In Lincoln at Gettysburg , Garry Wills notes the similarity between Lincoln's speech and Pericles's Funeral Oration during the Peloponnesian War (James McPherson  and Gore Vidal  also note this). Pericles' speech begins with remembering honored people: "I shall begin with our ancestors : it is both just and proper that they should have the honour of the first mention on an occasion like the present". This is very much like the Gettysburg Address's famous beginning. In the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln had begun by speaking of how "our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation". He then praises their State's firm democracy : "If we look to the laws, they afford equal justice to all". He honors the dead's sacrifice: "Thus choosing to die resisting, rather than to live submitting, they fled only from dishonour, but met danger face to face". He also warmly encourages the living to continue to fight for true democracy: "You, their survivors, must determine to have as unfaltering a resolution in the field, though you may pray that it may have a happier issue ".  
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate - we cannot consecrate - we cannot hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
You will soon receive an email with a direct link to your profile, where you can update your you do not receive this email, please contact us .
In contrast, writer Adam Gopnik , in The New Yorker , notes that while Everett's Oration was explicitly neoclassical , referring directly to Marathon and Pericles , "Lincoln's rhetoric is, instead, deliberately Biblical. (It is difficult to find a single obviously classical reference in any of his speeches.) Lincoln had mastered the sound of the King James Bible so completely that he could recast abstract issues of constitutional law in Biblical terms, making the proposition that Texas and New Hampshire should be forever bound by a single post office sound like something right out of Genesis ."