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Hello - I am planning on doing a children's sermon on Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in November just before the 150th Anniversary. I am in a quandary about how to explain something.

The first line is Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

What do you think he meant by "men"  Did he mean all people or since women did not have the right to vote yet did he just mean males. Or do you think he meant just white males and free black males? If the speech were given today the speaker would probably be politically correct by saying "all people"

But given the times, what do you think he meant.When I ecplain it to kids I think I am going to tell them  to insert the word "people"


Jim Avery

Dover PA

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Replies to This Discussion

"For there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  Gal. 3:28.

Since he said "created" I would think that he was taking into consideration all those created. All those created (as stated in the Forefathers' Declaration of Independence "all are endowed by their Creator... life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness") are recipients of those stated unalienable rights.  Whether he realized it or not, he was stating all people.  God says in His word there is no differentiation between man and woman when it comes to those in Him.  :-]

My humble opinion.  :-]  Dori


Your thought of "all people" sounds like you are on the right track.

When Lincoln thought, composed and wrote his address it most likely was proceeded by prayer. The war and its costs weighed heavily on his mind and the politcs at that time were a nightmare.

His words showed humility and honor as well as moving us forward in their cause.

When asked today about Lincoln, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?  For me it is his Gettysburg address.

If you have seen Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis, use his model if it helps.

Good luck and know you will do a spendid job.

As a communication scholar, I have to stress that Lincoln was a product of his time.  When he said "all men are created equal," he meant men.  There is nothing in the text of the speech itself to indicate that he wanted to include women in that equation.  Nothing in Lincoln's political agenda, as far as I know, suggests that he was concerned with the issue of women's suffrage.  

It does a disservice to the understanding of history when we try to paint politicians such as Lincoln as saints who understood truths, such as women's equality, which they did not speak about.  Lincoln accomplished great things, yes, but he not perfect.  Nor was he concerned with the battles that women were already fighting in the centuries-long battle to win their civil rights.



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