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Gettysburg Address

This Day in History: November 19th

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Today in 1863 , Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. The following excerpt from Judge Milton Hirsch’s Constitutional Calendar illustrates the unpredictable nature of politics, and how an unexpected turn of events can change the course of history.

On Nov. 19, 1858, the loser in a senatorial election wrote to his friend, Dr. Henry:

“I am glad I made the late race.  It gave me a hearing on the great and durable questions of the age which I could have had in no other way; and though I now sink out of view and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of liberty long after I am gone.”

Five years later to the very day – on November 19, 1863 – that letter-writer who expected to “sink out of view and … be forgotten” delivered the Gettysburg Address.

 Souvenir from the Lincoln-Douglas Debate
To launch a presidential bid in 1860, Douglas needed to win reelection to his Senate seat in 1858 so he had a base of power. A relative newcomer to national politics, Abraham Lincoln, opposed him for the Senate election. Lincoln was an old Whig who gravitated to the new Republican Party because of its opposition to the expansion of slavery.  (Source: Texas Digital Library).

 

Source: Judge Milton Hirsch’s Constitutional Calendar.  Milton Hirsch is a judge of the Eleventh Circuit of Florida.

Featured image (top): Lincoln’s address at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, November 19, 1863.  Source: Library of Congress

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