Day By Day by The Great Chris Muir

Monday, May 9, 2011

H.L. Mencken And The Gettysburg Address

H.L. Mencken (HT - The Bonnie Blue Blog:


"The Gettysburg speech was at once the shortest and the most famous oration in American history...the highest emotion reduced to a few poetical phrases. 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 the battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves."

3 comments:

Lazarus said...

Fantastic quote. Thanks for posting it.

Professor Hale said...

...it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves."

And paradoxically, it was the confederates who first enslaved their own citizens to fight the war. Early in the war, both sides depended on volunteer soldiers. But as the casualty lists grew, both sides enslaved their military age men into armed service. Both sides stripped the rights of liberty and self determination from individuals so that the rights of states and federal governments could be upheld. To free the slaves in the South, the North made slaves of their white citizens. To uphold state's rights, the South ignored the rights of their own free men.

Conan the Cimmerian, King of Aquilonia said...

L and Prof,

thanks for the comments.