The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here… Wanna bet?
Just some odds and ends regarding the Gettysburg Address.
Sometimes Simple is Better
A quick count of the words that comprise the Gettysburg Address reveals the following. Of the two hundred and sixty nine words that make up the address, two hundred and five of them are made up of one syllable, another forty six had two and only twenty or so had three syllables or more. The address is only ten sentences long and the last sentence alone accounts for almost one third of the entire speech.
Running Time – A Little Over Two Minutes
It seems that prior to making his address, Lincoln was preceded by one of the famed orators of his day, a man by the name of Edward Everett. Everett was a graduate of Harvard, (he later became president of the university), a professor of Greek, the former governor of Massachusetts and the ambassador to England. He was so well known that the original date of the dedication of the cemetery was changed in order to fit his schedule. Before Lincoln went on, he spoke to the audience (estimated at about 18,000) for over two hours and his speech was warmly received. Lincoln then took the stage and congratulated Everett on a job well done. He then went on to utter his immortal words.
A little while afterward, Lincoln received a letter from Edwards that stated the following.
“Sir, I should be grateful to flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
Lincoln’s reply went something to the effect of “I am pleased to know that in your judgment, the little I did say was not entirely a failure.”
I know I sometimes struggle with how long I should make a particular w/u and for as long as I’ve been here at E2, the debate regarding the length (or lack thereof) of certain write ups flares up every once in awhile. Some people like the short, two bits of information and others might like to wade through reams of documentation to find what they’re looking for. Whatever the case may be, lets all try and remember that it’s the content that counts.
I’m not gonna count the words but I’m pretty sure the w/u is now longer than the actual Gettysburg Address. I am however, 100% positive it will not have the same impact.