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Rhetorical Analysis Of The Gettysburg Address

924 words - 4 pages

Four and a half months after the Union defeated the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. He gave the Union soldiers a new perspective on the war and something to fight for. Before the address, the Civil War was based solely on states’ rights. Lincoln’s speech has the essence of America and the ideals that were put into the Declaration of Independence by the founders. The sixteenth president of the United States was capable of using his speech to turn a war on states rights to a war on slavery and upholding the principles that America was founded upon. By turning the Civil War into a war that was ...view middle of the document...

Lincoln matched his uniting tone with his juxtaposed exemplars. Lincoln compassion for the Civil War is shown as he mourns the loss of many fellow Americans, not differentiating between Union and Confederate soldiers. He creates juxtaposition in his final statement of a “new birth” and the obstruction of a “perished” nation. His patriotic address charms his audience into action. The usage of juxtaposition allows Lincoln to transfer the zeal in his speech into action by uniting the people of America.
Repetition is the final key rhetorical device in the address. Two examples of repetition are in the opening statement of the Gettysburg Address which set the repetitious nature of the whole speech. Common expression, such as “we,” “our,” and “us,” is used to tie the entire address together, but this set of repletion is outweighed by the other. The word “dedicated” has been used in the speech to not only tie the entire speech together but to also appeal to pathos, an emotional appeal. The words “I” and “you” are absent from the speech, instead Lincoln uses words such as “we,” “our,” and “us,” to include the people of the Union and the Confederacy to unite both parties as a whole under the one speech. Lincoln plays on the emotions of the audience by never ignoring a lone American.
Parallelism prevails in the Gettysburg Address, at very crucial parts of the speech; at the main tone shift, and at the end. The section in the speech where Lincoln claims “we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow,” parallel structure is again tying together clauses Lincoln hopes to use to tie the...

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