town in south-central Pennsylvania, U.S., 1800 (earlier it was Gettys-town), founded 1780s by Gen. James Gettys and named for him. Civil War battle there was fought July 1-3, 1863. In U.S. history, the Gettysburg Address (see address (n.)) was given Nov. 19, 1863, on the occasion of the consecration of a cemetery there for the battlefield dead, and was being called that by 1865, though before President Lincoln's assassination the term tended to refer to Edward Everett's full oration that preceded Lincoln's short speech.
updated on October 10, 2017
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