H.L. Mencken Told The Truth: “Gettysburg Address” A Lie; It Was Confederate Troops Who Fought For “Government Of The People, By The People, For The People”
“But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination— ‘that government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue.
“The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.” — Journalist H.L. Mencken, From “Five Men at Random,” “Prejudices: Third Series,” 1922, pp. 171-76: First printed, in part, in the “Smart Set,” May, 1920, p. 141