What’s Wrong With The Gettysburg Address?

152 years ago this afternoon, President Lincoln delivered one of his most famous speeches. At the time, it was considered a flop (or “The Flop That Popped” in the words of Salvador Litvak), but today we treat it like the gold standard of Presidential communication.

Now that’s not to knock it; it’s an important speech. But by today’s writing standards, it’s anything but clear. Don’t believe me? Check out what happens when you run the address through Hemingway:

GettysburgFollow along for more Lincoln fun at @HonestAbeBlog!



What’s Wrong With The Gettysburg Address?

Score 4 and 7 Yards To Go

This weekend I am due to see what will be (**GASP**) my first football game. The match, scheduled between my beloved Michigan Wolverines and the still-weird-for-me-to-think-of-them-in-the-Big-10 Maryland Terps, was supposed to be a night game – but has been bumped up to a 12pm start time.

I’ve been watching Michigan football for years; so getting to see a game in-person will be a treat, but there’s definitely one thing I’ll miss, and no, it’s not the commentary. It’s these commercials:

Kudos to Illinois, for having a state ad campaign that rivals Pure Michigan.

Score 4 and 7 Yards To Go

The Elements of Presidential Style

“Practice makes perfect” has always been my approach to writing. Right now, I’m very much in the midst of the “practice” period. While improving my copy-editing capabilities is on the short list for 2016 New Year’s Resolutions, I believe that ALL writing can benefit from another set of eyes.

However, another set of eyes isn’t always the only answer. Sometimes, you’ve got to balance that with style, audience, and other choices.

This image from Laura Freschi on the Development Research Institute’s blog hammers home the value of balancing clarity and style nicely:

“How Good Writing Experts Are Not Always Right”


Got good pop-culture Abe Lincoln references? Send them my way at honestabeblog at gmail dot com.


The Elements of Presidential Style

Happy L-Abe-r Day

Labor Day didn’t exist as such during Abraham Lincoln’s lifetime. Although, it originated in a late nineteenth century tradition of showing public support for labor issues, it was not until 1882 that it became a more organized celebration.

Even though Lincoln didn’t get to participate in our modern-day formalized fête, he still deeply appreciated hard work, noting that:

“Labor is the true standard of value.”

He was no wimp when it came to hard labor, himself; indeed, the classic image of Lincoln the rail splitter comes to mind.


Although for most of us, today is a day where we take a break (or in my instance – spend 12 hours travelling home from a vacation), it’s important to step back and take a minute to be thankful for all of the hard working people that makes our country great.


Happy L-Abe-r Day