tv Celebrating Lincolns Gettysburg Address CSPAN November 11, 2016 1:55pm-3:01pm EST
all right. [ applause ] thank you for coming out. >> will be on sale in the back and derek will be in the back signing copies and i hope to see you all next month for the evening lecture. >> thank you. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend, on c-span three. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> in 2015 abraham lincoln foundation published a bunch of music. celebrating or responding to lincoln's gettysburg address. used in the 1863 speech.
next, karla knorowski reads passages from the book. including writings by jimmy carter. former secretary of state colon powell and julian bond. the new york historical site and the reading group do hosted this hour long event. >> it is my great pleasure to introduce tonight's speaker, carla. we have met a couple of times before most recently at the new york historical society when we mounted wonderful exhibition lincoln and the jews which she then went on to mount with tremendous success in chicago. carla is chief executive officer of the abraham lincoln presidential library foundation which serves the abraham lincoln presidential library and museum. the most visited presidential library and museum in the united states. she writes the regular column
for the foundation's magazine fore score and seven. and the founder and executive director of the 1350 foundation which is dedicated to engaging citizens in active and purposeful citizenship. ladies and gentlemen, carla. [ applause ] . >> good evening, eliminatiladie gentlemen. it's an honor and privilege to be here with you tonight as part of the bernard and irene schwartz distinguished speaker series. i would like to thank louise, paul ramiro, the bryant park reading room ts new york historical society and all of you for inviting me to speak with you this evening. although she passed away a few
years ago, i would like to thank irene and her husband bernard for generally underwriting this series. without third quarter support, we would not be able to be with you this evening. gettysburg replies, it's just one of more than 18,000 books that have been written about abraham lincoln today. you might ask yourself why so many? because although he no longer walks this earthly plane, his presence still resinated from the words he has written and the artifacts and documents he has left behind for our proser itty. he was a simple, yet deeply complex man who looked at complex issues plainly and purely. he accepted and spoke the truth.
braces and religions, politics and party lines. here was a man who crew up in a log cabin with a dirt floor who seemed to have the proverbial deck stacked against him. if you were a child living in today's world, society might label him an at-risk youth, having only about a year of formal education, struggling financially, not getting along with his father, having both his mother and his sister die when he was very young. having to adapt to a new step family, and his family never putting down any roots. moving from place to place on the unsettled western frontier. yet he askended to our nation's highest office. he has touched a multitude of
souls for more than two centuries now. i think you will find, and i hope you will find that gettysburg replies is unique and unlike any other book published on abraham lincoln. the book pays homage to one of the world's greatest speeches, the gettysburg address and the man who wrote it. the address is a piece of wri writing we have all read, rec e recited, or heard. so to set the stage and tone for tonight's remarks, we are fortunate to have with us one of new york's own, member of
broadway royalty, two-time tony award winner mr. john collom who will read the 272 immortal words written by the immortal man, abraham lincoln. please join me in welcoming john. [ applause ] >> thank you. fore scores and seven years ago, 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 con received 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 hear
gave their lives that that nation might live. it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, but in the larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. the brave men living in dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. the world with little note no long remember what we say, 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 honor dead, we
take increased devotion to that cause for which they here 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 on the people, by the people, for the people, shall not parish from the earth. [ applause ] >> thank you, john.
it still transcends and takes us to new levels of hope and possibility. many consider the gettysburg address to be abraham lincoln's greatest speech. it would be difficult to argue otherwise. you might ask yourselves what could he have written that possibly rivalled it? and while you would be good to stand your ground were you o argue your case for the gettysburg address, other scholars, lincoln enthusiasts and shared historians might argue that lincoln's cooper union speech or his second inaugural might be even greater. as you probably know, lincoln's cooper union speech was delivered about two miles south of her at the cooper institute which is now known as the cooper union. it was a speech which in part launched abraham lincoln's
political career on the broader national stage. the speech delivered in february 1860 when our nation was on the brink of civil war brought us the often quoted words, let us have faith that right makes might. and in that faith, led us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. lincoln's second inaugural address which is engraved at the lincoln memorial on the wallop sit the gettysburg address was delivered in march of 1865 as a civil war was nearing it's conclusion. it set our nation on a course for post-war reconstruction as lincoln called upon our ancestors scene all of us, even to this day, to move forward with malice toward none with charity for all. he set a tone which was not punitive and vengeful, but rather peaceful and visionary.
