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Gettysburg Address (Bliss Copy), November 19, 1863

Abraham Lincoln, Brady image, 1863
There are five versions of the Gettysburg Address in Abraham Lincoln's handwriting. The so-called "Bliss Copy" was the final one prepared by the president in March 1864 and designed to be lithographed (or copied) for sale at the Baltimore Sanitary Fair in April. Alexander Bliss was one of the Fair's organizers. The "Bliss Copy" has become the standard text for Lincoln's November 19, 1863 Gettysburg Address, although it was definitely not the text he used for delivery. The most noticeable difference between the earlier and later copies of the Address was the inclusion of the phrase "under God" in the final sentence, which only appears in the final three copies prepared in February and March 1864. Otherwise, the variations are minor, mostly grammatical. Regardless of the version, however, it is without doubt that Lincoln's Gettysburg Address offers in a mere ten sentences and only about 272 words the most evocative and powerful explanation for why Northerners had to continue to fight the Civil War despite its terrible human costs. The Bliss Copy is now displayed inside The White House and provides the text for the version at the Lincoln Memorial (By Matthew Pinsker)


How to Cite This Page: "Gettysburg Address (Bliss Copy), November 19, 1863," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,