28 April 2010

ch.22: The Gettysburg Address

A primarily focus of this chapter is the Gettysburg Address. Do most kids still have to learn the speech word-for-word when they are young? If not, they should. I think everyone should read and understand the Gettysburg Address and think about what Lincoln was trying to say—about the war, the county, and the Constitution. You can peruse the speech on page 586 of Team of Rivals or go here to read it.

Lincoln was also beginning to cobble together a Reconstruction plan. It is clear from reading this chapter that this task was going to cause some serious political difficulties. Most historians agree, however, that had Lincoln lived, he might have been able to bring all the sides together to agree on some Reconstruction fundamentals.

Unfortunately, Andrew Johnson could not do this.  


  1. The Gettysburg Address, as Professor Woodard notes, is a must read for youngsters and adults alike. The brief speech captures both the righteousness of the cause and the essence of Lincoln’s greatness.

    Also in this particular chapter, the author notes “Copperhead Clement Vallandigham … conducted his [gubernatorial] campaign from exile in Canada … calling for ‘peace at any price’ – even if slavery was maintained and the Union divided.” Can we imagine how radically different future history would have been if such an extremist position had been accepted by Lincoln and the Congress? How should we respond to such “peace at any price” ideology that is often advocated today?

    When I read that Lincoln attended Ford’s Theatre in December of 1863 for Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” it reminded me of a somewhat humorous incident that took place during World War I. During the anti-German feelings in England at that time, many German names and titles were changed and given more English-sounding names, including the royal family’s from “Saxe-Colburg” to “Windsor.” Kaiser Wilhelm II countered this by jokingly saying that he was off to see a performance of the “Merry Wives of Saxe-Colburg.”

    Tim Utter

  2. Waiting for the last few chapters!!

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  10. I have really enjoyed reading the different chapter summaries and questions for reflection! Do you plan on finishing the last chapters?