But the speech has “tri­umphed over time, con­dem­na­tion, obscu­rity, parody and com­par­ison,” Pro­fessor Richard Katula of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity wrote in 1999 in judging the speech to be the best of Amer­ican polit­ical rhetoric.

And 150 years later it is pos­sible to say that the brevity of the speech is key to its staying power. Every word the pres­i­dent spoke was necessary.

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