Four score and seven years ago our progressives brought forth in this country a new notion, conceived in socialism, and dedicated to the proposition that all students must be created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil debate, testing rather that notion, or any notion so arbitrary and totalitarian, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that debate. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for the ideologues who here told lies that this infamous notion might live. It is altogether fitting and propitious that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not deconstruct -- we can not debunk -- we can not satirize -- these extremists. The brave reformers, living and dead, who struggled here, have exposed them, far above our poor power to add or detract. It is for us the free, 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 -- we here highly resolve that this country, under God, shall have a new birth of enlightenment -- and that education of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
“Only the educated are free.” -- Epictetus
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed." -- Thomas Jefferson
“Education makes people...easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.” -- Henry Peter Brougham
“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” -- John F. Kennedy