The Gettysburg address happened on 19th November, 1863 by the then president of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln. He delivered the speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was during the Soldiers National Cemetery dedication. Gettysburg at this time was a victim of a three days plight that took place at its premises in early July. Lincoln was addressing approximately fifteen to twenty thousand American citizens who had attended the inauguration of the cemetery. Lincoln speaks with suppliant, requesting citizens to embrace the beginning and endless freedom and democracy, and talks of the sacrifices that would be done to achieve that. The speech describes the history of freedom of America from the hands of its colonizers, and a section on consecration of the cemetery and appreciation of soldiers who perished in the just ended carnage. The essay will look at the antithesis and the climax that appears in the last paragraph of the speech. It will show the effects that arose through the use of by the antithesis and the climax then and even today (Nancy, 1999)
In his speech, Lincoln uses a number of rhetoric speeches, but the most striking appear in the last paragraph of his speech. Antithesis contrasts ideas by directly opposing them linguistically in a series. The use of antithesis is obvious where he states “the brave men, living and dead…” and, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”(Carmichael, 1917). He meant that deeds were necessary than words (Peterson & Merrill, 1994). The climax of his address states, “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the formidable task remaining before us from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they give their last full measure of devotion that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”(Rivera, 2004). This nation under God, shall have a new rebirth of freedom, and that the government of the people by the people, by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth.” (Peterson & Merril, 1994).
The effects of the words have been evident in the subsequent years, in America’s history. It is evident when he says that, people will never remember or note what they say is still in force and a philosophy in America. Contrary to that, it has become a political philosophy of American people. The children of America are on terms in memorizing the address of Lincoln every day of their lives. On 11th September, 2002, after the attack on the world trade centre, New York governor read the Gettysburg address instead of giving a speech of his own (Peterson & Merrill, 1994). His antithesis of living and the dead are a preposition that brings defines the expression of unity and togetherness in struggling to achieve a steady state. He tells them not to vacillate on the tedium old union of slavery and hatred but to adopt a new union of change and togetherness.
The climax gave a shift from the focus of the past plight to a presumptuous future. Its effect is in force even today in America. It is a practice in the forgetting of the old union and formation of the new union where it is no longer ‘A united states of America but rather ‘The united states of America’. He the Americans now has gained the efficacy in maintaining a stable government through the constitution, wealth and power (Garry, 1992). He tells the people to own the government with impetus mind that would see them flourish and become a sovereign nation. (Garry, 1992)
In conclusion, it is exceptionally clear and evident that Lincoln speech has found it roots in America’s life. It is a foundation stone that has seen America stand together to forget the miseries that they suffered centuries ago, and thrust forward. The use of antithesis and the climax specially brings a noticeable effect in the whole issue and a turning point from the old union.