On the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered remarks, later known as the Gettysburg Address, at the official dedication ceremony for the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—the site of one of the bloodiest and most decisive battles of the Civil War.

Lincoln was not the featured orator that day, but his Gettysburg Address came to be regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. In just over two minutes, the President reiterated the principles of human equality contained in the Declaration of Independence and connected the sacrifices of the Civil War with the desire for “a new birth of freedom” that would bring true equality to all citizens, ensuring the preservation of the Union and its ideals of self-government.