Gettysburg Address

For different reasons our attention has been once more directed to Abraham Lincoln. I have very little  to add to the thousands of books that have been written about him; but I want to take this opportunity to correct the common mispronunciation of the last line of the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln was a superb stylist of the English language, much better than the second-best President, Thomas Jefferson. He would not have pronounced this line, …government of the people, by the people and for the people… in this way:  government OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people… With that reading OF the people and BY the people would mean the same thing. The phrases would be redundant.  The way it should be read is as follows.  … government of the PEOPLE… (pause)… BY the people and FOR the people shall not perish…   I was pleased recently to read that eyewitnesses to his address heard him read it that way.(c) Fredric Neuman  Follow Dr. Neuman's blog at

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