there is no doubt that lincoln's three more famous addresses, the cooper union, second inaugural, and gettysburg are among the greatest. the debate becomes more subjective than objective. perhaps what makes the gettysburg address much more frequently quoted recited or remembered can be attributed both to content and interestingly enough, it's length. it is a 272 word, two to three minute masterpiece in which lincoln set our nation on a course for a new birth of freedom. one that we are still working on to perfect today. back in 2012 we at the presidential library and museum and our foundation were looking for a way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the gettysburg address. we wanted to do something out of
the ordinary, something special. naturally our first thought was to put the document out on display that usually is enough. but we wanted to take it a step beyond there are only five copies of the gettysburg address in lincoln's own hand. two of the copies are at the library of congress. those were the two drafts he had written prior to delivering the address. another is at cornell university, another is in the white house in the lincoln room and then the other one is the everett copy. and that is at our museum and library in springfield, illinois. our copy of the address was written after it was the one that was written immediate ly
after his delivery who was the keynote speaker at gettysburg on that day. and as we probably all member, he spoke for about two and a half hours to lincoln's two and a half minutes. everett asks president lincoln to write it out so that he could put it in a book to auction off for soldiers. which lincoln gladly obliged to. when a document is as famous and revered as the gettysburg address, it does seem like putting it on display should be enough. but we came up with the idea with 272 word challenge. you know it's the exact number in the gettysburg address. while lincoln didn't set out to write 272 words, he didn't say well now i'm going to write a 272 word masterpiece that will transcend the generations. we thought it was a wonderful
way. that they might become more intimately tied to the address and really understand how difficult it is to be brilliant in 272 yards. so we challenged people. as part of the challenge, they could write about abraham lincoln, gettysburg, the gettysburg address, or something that cause related top that i can stirred their passions. we hadn't a clue what kind of response to achieve, we were hoping to receive enough to put some out in a it mini display with the gettysburg address on the 150th. when the news of the challenge started to spread, we found ourselves doing more than our share of explaining that the point was not to top the gettysburg address, or to write
as well as president lincoln, but rather to celebrate the man and his words. to see if you help the project by writing his own 272 words. and he wrote back an e-mail and he said, wow, who could be as us is sing the and then for instance brilliant as abraham lincoln. but hairnld wasn't daunted in a few days we received -- actually, it almost seemed like a few minutes, we had hairnld's 272 words which i'd like to share with you now. his essay was titled long remember remembered. provide the essence of the gettysburg address in 272 words, quite a challenge for while
lincoln used but two sheets of paper to compose it, historians have slaughtered entire forests to expound on it. yet the glittering essence of lincoln, perhaps america's greatest speech, is it's magnificent economy. invited to deliver only a few appropriate remarks, lincoln summoned a rhetorical discipline that revolutionized political oratory. replace the tradition with a new birth of simplicity and made a virtue of brevity. of course, i can memorize this length, does not begin to explain it's enduring magic. it reinvented america as some have claimed. probably not. we've come a long way to complete lincoln's unfished work. no one say for certain whether you return to seas his legacy,
he might conclude we've traveled too fast or too slowly. on the opposite side of the coin is the gettysburg address meant to be more than a subtle declaration of it's author's intention to seek a second term? too simplistic to and much too cynical. then what? in his heart, he understood gettysburg was a place of death. from which america itself needed to summon rebirth or die as well. therein lie it's genius and relevance. lincoln made one close sell error in the gettysburg address. suggesting the world with little note would long remember. honest abe was too modest. he wrote his speech with such breath taking ingenuity, he surely meant it to long endure
and so it has. so that is harold's 272 words. and when we received it, we thought well, we're on our way. and if we had any doubt that we weren't and maybe something, you know, it wouldn't take off all the sudden came to the door. and when opening it, we pulled out a piece of white stationary and it was bearing a centered figure of an eagle and outlined in blue descending down the nape of it's neck. and there was a name also in blue just in all caps and it was from jimmy carter. and he decided he'd write his words. now immediately working at a museum with various artifacts,
