mencken on the Gettysburg address

bripat9643

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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.
 

dblack

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Sorta the point of political oratory, eh?
 

konradv

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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.
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:
 

dblack

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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:
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.
 

Truthmatters

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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.
[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZKiYgcgBAY]It's good to be the King! desktop - YouTube[/ame]
 

editec

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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
 

The Gadfly

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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
 

zzzz

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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.
 

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