More than one person noted that Democratic Senator and Presidential Candidate Barack Obama used plagiarism in delivering a speech to the Democratic National Convention. What did he copy? The famous Gettysburg Address delivered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1969.
Following are the Obama Speech (bold type with quotations) and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (italics without quotations).
"Forty-seven years ago, our father's fought on this continent to strengthen our nation."
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,
"fighting for Civil rights and liberty, and dedication to the idea that all men are created equal."
conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
"Even today, we are still engaged in that great war of civil rights,"
Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
"testing whether this, or any other white nation, so conceived and so racially dominated, can long endure tokenism."
testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.
"We are met in a great battlefield state of that war."
We are met on a great battle-field of that war.
"We have come to dedicate a small portion of this year, as the final resting place for those who fought for their civil rights that this nation might live the dream of the Rainbow Coalition."
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.
"Yo, Dog, this be a happenin' thang!"
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
"But, when you look at the big picture, we cannot dedicate, we cannot hallow, we cannot consecrate this movement."
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground.
"The brothers, alive and dead, who fought for it have consecrated it, a lot more than we our able to do in any feeble fashion."
The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
"Ain't none of you whiteys gonna pay attention or even care about what we say here, but you can't never forget what is goin' down here."
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.
"We what's here is gonna get ourselves dedicated here and finish this work and make sure that those who fought before us did not die in vain, and advance their noble cause."
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's one great big mother of a job before us..."
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us
"From those who struggled and overcome we take the strength that they measured out."
-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion
"And, in conclusion, we resolve that those who died for civil rights shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under Allah (and Mohammed and Rev. Jeremiah Wright are his Prophets), is gonna have more freedom for the brothers"
-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died for nothin'-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom
"And that this Government, of the brothas, by the brothas, for the brothas, shall ain't never gonna go away."
-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
When asked if he had used The Gettysburg Address to model his speech, Obama denied it. His response was two-fold:
He first asked if we had ever heard of sampling, such as is often used as an excuse for plagiarism in rap music. He then asked us to define the word "plagiarism."
United States Courts have upheld the rights of original artists and found against "samplers" in several lawsuits and ordered monetary restitution.
According the the Scribner Bantam English Dictionary, 1980 edition, on page 690, plagiarism is derived from the Latin word plagiarius, meaning kidnapper. Definitions are: 1. act of stealing and using as one's own the ideas or the expression of the ideas of another. 2. that which is thus stolen.
When both of these points were answered to Mr. Obama, he accused this reporter and publication of racism and brought up every percieved sin and error he could think of.
The Chairman of the Democratic Party, upon being questioned about the speech, chose to deny any resemblance to that of Mr. Lincoln and asked reporters not to fight with Obama. He also stated that his candidate would not do anything like that.
However, the fact still remains that Mr. Obama stole the Gettysburg Address for an inflammatory speech.