but we were too excited and we just picked it up and started reading. and i'd like to share his essay with you now. it's a magnificent essay. bear with me while i get to it. and his was simply called gettysburg address. when i began talks at camp david between israel and egypt. it soon became obvious that the two leaders were almost completely incompatible. for three days i tried to negotiate in good faith, but they were always diverted into expressing ancient antagonisms. for the last ten days of discussion, i kept them completely apart with them living in separate cabins. as the first sunday approaches, i tried to think of something that would divert our minds from
the middle east arguments and focus our attention on something that was completely removed from our concentrated work. finally my wife suggested we might drive to the civil war site at gettysburg. we made the necessary travel arrangements for the cabinet officers and staff members from the two delegations to go in buses and i rode in the presidential limousine sitting between them. once there even except the israeli prime minister was thoroughly familiar with the battlefield and what occurred there having studied it in our military schools. i showed them with the georgia artillery had been and recounted the casualties on both sides. i soon noticed that vaigen, who had never served in the military was disturbingly aloof. he was a proud man and i was afraid he would be both embarrassed and angry. the group became silent when the
guide announced that we were at the spot of the lincoln's address. after a few moments with, he began to recite the words in a clear and strong voice and we listened with attention. it was my most unforgetability event at a memorial to war. so you can imagine, we were very moved when we received this. and we were touched he chose not only to participate in our closet, but from what he wrote. we were probably the first people to ever hear that story. certainly some of the first to ever read it. we knew that the contents of the essay was a historic significance and we realized we were no longer sailing in the wake as we usually do because we're getting other people's
artifacts that are 150 years old. but rather than sailing in history's wake, we were now making history. and with each document that came we were making history. we ended up getting essays from all the living presidents and they're all in the book but they're for you to read at another time. another interesting thing about president carter's essay was that he typed it himself on his own typewriter. now, it's not just typed at himself, it was on a typewriter, and this was only a year ago. so i'm sure his staff had a computer. he used a typewriter. it was clear it was on a typewrit typewriter. which brings me to another aspect of the project. in addition to challenging people to write 272 words, we challenged them to walk further in lincoln's shoes and handwrite their essays. because obviously there were no
computers back in 1863. some people did it, others chose to type it out and then sign their name to it. but, the actual -- we learned that the actual act of having to handwrite essays out was a challenge in and of itself. and for some of our essayists, they said that was actually more stressful than having to compose 272 brilliant words. because long about when they got to word 253 they made a mistake and had to start over writing from scratch. one person actually said it was a humiliating experience. and we got a call one day from general colon powell's office and said do you mind if general powell prints out his essay by hand? and we said, who are we to tell general powell what to do.
if he wants to print it out, by all means, print it. and they said cursive wasn't going over too well so he printed it. and in a few days, we received colon powell's essay. and it's titled the march must continue. in november 2013, three months after commemorating the 50th anniversary of dr. martin luther king jr.'s i have a dream speech, we commemorated the 150th anniversary of president christian con's gettysburg address. and that this nation under god shall have a new birth of freedom, it fell to dr. king to remind america that the work was not finished and lincoln's vision not yet realized for all americans. during that century, we saw the rise of segregation and the
fiction that's separate but equal could actually be equal. a second civil war was needed. it was a war of protests. it would be a war of ideas, morals, and aspirations. it would be a war to make america live up to the dreams of our forefathers as lincoln proclaimed in fore score and seven years ago. our fathers brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. dr. king reaffirmed these hoped in his i have a dream speech. the gettysburg address and i have a dream have gone down in history as the most inspirational speeches in american history. i am proud of my country to realize these visions. both men would be pleased, but not satisfied.
