Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

1528 Words6 Pages
Throughout the semester, the readers have been clashing with each other over which label best fits the author, but they have ignored the minute particulars. These readers are looking at the forest as a broad generalization, and they are missing out on what the forest really is… a bunch of trees. All of these trees are diverse but similar: they are American authors, and the forest is American literature. One might think that this is a flimsy analogy, but it is the most apt and succinct way of explaining this issue. To truly understand any text, one must couch it within historical context; to be valid, an interpretation has to make sense within the historical context, and it has to agree with the minute particulars of the text. If either of these criterion are not met, then the interpretation will not be representative of the text whatsoever. It is imperative that one pay heed to the minute particulars and the text’s historical context: otherwise, the text will be vastly misinterpreted and misrepresented in any discussion of the text. The students grossly mischaracterized Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address “as a pro-abolitionist tract; they also seemed to think that President Lincoln was some divine martyr for anti-slavery sentiment, and that he was an exemplary person with regards to American identity. They could not be further from the truth. Historical context is paramount to understanding Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”. The text starts off with an appeal to
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