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Argumentation in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

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Abstract

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address normally is understood as epideictic, intended only to dedicate a national cemetery. In fact, however, an important argument is subtly and implicitly developed in this brief text: that nationalism is necessary for democracy to flourish. This argument will be identified and its layout described. Moreover, Lincoln employs all three dimensions of strategic maneuvering (topical potential, audience demand, and presentational choices) to enhance this argument. Its placement within an epideictic address is strategically useful and illustrates the ways in which epideictic can have argument content.

References

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