.

Behind the Blue and Gray
The Soldier's Life in the Civil War

Civil War reading can be very dry, but not this book. Delia Ray takes us on a soldiers journey beginning with enlistment and ending with a soldiers life after the war, using quotes from actual letters and diaries strategically placed throughout the book.

Clara Barton: Spirit of the American Red Cross
Ready To Read - Level Three
Clara Barton was very shy and sensitive, and not always sure of herself. But her fighting spirit and desire to help others drove her to become one of the world's most famous humanitarians. Learn all about the life of the woman who formed the American Red Cross.
Kindle Available

The Civil War for Kids
History explodes in this activity guide spanning the turmoil preceding secession, the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, the fierce battles on land and sea, and finally the Confederate surrender at Appomattox. Making butternut dye for a Rebel uniform, learning drills and signals with flags, decoding wigwag, baking hardtack, reenacting battles, and making a medicine kit bring this pivotal period in our nation's history to life.

American Civil War Documentary Titles

Lincoln and Lee at Antietam
The Cost of Freedom

Lincoln and Lee at Antietam covers the entire struggle of the Antietam Campaign. The political concept about why Lincoln needed a Union victory and Lee's need to take the war north were covered as well as the battle.

Abraham Lincoln

Journey though the life of America's heroic President. The story begins at Lincoln's birth. The history of what led this man to the White House, his freeing of the slaves, and the Civil War; This story delves into his personal life, including Lincoln's affair with Ann Ruthledge and courtship of Mary Todd. Lincoln struggles through his debates with Douglas and in the end is assassinated
Lincoln Life and Legacy Documentary
Abraham Lincoln: His Life & Legacy

Comprehensive four-DVD set presents a complex portrait of a man who many consider to be our greatest commander-in-chief, but who considered himself "the loneliest man in the world." Bringing to life the tumultuous times in which Lincoln led his country, some of his finest Civil War moments, and his final hours

Unsolved History ~ Plots to Kill Lincoln
Discovery Channel

Before John Wilkes Booth fired that fatal shot in the balcony of Ford's Theater, President Lincoln was the target of at least five other assassination conspiracies.

Biography - Abraham Lincoln
Preserving the Union

Abe Lincoln's presidency in detail. The emotional tragedy and the humorus side of the man. His thoughts on the early commanders and dicussions with Historians. Pictures and details hard to find in other historical documentaries.

American Experience - Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided

Abraham Lincoln's legacy as the Great Emancipator reshaped the nation while his tragic death left Mary reclusive and forgotten.

History Channel Presents The Civil War

From Harper's Ferry, Fort Sumter, and First Bull Run to Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg. The most legendary Civil War battles in brilliant detail. A selection of the soldiers and legendary leaders.

Gore Vidal's Lincoln

This a very personal view of President Lincoln and his relationship with his wife Mary.

More American Civil War Young Reader Book Titles

Civil War Video Games

Wargame Construction
Age of Rifles 1846 - 1905

Game lets you design and play turn-based strategic battles. You can create scenarios betwen years 1846 and 1905. You have complete control over all the units, and can customize their firepower, movement points, strength, aggressiveness, etc. Supports 1 or 2 players

History Channel: Civil War A Nation Divided
Rally the troops and organize a counterattack -- Your strategic decision and talent as a commander will decide if the Union is preserved or if Dixie wins its independence

Sid Meier's Civil War Collection
Take command of either Confederate or Union troops and command them to attack from the trees, rally around the general, or do any number of other realistic military actions. The AI reacts to your commands as if it was a real Civil War general, and offers infinite replayability. The random-scenario generator provides endless variations on the battles
video game
Campaign Gettysburg:
Civil War Battles

Campaign Gettysburg is simply the best of all the HPS Civil War games. While all of those are very good in their own right they simply do not compete with the level of detail presented here.
Hundreds of scenarios and multiple OOBs are only the start, the best thing is the campaign game

Library of Congress
Cornell University