Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer by profession and among the great presidents in the history of the United States. Born in a poor family in 1849, he was self-educated and was openly opposed to the idea of racial discrimination and slavery.
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This is one of the reasons why upon election as president in 1860, he had little or no support from most of the southern states because of his stand on the slavery issue. He, however, enjoyed massive support from the north and was elected president.
Upon the election of Abraham Lincoln as the president, several states in the south voiced the intent to break up from the American union. This was the genesis of the civil war.
The Gettysburg Address was delivered by Lincoln in 1863 at the end of the civil war on a battlefield where many Americans had lost their lives while struggling to guarantee the survival of the nation.
Lincoln was assassinated a few days after the commanding officer of the Confederates had surrendered.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is revered for embracing non-violent methods while struggling for African American civil rights. Born in Atlanta in 1929, King was a clergyman who shared Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a person free from slavery and oppression.
He began his activism at an early age and is best remembered for ‘I have a dream’ speech delivered during the 1963 Washington D.C. march. The march was a major turning point in the life of King. He established himself as a great orator and a radical attracting the attention of the FBI.
In 1964, he received a Nobel peace prize for his efforts in fighting racial discrimination through nonviolence means. Martin was assassinated in 1968, and it is rumored that authorities were involved in his death.
The Gettysburg Address is among the famous speeches in the history of the United States. The speech is a short one that barely lasted for a few minutes. Lincoln delivered the address in 1863 at a cemetery in Gettysburg.
The occasion was a dedication to the soldiers who had fought in the battle of Gettysburg, which had ended just four and a half months earlier. Abraham Lincoln’s speech retaliated human equality principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
Abraham Starts his address by reaffirming this principle. He mentions that about seven years earlier their fathers had settled on the continent and created a new nation. This nation was conceived in liberty and was dedicated to the idea that all men were equal.
The address refers to the civil war as an effort to preserve the union. This struggle would foster freedom vital for true equality for every American.
King’s speech was delivered to hundred of thousands of supporters who attended the occasion at Lincoln’s memorial. The speech by King is viewed as the most vital in the realm of civil rights in America’s history. In his speech, King emphasizes the starting principles of the United States.
He also refers to the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 signed by Abraham Lincoln. Through the speech, King revealed that the aforementioned proclamation guaranteed basic rights to all men notwithstanding their race. These rights were liberty and life among other rights.
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The note that Martin Luther King Jr. talked about in his speech is the Declaration of Independence. In both speeches, we see that the speakers emphasize on the promises in the Declaration of Independence.
Both speeches are meant to inspire and give hope to the listeners that the worst is past and they should focus on the task ahead of building the nation to a level of prosperity where everyone enjoys equal rights. This is vivid in King’s speech when he talks about the dream he has for the nation.
He states that he has a dream that the obstacles faced by American society would be eradicated. This entrenched hope in the American people. Abraham Lincoln finishes his speech in a hopeful tone.
He asserts that the United States was a nation under God and freedoms would be enjoyed by every individual. Lincoln, in the second sentence of his speech, states that the country was engulfed in a brutal civil war that tested the endurance of the great nation through dedication.
Lincoln makes an argument in support of the civil war. He is for a united country and continues to stress that the country shall only survive at all times through the dedication of its citizens. He gives the example of the soldiers who had died in the battle of Gettysburg.
King in his speech speaks of the sacrifice and dedication that they must have to achieve what they desire. He stresses in his speech the nature in which they should conduct themselves while protesting.
As a nonviolent activist, King is in support of peaceful protest even in the face of police brutality. This is supported by his assertion that the American people must forever conduct their struggle with dignity and discipline.
He adds that the people must never allow their ingenious remonstrations to relapse into material violence. Through his statements, we see that King shares the vision Lincoln had 100 years before he gave his speech of a united country where everyone was free.
In the closing statement of Lincoln address, he mentions that the United States is a nation under God and therefore shall have a new birth of freedom. Moreover, the country was a government of the people, by the people and would not be destroyed.
He sets our eyes upon the future by making the day a new beginning for the benefit of the citizen who because of their past sacrifices, shall enjoy the freedoms they yearned for so long.
In the closing statement of the ‘, I have a dream’ speech King expresses hope by stating that the sacrifices made will pay and the future is very promising.
This view comes from his assertion that all the oppressed people would show togetherness while singing in unison the words of the Negro spiritual that thanked God for the attainment of freedom in American society.
In his speech, Lincoln identifies the dedication of the soldiers who died at Gettysburg as an exception. He highlights that the lesson from the dedication is what is expected from every individual in the country if democracy is to survive.
He continues to honor the dead soldiers who were so dedicated that they were willing to lay down their lives in their activities. Their dedication was a symbol of the ultimate devotion.
He speaks to the present and even future generations and stresses that dedication must be there for the citizens of the country to ensure that the country attains progress. This is revealed in the statement that there is a great task ahead of the Americans.
Through his speech, King speaks of continued dedication and an attitude of optimism as the march no freedom for the oppressed African Americans was almost over. He stresses the need for unity between the blacks and the whites realizing that everybody’s freedom is tied to one another.
This is evident when he says that the American people were to walk together by making the pledge of marching ahead and forgetting the past.
Both Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. were great statesmen. They held a great vision for the American people. In their effort to ensure that the country was living up to the promise of freedom and prosperity they encountered opposition from people who did not share their dream.
The result was that both of them were assassinated at the height of achievement in their careers. Abraham was assassinated a few days after defeating the Confederate resistance in which the general of the militia surrendered. On the other hand, King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968.
After the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy, King informed his wife that the same was going to happen to him. He put the blame on the sick American society they lived in. King was shot once and died on arrival at the hospital.
The two make good examples of leaders and are emulated by those aspiring to be leaders in America or any country in the world. The selfless leadership demonstrated by the two leaders living 100 years apart is exceptional and rare in the contemporary world.