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Gettysburg Address in Translation

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has come to be recognized at home and abroad, not merely as a key document in American history, but as one of the gems of the English language. Acclaimed historian James McPherson has called it “the world’s foremost statement of freedom and democracy and the sacrifices required to achieve and defend them.”

In 1972, the Library of Congress published a collection of translations of the Gettysburg Address into 29 of the world’s major languages. Roy P. Basler, who compiled the translations, noted that

“… such a booklet might serve foreign visitors to the several Lincoln shrines with an opportunity to come to grips with Lincoln’s expression of the essence of American democracy rendered beautifully into their mother tongues. To multi-linguists, it might afford an insight into the complexity of human communication. And to students of history or of literature, it might give pause to reflect.

Believing that the human ideals Lincoln articulated in the Gettysburg Address recognize no national borders, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is pleased to make available Basler’s translations again.