boat men were ais as natoed for their beliefs. we must do more than commemorate the dates and be warmed by their words. we must reach out to those in need so that we all can be free at last. the march must continue. so as you can see, we were very fortunate in receiving essays from some very, very powerful individuals, the essays themselves were powerful. we received essays from people from all walks of life, from high school students as i said to u.s. presidents. from film makers such as steven spielberg and ken burns, jurors such san dry day o'connor and judi judith, otherwise known as judge judy. from corporate leaders such as eric schmitt and caterpillars doug. poets such as billy collins and
steven stein. sailors from the uss abraham lincoln and musical and visual artists. i'm 94, i'm not composing anything right now, bim ieng go to write it out for you the way i've helped people over the years learn to recite it. that's what he sent to us. and annie lebowitz, i'm not a writing, i do photographs. so she sent us some photo essays that we included in the book. particularly the one of daniel chester french who was the sculptor for the lincoln memorial and she was at his studio. and so she took a picture of the model and that's what i have in
the book. million others spoke of their personal experiences and their family heritages and julian bond reminds us that only a few generations separate us from slavery. and he wrote a very eloquent essay and i'll read some of it for you, only my father's generation stands between julian bond and human bondage. i am the grandson of a slave. he and his mother were property like a chair or a horse. at 15 pairly able to read and write, my grandfather hitched his tuition a stair to a rope and walked across kentucky to the college. his was a transskended generation of black americans born in slavery, freed by abraham lincoln and determined to make their way in freedom.
when he graduated, the college asked him to deliver the commencement address and he said, the pessimists from his corner looks out on the world of wickedness and sin and blinded by all that is good or hopeful in the condition in progress of the human race. he wails the present state of affairs and predicting woeful things for the future. in every cloud he beholds a destructive storm, in every shadow that falls across his path, a lurking foe. he forgets that the clouds also bring light, hope that lightning purifies the atmosphere. that shadow and darkness prepare for sunshine and growth. and that hardships and adversity serve the race as the individual for greater and grander victories. here's to greater and grander victories.
these replies that i've shared and few more i'll share are rev la toir on many levels. one is that 150 years after lincoln's death, he still is relevant. he through his actions and words still lead and guide us to this day. which is why people so often ask themselves in board rooms, in classrooms, congresses, chatrooms, even sometimes in the back hallways of churches, mosques, synagogues. what would lincoln do? well one of the things he did was write thoughtful, eloquent speeches which to this day becken us word upon word, sentence upon sentence to contemplate our actions, our responsibilities to better understand what wrath has befallen us or what blessings have been bestowed upon us from the siege we have sung as a
nation and a world. as nikki so insightly pointed out in her essay. our nation forgets the amber waves of grain we're not there because the natives had managed -- were there, i'm sorry were there because the natives had managed, not ravages the land. there was no dust bowl. there were no out of control wild fires. no dead fish floated in polluted water. the shame of destroying those people is ours to bear. and professor robert gray also pointed this out as he wrote about a cause which concerned him the care and protection of our planet. in his essay, value diction to earth on the occasion of the great leaving a futuristic and fatalistic warning. today is the day we hoped would
never come, yet the time is here. now we must leave the earth forever. we dare not call it our earth for when it was ours we did not love her as she loved us. nor did we return her nurture and kind. and so as we board our starships, we must humbly pray to our unknown god that our tragic mistakes of war and greed and vanity, though they're painful memory cannot but go with us into the void, will not be fatal ri reenacted. or in our new home should we find one wherever that may be in the vast cosmos? we must believe we have learned it was not one of freedom, but of responsibility. freedom a mighty good in itself became licensed, licensed became a consuming fire, and that fire
became our holocaust. again we must beg forgiveness of the earth, she can no longer sustain us nor should she in view of our parishing sins against her. but left to herself, she may be able in good time to heal herself. our atonement must consistent in doing better if allowed the chance. they do not care whether we continue to exist. we alone can care. where shall we live? where do we deserve to live? may we know that place and ourselves when we reach it. now, and that was obviously an essay by someone picking something that they're passionate about. another person who wrote something that they're passionate about, while robert
