mencken on the Gettysburg address

Discussion in 'History' started by bripat9643, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. bripat9643
    Offline

    bripat9643 Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    67,819
    Thanks Received:
    8,076
    Trophy Points:
    2,030
    Ratings:
    +27,338
    The Gettysburg speech is at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history. Put beside it, all the whoopings of the Websters, Sumners and Everetts seem gaudy and silly It is eloquence brought to a pellucid and almost gem-like perfection—the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. Nothing else precisely like it is to be found in the whole range of oratory. Lincoln himself never even remotely approached it. It is genuinely stupendous.

    But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—"that government of the people, by the people, for the people," should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.
     
  2. dblack
    Offline

    dblack Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Messages:
    20,122
    Thanks Received:
    2,006
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +3,766
    Sorta the point of political oratory, eh?
     
  3. konradv
    Offline

    konradv Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    22,551
    Thanks Received:
    2,555
    Trophy Points:
    280
    Location:
    Baltimore
    Ratings:
    +5,664
    Big surprise!!! Mencken has moral blinders when it comes to "freedom". Is that all we're to be concerned about, the freedom of the Confederates to do as they please? I prefer to look at the battle as a step on the arduous road to this country living up to its ideals. Concern for the Confederates?!?! PLEASE!!! :eusa_hand:
     
  4. dblack
    Offline

    dblack Gold Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Messages:
    20,122
    Thanks Received:
    2,006
    Trophy Points:
    245
    Ratings:
    +3,766
    Mencken was a gadfly who poked at hypocrisy wherever he found it. He's not advocating for anything here, and certainly not championing the Confederate cause. He's merely pointing out the contradictory nature of Lincoln's speech.

    If Lincoln were around to defend his speech, I suspect he'd point out that the right of self-determination extends to all people, not just white folks.
     
  5. Truthmatters
    Offline

    Truthmatters BANNED

    Joined:
    May 10, 2007
    Messages:
    80,182
    Thanks Received:
    2,223
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +2,233
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZKiYgcgBAY]It's good to be the King! desktop - YouTube[/ame]
     
  6. editec
    Offline

    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    41,427
    Thanks Received:
    5,598
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Maine
    Ratings:
    +5,617
    Neither the USA or CSA were fighting for human FREEDOM or human rights.

    Nations and nation-wannbes fight over which group of people will be in charge, that's all there is to it.

    Of course, some nations or nation-wannbes are clearly less FREEDOM CRUSHING than others
     
  7. Truthseeker420
    Offline

    Truthseeker420 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    10,365
    Thanks Received:
    980
    Trophy Points:
    138
    Location:
    Home of the 2013 BCS National Champion
    Ratings:
    +1,026
    4 whores and 7 beers ago......
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  8. The Gadfly
    Offline

    The Gadfly Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,190
    Thanks Received:
    610
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings:
    +611
    Lincoln, whatever else he was, was a hypocrite, a bloodthirsty tyrant, and the man who committed more crimes against the Constitution that any American before or since; the man who almost single-handedly destroyed the Republic, and cursed us with Big Government-all for the greed of the moneyed interests of New England.

    " In saving the Union, I have destroyed the Republic. Before me, I have the Confederacy, which I loathe; behind me, I have the bankers, who I fear." - Abraham Lincoln, 1862
     
  9. zzzz
    Offline

    zzzz Just a regular American

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,072
    Thanks Received:
    422
    Trophy Points:
    98
    Location:
    Yountsville
    Ratings:
    +429
    Yet the people elect our rulers. Or I should say half the people vote. The other half just don't give a damn or are too lazy or indifferent.
     

Share This Page