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Lincoln and the Civil War Mark Twain

Lincoln and the Civil War

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What an uprising it was! We did not have to supplicate for soldiers on either side. “We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand strong!” That was the music North and South. The very choicest young blood and brawn and brain rose up from Maine to the Gulf and flocked to the standards--just as men always do when in their eyes their cause is great and fine and their hearts are in it; just as men flocked to the Crusades, sacrificing all they possessed to the cause, and entering cheerfully upon hardships which we cannot even imagine in this age, and upon toilsome and wasting journeys which in our time would be the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe five times over.

North and South we put our hearts into that colossal struggle, and out of it came the blessed fulfilment of the prophecy of the immortal Gettysburg speech which said: “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 a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

We are here to honor the birthday of the greatest citizen, and the noblest and the best, after Washington, that this land or any other has yet produced. The old wounds are healed, you and we are brothers again; you testify it by honoring two of us--once soldiers of the Lost Cause, and foes of your great and good leader--with the privilege of assisting here; and we testify it by laying our honest homage at the feet of Abraham Lincoln, and in forgetting that you of the North and we of the South were ever enemies, and remembering only that we are now indistinguishably fused together and nameable by one common great name--Americans!

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Lincoln and the Civil War
Mark Twain

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