was contemplating an environmental holocaust, this other person, sam harris was contemplating moving on from another. and that was the mass genocide perpetrated by adolf hitler and the nazis. savms born there. he was taken by the age of four to live in concentration camps in dublin, in poland. in 1945 at the anyone of nine, his camp was liberated by the russian army and sam and his sister came to america as or fans having lost their parents and entire extended family in the holocaust. he was adopted by a family in the chicago area, changed his name to sam harris and never looked back. as a sophomore, he was assigned to the essay. the same's they sam contributed
to the book. amazingl amazingly, his essay was 273 words. but one of those words he had put in parentheses. and you can bet your bottom dollar that we went to him and said, take that one out. and he did. it was as though it was a lincoln ordained miracle that he ended up with 272 words. so i'm going to read sam's essay, remember, he wrote this as a 16-year-old boy. and he also told me that none of his classmates knew his history. but they just knew him as a classmate and didn't know what he had gone through. and he titled it the best place on earth. america is indeed the best place on earth. most people born in america may not think of that the same way i do, because all the freedoms come to them as naturally as breathing. i, being born in europe and
living through the war, have a different respect for democracy as being practiced in the u.s. not until about three and a half years ago did i know what democracy was. then the day came. i moved to this free country. this was a complete change for me in the way people lived in the language they spoke. in all the countries i have been, including poland, my birthplace, austria or germany, did the people move so freely and live in such modern countries, then still on the harborship, the pile, i stared at the million lights which brightened the night. between the large buildings and our ship on the water there lay a little island on which rested the statue of liberty. even not knowing yet what this huge figure was, i stared at it with great interest.
then i questioned. when i realized what it symbolized, that much more my eyes brightened with freedom and my heartbeats like the drums of peace. now i have lived in this heaven for three and a half years and i still think of these first visions of real human life which all the people all over the world should one day experience. my heart i should hope should never let me forget liberty my eyes saw on the first night of america, god bless america. that one always gets me. abraham lincoln who was a friend to the jews and other press people and refugees at the time. and immigrants and obviously most associated with ending the
civil war and abolishing slavery. moufr one of the many things that made him great was his big picture thinking. he was the ultimate multitasker. and he -- in the midst of the civil war raging on and the slavery question being debated. he still had the big vision for our nation. held passed the homestead act which provided land to pioneering settlers, he passed the pacific railroad act which actually led to the nailing of the golden spike connecting the east and west coast railroads, he passed the moral act which created our system of land grant universities, one in every state. he established the department of agriculture and created our national banking system.
the list of his accomplishments go on and on. but one of our essays neil tyson wrote about the accomplishments. dr. tyson's essay was so well received after it came out on this book and bill gates made a video to help encourage america's youth to engage in scientific study and explanation. and if you're interested, it's available on youtube, you can take a look at it in your free time. i'd like to read dr. tyson's essay for you now. it's called the lincoln seabed. one and a half centuries ago, yet in it's wake, we would kneel at one nation indivisible. during the bloody year of the
gettysburg address, president lincoln chartered the national academy of sciences compromised of 50 researchers whose task was then, as now, to advise congress and the executive branch of all the ways the frontier of science may contribute to the health, wealth, and security of it's residents. as a young nation just fore score and seven years old. plunked the fruits of the industrial revolution that transformed europe, but americans had yet to embrace the meaning of science to society. now with more than 2,000 members, the national academy is undreamt of at the time of lincoln's charter. quantum physics discovered in the 1920s now drives nearly one-third of the world's wealth. forming the basis of our commuters revolution.
climatology and as we r warm our planet, climatology may be our only hope to save us from ourselves. during the centennial, president carter addressed the academy membership noting the range in death of scientific achievement in this room constitutes the seed bed of our nation's future. in this, the 21st century innovations and science and technology formed the primary engines of our economic growth. i must remember war and peace and slavery and freedom, the time has come to recognize him for setting our nation on a course of scientifically enlightened government without which we all may parish from this earth.
