Pop quiz! Who is this guy and what prompted him to write this statement?
“I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.”
No guesses? Okay, I’ll tell you his name: Edward Everett.
Still no guesses? Here’s another hint: He was president of Harvard University from 1846 to 1848, and Acting U.S. Secretary of State from 1852 to 1853.
Ah, I see some of you Civil War historians out there raising your hands. That’s correct! Edward Everett was a highly respected public speaker during the Civil War era. In fact, he was the featured speaker at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, the same event at which President Abraham Lincoln made his brief and famous speech. Continue reading