A Score is Twenty Years

Abraham Lincoln

A Score is Twenty Years

A score is equal to twenty years, so when President Abraham Lincoln stated four score and seven years ago in the Gettysburg Address, on November 19, 1863, he was referencing 87 years prior or 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed.1

I taught school for twenty-six years, and I made all my students memorize the Gettysburg Address. The Gettysburg Address is a great speech for students to practice public speaking before their twenty plus classmates.

Here is Lincoln’s speech.

Gettysburg Address

By Abraham Lincoln

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

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. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”2

Video: The Gettysburg Address


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1 Friedman, Megan. “Seven Score and Seven Years Ago: What You Don’t Know about the Gettysburg Address.” Published November 19, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from Seven Score and Seven Years Ago: What You Don’t Know About the Gettysburg Address | TIME.com

2 Gettysburg Address. Encyclopedic entry in the National Geographic Resource Library. Retrieved July 8, 2022, from

Gettysburg Address | National Geographic Society

Every Friday, I join an online Christian writing community, Five Minute Friday. We are given a one-word prompt and write – unscripted, unedited, pure free-write – for 5 minutes. The prompt this week is twenty.

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32 thoughts on “A Score is Twenty Years”

  1. I love how you handled the prompt. Lincoln is one I’d my favorite presidents. Have you ever been to the Lincoln Museum/Library in Springfield, Illinois? It’s a must see!
    FMF #3

    1. I haven’t been to the Lincoln Museum and Library in Illinois, but I’ve been to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

  2. Abe Lincoln kept his station
    at high personal cost;
    he led, so that the nation
    would not be torn and lost.
    To my eye, he had no vaunt,
    and pictures show a worried frown,
    but there are more and more who want
    to tear his statues down.
    One Man alone was flawless
    (that was Christ’s preserve),
    but in a time gone conscienceless
    the scoffers have the nerve
    to demand the honoured dead
    obey the rules in their own head.

  3. Great idea to teach kids about the Gettysburg Address, but it is even better to memorize it! Perhaps I should suggest that to my kids’ history teachers! My sister in law a teacher for 20 years before having children. She always taught from the Constitution as a platform for all things history related. Hope you still teach!
    Jennifer, FMF

    1. Memorizing it, then giving it as a speech before the whole class was a great confidence builder for the kids! No, I retired two years ago, Jennifer. Have an awesome weekend!

  4. Coming from the UK, I had never heard, or read, the Gettysburg Address – but wow! Thank you so much for putting it up there to enlighten and educate.
    Just stopped by from FMF #15

  5. That brings back fond memories….working with each of my kiddos as they learned the Gettysburg Address. They each had to do so in fourth grade. Seems like a lifetime ago on one hand and just yesterday on the other hand. Also, thank you for your comment on my blog earlier today. I really did appreciate my mom working so hard to teach us to “speak correctly” as you said:) I did elaborate. I did not want to offend. But truly, I would not have known what you meant by “pank” – LOL! Great example!!:) Thanks for stopping by –

    1. The Gettysburg Address is a great speech to memorize, Jennifer! It’s good to speak well, and it’s cute to have an accent. Ha! Yes, “pank” was my “most telling word” and the hardest word to overcome, but once I conquered it, I was able to retrain my speech.

  6. having not grown up stateside beyond the four score and 7 years ago I am not very familiar with this speech. A good walk through history and how we carry it forward.

  7. This is a great reminder, Lisa, thank you! Even though we are Aussies, I had my daughter study this in our homeschool studies recently. I was amazed at how profound it was and how incredibly relevant still for other situations today.
    thanks for sharing
    Your FMF neighbour, at #25 this week.

    1. Lincoln’s speech is incredibly relevant today, Kath, which is amazing! God bless you in your homeschooling! It is a great adventure!

    1. Yes, this was a one-word prompt for twenty, and I immediately thought of Lincoln’s speech. I had to do a little research to find the correlation between score and twenty. Many people did a twenty-year review of their lives.

  8. You brought back the memory of my son having to memorize this in the 4th grade. I thought it was too difficult a task but I am so grateful it was given as an assignment.

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