so a year prior to lincoln's charter of the national academy of sciences, our 16th president also established the medal of honor. and we were fortunate to have a essay to the book. and in part of his essay, he remarked the greatest honor of my life was being awarded the medal of honor. 63 medals were earned in the battle of gettysburg. given the honor to take my place alongside such men is humbling. i believe i must do my best to honor the medal because of what it represents. lincoln calls on all americans to complete the unfinished work, not only of maintaining the union, but also of our founding principles of liberty and equality. these are our national prince. s worth defending with our lives. principles well worth enduring create hardship to advance.
and we had another essay from another veteran who had literally sacrifice d or went t war with the idea she might be sacrificing her life. she literally sacrificed her limbs and her story is very inspirational. u.s. representative tammie duckworth, and she writes, her essay is entitled our greatest treasure. barely a month before his assassination, president lincoln defined our obligation to our veterans, saying, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. to bind up the nation's wounds. to care for him who borned the bat thele and for his widow and orphan. america's greatest resource is not our wealth. it's not military might or mineral deposits.
our greatest treasure is the men and women willing to die defend the nation. war is not fought with nameless troops but with people. they are our loved ones. our neighbors. and friends. since lexington and concord, our military men and women answer the call when america asks, who is willing to lay down their lives for liberty and freedom? they do this not just for those they know and love, but they will never meet. these patriots serve and so do their loved ones. our military families time and again to breed for our nation. it's easy to honor our troops when they deploy, hold parades when they return, or celebrate their memory of few holidays each year. that is not enough. how a nation treats it's veterans is the true measure of
all of us. whether it's health care, education, or employment, we have a covenant to keep with our veterans. and in the case of veterans homelessness, we are all dishonored when a veteran must lay their head to rest on the streets they defended. it begins with lincoln, but it rests with all of us to care for him who has born the battle. so as you no doubt realize, i've shared in full or in part only a handful of the more than 1,000 essays that we had received through this project, and more we have about 92 more in the book that we're published, they all are very in tone, subject, style, what they write about, but they're all inspired by the great emancipator, abraham lincoln. i'm going share just one last essay and it was written by
lincoln, the film lincoln's producer, kathy kennedy. and her essays entitle clarity of purpose. and it's very good at helping us kind of close, although i'll say a few premarks just after this. and she writes, we spend much, if not all of our lives in search of our reason for being. and the harder we look, the more the hidden meaning of our own existence seems to allude us. abraham lincoln on the other hand had an enviable clarity of purpose that resulted in his many great achievements. he recognized the party was to play in american history. and wasted no time in accomplishing all he could. though seemingly insurmountable obs kms were put in his path. his understanding of how he fit into his time and place coupled with his ambition, vision, inner
strength, and strong moral compass, always gave him the will to overcome them. but that personal impressions we often file recognize often comes at a serious cost. the responsibility to fulfill one's destiny once it has been revealed is an enormous burden that demand tremendous sacrifice. the cost required of lincoln to save the union put an end to slavery and preserved the very idea of democracy could not have been higher. it is difficult to imagine that someone would rise to that challenge, it is even more more difficult to imagine. the kind of person that would rise so wholly, so selflessly, and with unconditional dedication. it is for that very reason that often in the same breath we refer to his story as both an
incredible triumph and a terrible tragedy. but because this man is who was meant to be and just at the right time, he has left an indelible mark on our history, our country, and our lives. and for that, president abraham lincoln will always be remembered. truly remembered and as lincoln looked introspectively and pondered these questions, i now ask each of you, what is your destiny? what is your purpose? what is that is demanding tremendous sacrifice from you? what is your gettysburg address and what are your 272 words? abraham lincoln even from the grade beckens us to complete the unfinished work so that we and
future generations of americans may enjoy the fruits of a more perfect union. and abraham lincoln was and still is a great american hero. a hero who saw the united states as the last best hope of earth. he was committed to making america live up to the principles aspoused by our founding fathers and the declaration of independence. our constitution and our bill of rights. he was committed to our nation having a new birth of freedom so that government of the people, by the people, for the people would not parish from the earth. he understood that the mighty scourge of war that had come upon our nation was just the physical manifestation of our nations failure to live up to it's own lofty principles. washington was the father of our country, but lincoln, lynn kofs the savior.
