Today in History, November 19th

11/19/2017

4 Score and 4 Trivia Questions about the Gettysburg Address

President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on November 19th, 1863. It’s widely regarded as one of the famous speeches in history, but how much do you know about it? Try your hand at these four trivia questions about 272 words that proved a speech doesn’t have to be long to be memorable…

Who Wrote the Speech for Lincoln?

Rather than vilify the Confederacy after the battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln chose a more inclusionary tone for his speech. Photo credit: Greg Goebel/Flickr.

Today, whenever a president gives a speech, you know that it has been written by a professional speechwriter – someone who actually studied the art of public speaking and knows the mechanics of delivering a great speech. But in 1863, things were done a little differently. It was, in fact, Abraham Lincoln himself who wrote the Gettysburg Address – every word of it. He finished the speech the night before he gave it and spoke from the heart. That’s why it is still so powerful today.

Why Is This Speech So Famous?

Lincoln came out the night before his speech and told a few jokes to a crowd of several hundred people.

Lincoln could have made the speech all about defeating the South and winning the war, but he did not. Instead, he geared the speech toward keeping the country together, working together, healing rifts, and honoring the democratic intent of the country’s Founding Fathers. This was not a bitter speech, nor did it try to stir up anger or fear. It would have been very easy for Lincoln to go the emotional button-pressing route, but he took a more inclusionary path, reminding people that the war was not being fought to vanquish an enemy, but to hold together a country that was started with such promise.

What Was the Original Purpose of the Speech?

Lincoln’s speech was really supposed to be a short address that was more of an afterthought than anything else. The ceremony’s star guest was famed speaker Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours. Lincoln did plan out what he would say (the legend that he wrote it on the fly was just that, a legend), but his invitation was a last-minute decision, and he was supposed to be there more for moral support than anything else. Lincoln’s intent in the speech was to remind people of how important this war was to the country and to try to keep morale up after such a devastating battle. Instead, the short speech gradually gained a reputation for being one of the most eloquent examples of patriotism and devotion to the ideals of democracy.

What Newspaper Retracted the Poor Review it originally gave the Gettysburg Address 150 Years Later?

NPR did a tongue-in-cheek story about the paper’s retraction, including an interview with the Opinion Page editor.

At the time, newspapers made no bones about which side they supported. The Patriot-Union, a Pennsylvania newspaper, dismissed the president’s remarks as “silly” and wrote, “For the credit of the nation, we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that there shall be no more repeated or thought of.” At the 150 year anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, in 2013, the same newspaper, now known as the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, issued a retraction which read, “Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to his audience a judgment so flawed, so tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives.”

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Today in History ~October 9th

Today in History – October 9

October 9

On October 9, 1701, the colonial legislature of Connecticut chartered the Collegiate School in Saybrook to educate students for “Publick employment both in Church & Civil State.” Originally based at the house of the first rector in Killingworth, the school moved to New Haven in 1716, and in 1718 was renamed Yale College to honor its early benefactor, the merchant Elihu Yale.
Osborn Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. [between 1900 and 1915]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division

Yale graduates were influential in the American Revolution. Lyman Hall, Philip Livingston, Lewis Morris, and Oliver Wolcott signed the Declaration of Independence. Twenty-five Yale men served in the Continental Congress and the patriots Nathan Hale and Noah Webster also were among its graduates.

Yale evolved into a university in the late 1700s to mid-1800s when its original liberal arts curriculum expanded to include graduate and professional education. Among Yale’s most prestigious schools are those of divinity, medicine, law, and art. The first doctoral degrees earned in the United States were awarded by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1861.
In 1832, the Yale University Art Gallery became the first American college art museum. Built with funds from the Connecticut legislature, the gallery housed a series of American Revolutionary War paintings donated by Colonel John Trumbull. Also associated with Yale are the Yale Center for British Art , the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and Yale University Press , one of the nation’s most distinguished university publishing houses.

Yale has had other notable nineteenth-century firsts. These include the first collegiate rowing races, held in 1843, and the first intercollegiate game of modern baseball in 1865. In 1861 Yale became the first U.S. university to award a PhD in philosophy. The Yale Daily News, the oldest college daily newspaper, was founded in 1878.

Notable Yale graduates include: presidents William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton; inventor Samuel F. B. Morse; Dr. Benjamin Spock, and statesman John C. Calhoun. In 1781, Yale University conferred the honorary degree of “Doctorate in Laws” on George Washington. Search on Yale in the collection George Washington Papers to view the correspondence of Ezra Stiles, president of the university, with George Washington.

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Quote of the Day for Tuesday 

Body and soul, let’s all go / transformed into arrows! / Piercing the air / body and soul, let’s go / with no turning back. 


Ko Un

August 15, 1982: On this day, Ko Un was released from prison under a general amnesty. The former Buddhist monk, who had been given a life sentence for resisting the South Korean military dictatorship, went on to become one of the most acclaimed poets in Korea. 

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Love Of Words’ Quote of the Day for Tuesday 

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. 


•Robert Frost

August 1, 1915: Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken was first published in the Atlantic Monthly 102 years ago today. While the poem works as a metaphor for the weight we put on turning points in our lives, Frost later insisted the verses were simply inspired by a literal walk in the woods.

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Love Of Words’ Quote of the Day for Sunday 

I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once. 


~Thomas Wolfe

July 9, 1937: On this day, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a letter to Thomas Wolfe, advising his fellow author to write shorter novels. Wolfe responded with a letter eight times as long as Fitzgerald’s.

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Happy Tuesday! Here’s your quote of the day…

  

Anyone in pursuit of art is responding to a desire to make visible that which is not, to offer the unknown self to others. 

Hettie Jones

October 13, 1958: On this day, Hettie Cohen married poet LeRoi Jones—and took his last name. She would write about that day (and others) in her memoir, How I Became Hettie Jones.

Fact of the Day•Today in History•Today’s Birthdays

Fact of the Day:

New Jersey is home to the world’s first drive-in movie theater.

Today in History:

January 24, 1965
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill died in London at age 90.

Today’s Birthdays:

January 24
1968 – Mary Lou Retton
1941 – Neil Diamond
(1949-1982) – John Belushi

All My Best,
Jill M Roberts

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Thank goodness it’s Thursday! Here’s your quote of the day…

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A party without cake is just a meeting 

Julia Child

October 16, 1961: Culinary life was forever changed with the publication of Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 53 years ago today.

Quote of the day!

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The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.

Václav Havel

December 29, 1989: Czech playwright Vaclav Havel continued to be a champion of human rights and free speech even as he became the president of Czechoslovakia, 24 years ago today.