November 19th is the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. This speech is widely acclaimed as one of the most eloquent in American history. It was delivered at the dedication of a national cemetery on Gettysburg's battlefield four and a half months after Union forces turned back Robert E. Lee's Confederate army in the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War. The brief address reverberates with the rhythms and phrases of the King James Bible, a book with which Lincoln was intimately acquainted. Professor Dreisbach will discuss how Lincoln used biblical language and themes to solemnify the occasion and to infuse the sacrifice of the dead and wounded at Gettysburg with great meaning.
Daniel L. Dreisbach is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia. His principal research interests are constitutional law and the intersection of religion, politics, and law in American public life. He has authored or edited eight books, including Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (Oxford Univ. Press, forthcoming in 2014), The Sacred Rights of Conscience (Liberty Fund, 2009), and Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (New York Univ. Press, 2002). He has published numerous book chapters, reviews, and articles in scholarly journals, including American Journal of Legal History, Politics and Religion, Constitutional Commentary, Journal of Church and State, and William and Mary Quarterly.