and his story continues to be revealed and revered. as the russian author lee owe once wrote, the greatness of napoleon, cesar, or washington is only moonlight by the sun of lincoln. his example is universal and will last thousands of years. he was bigger than his country, bigger than all the presidents together, lincoln lived and died a hero, and as a great character, he will live as long as the world lives. and in the end, i will leave it to william shakespeare who i would have loved to have 272 words from. shakespeare was one of lincoln's favorite literary figures. and shakespeare presently said, take him and cut him out in little stars. and he shall make the face of
heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night and pay no worship to the garish sun. and with that, i thank you for sharing this evening with me, i encourage each of you to write your own 272 words, we're still collecting them. and they would become a permanent part of the archive of the abraham lincoln presidential library and museum. there are all 12 or 1,300 of them are there and yours can be there too. i invite you all to come and visit our museum and library in springfield. and i thank you again for being here this evening. [ applause ] >> thank you carla, it was a great project. i don't know who thought of it, but it's inspiring. and i hope maybe you still will get some more of your 272 words
in the new york audience. >> we're working on it. >> we do have time for some questions. does anybody have any questions? we have a microphone in the aisle there. if you will step up. and ask your questions. >> first all, thank you for having john not recite that. >> you're very welcome. we would be here until tomorrow. >> you mentioned prime minister reciting this, the address. in the international prirts come to the museum. you'll find because his words, much more specific to this time and this place and in our history and this for example jeffers jefferson's and the declaration of independence which apply to people any time any place.
you find people familiar with lincoln's words and their mean kpg. >> yes, we actually receive visitors for more than 100 countries annually. they come from five continents and they all know of him. but they note gettysburg address and we've actually had some international essays in the book. the former president of poland wrote 272 words. you know, people do know, but when they come to our museum, oftentimes their response is that they didn't quite know his whole story and when they learn it, they become even more taken with him. so -- we actually had one woman from south africa who said she actually warned us and said, i'm going -- okay, i'm just telling
you that i'm going to scream. enjoy. when we brought out his hats. and sure enough, she did. and people are very moved by him. >> you said that the lincoln left two copies of the speech in washington and then gave e them one. i thought he rewrote on the speech on the train going to gettysburg. is that accurate? >> no, well he, he probably was writing some of it on the train, but he also stayed in gettysburg the night before and was probably perfecting it that night. but, he, he, you know, wrote it, and afterwards, member of the press had asked him for a copy of it. and he gave it to them because they were going to typeset it. they wanted to send it around. and that person threw that copy out. so that's lost to history.
and so the very first one that he was asked to write out after giving it was the everett. >> i see. thank you. >> thank you for your question. >> would you want to tell us a little bit -- how many copies were there . >> there are five that exist today written in his own hand. from a historic standpoint we always wait for the day that somebody sells, nobody knew, but guess what? we have the sixth. i'll quickly tell you, one day i was invited to someone's home down in florida. they said a friend of mine passed away, he had some lincoln-related documents we'd like to give to you, and i said, all right, sure, absolutely. we got there. they had it in a hefty bag, all of this was in a hefty plastic bag they had thrown in a closet. all i kept thinking is thank god nothing threw it out over time.
