The Gettysburg Speech

This country is eighty-seven years old. It's different from other countries; I'm not going to go into it all now, but you can read about it in things like the Declaration of Independence and whatever. Boy, those guys could talk, couldn't they? Okay, well now we're in a war. A civil war. What does that mean? Isn't that an oxymoron? Hey, watch it. Where was I? Civil war. Right. We never had a civil war before, but now we have a big one and this war could destroy the country completely. A lot of soldiers have been killed - a lot of them right around here - and today we are going to dedicate this graveyard for them. It's not easy to find the right words, but I'll try. Okay.

The soldiers who died - and I'm just talking now about our soldiers, the Union soldiers - they died fighting for their government. They didn't necessarily want to fight but they had to fight because the government was threatened and, well, we drafted them and made them fight. And the government's still in danger because the war is still going on. I know a lot of you don't care what happens to the government, but when you think about it, it's your government because you voted in the elections (unless you didn't vote, in which case you sort of chose to let other people decide) (unless you're a woman or something and weren't allowed to vote, in which case you just have to trust that we voters will take care of you). Okay. Now that these soldiers are dead, we need more soldiers. So I want those of you who didn't get killed to enlist, or maybe knit scarves or something, and let's all fight to keep the government going. Amen to that.

Alternate text:
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us;that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion;that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.