Mencken and More on Lincoln’s Speech

B'Man's Revolt

Mencken and More on Lincoln’s Speech

by DC Dave

lincolnThe critical observations of America’s most famous journalist about America’s most famous speech, which was written and delivered by America’s most worshipped president, have recently received some attention on the Internet (but certainly never in the mainstream press).  I speak of H. L. Mencken and his comments on Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Here are Mencken’s words, which make up the concluding two paragraphs of his short, sharp essay on Lincoln.  The essay first appeared in 1920 in the Smart Set, a literary magazine published by Mencken and George Jean Nathan.* I encountered it some years ago in the 1955 edition of the Vintage Book Mencken collection by Alistair Cooke:

Dead Confederate in the Devil's Den area Dead Confederate in the Devil’s Den area

Like William Jennings Bryan, he was a dark horse made suddenly formidable by fortunate rhetoric.  The Douglas debate launched him, and the Cooper Union Speech got…

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