it had two lincoln letters so you really never know. i hold out hope there's a sixth copy somewhere in the world that no one knows about. >> you said there's one in the lincoln bedroom at the white house. >> yes, one at cornell university, two at the library of congress which were the drafts, and then we have one, the springfield museum has one? >> yes, the museum is one of only two paces that/the three. the other is the library of congress. >> go ahead. >> i'm impressed with abraham lincoln's political courage in reference to the aftermath of the sioux uprising in minnesota in 1862 when hundreds of indians
were sentenced to death and lincoln reviewed every since ll single cases, and he reduced to about 81, 89, and i understand he did it at great political risk. the people of minnesota, that would have generated a lot of controversy. the elections -- midterm elections of 1862 were coming up. do you know if he -- if the republican party as a result of that lost elections in the house and senate? >> you're educating us tonight. i don't have an answer for that question. i am not a historian, my ph.d. is not in history, but working
where i have the last six years, i have learned a lot. i would check into that if you give me your e-mail, i would be happy to sending the answer from the lincoln curator. i can say throughout his career, lincoln was always for the underdog, and as louise had mentioned, we did an exhibit on lincoln and the jews, and at one point grant had expelled the jews from the mississippi valley. when lincoln learned of it, he immediately rescinded it and said, you know, under no circumstances. so he was always doing things like this. he was famous for pardoning -- i don't want to say just pardoning everyone, but famous for doing exactly what you want. he would carefully and thoughtfully read the pardons, which is why he had such great empathy and passion for people. he understood this might have been the 200th, you know,
document i'm reading about pardoning someone, but it's the only one that's important to that family or that individual, and he really took time to determine whether or not he would do these pardons, or the actions -- any actions he took. i thank you and i encourage you to give me your e-mail. >> okay. >> that i cnk you. >> thank you for your comments. what was the reaction to the gettysburg address at the time it was given. was there a particular moment in american history where it sort of achieved the iconic status, and is there any accurate description of what lincoln's voice sounded like? >> yes, i'll take the second question first. there have been accurate descriptions. when steven spielberg was putting together the movie "lincoln," they came to our museum and shared with them not
only descriptions of his voice, but of how he walked, how he sat, his cadence, not just with his walk, but with his voice, and our linking curators at the time me, because he studied it a lot, has told me that daniel day-lewis's portrayal of lincoln was very good, very spot on, from all the things written about him and all the research done on him. and as far as the gettysburg address, it's obviously not like today the minute you make a speech it's beamed all over the world, but it was well received and, you know, case in point there was everett who said you said in 2 1/2 words what couldn't say in 2 1/2 hours. he realized right off the bat that lincoln had hit the ball
out of the park. he had a lot of self-deprecating humor. once a woman accused him of being two-faced. he said if i had two faces, would i be wearing this one? so clearly he had self-deprecating humor, but every once in a while he knew when he kind of hit it out of the park, and the gettysburg address was one of them. he always obliged when people asked him to write it out. >> thank you. >> thank you. okay. so first question is where you do you send the submissions? i'll have all my students submit as an assignment. >> this is wonderful. >> where do you send it? >> i will give you the address, but you can send them to the abraham linking library foundation. my e-mail is c and my last
name@alplm name@alplm firstname.lastname@example.org. you mentioned carter. >> yes. >> did you reach out to all the living presidents? and general question -- how did you determine who to query to do this po posterity? >> we actually said anyone who wants to write one, we put it in our magazine, we advertised in papers, we sent out press releases, but having said that, there were some people who we felt we absolutely should try to hear from. we wrote to all the presidents. we were very fortunate, because the presidents don't always do all -- they don't all say yes, we will all go to this or that. it's usually -- i hate to see it, the passing of other presidents, other kind of major,
major state events. we were really lucky to get them. we sent out letters to all the governors, and four of them submitted essays. we went to the captain of the "uss abraham lincoln" that had a crew of 500, and a lot of the sailors wrote. we wrote to a lot of the lincoln scholars, because we felt it was important to get an idea of what they thought of, people who have written about linking, done films, opinion leaders, but also, you know, in our book we have students from little rock central high school that talked about the little rock nine. and we have schoolteachers and it's just a really wide breadth of different types of essays. >> thank you. >> thank you. yes?
>> i want to thank everyone. >> one last -- she can't get to the mike. [ inaudible ] the question was do i know the 273rd word that sam harris took out of his essay. i don't. i'm sorry. but sam, just so you know, he went on to establish the illinois holocaust museum and education center. so he went on to do great things. he's a wonderful man who has joined me on a lot of these presentation, he lives in illinois and couldn't make the trip. but thank you so much. >> we have some books for sale, and karla will say here and sign books. thank you for coming. we'll see you next week, i hope.
good night, everyone. you're watching "american history tv" 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule, and to keep up with the latest history news. next on american history tv's reel america, from 50 years ago, a u.s. army film from the big picture series. a nation builds under fire features efforts in vietnam to build a civil society in the midst of war. it's introduced by vice president hubert humphrey and narrated by actor john wayne.