Monday, April 13, 2009

". . . a new nation, conceived in Liberty . . . "
~The Gettysburg Address~

As research for the "272 Words" sampler, I looked at Lincoln's transcriptions of the Gettysburg Address, in his own handwriting. He starts with these words: "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Lincoln uses "Liberty" in mid-sentence, with a capital "L," referring to the country's birth in 1776. We see many capitalized words in The Declaration of Independence, where "unalienable Rights" are "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." Lincoln, by contrast, uses few caps . . . to me, that makes "Liberty" stand out.

The concept of Liberty is often depicted as a female figure, and very successfully -- in Eugene Delacroix's 1830 painting, Liberty Leading the People. In Frederic Bartholdi's design (France's gift to the U.S. in 1886) of The Statue of Liberty. On U.S. coinage, as Liberty Walking -- the 1916 design by Adolph Weinman. And more recently -- The New York Liberty, the women's basketball team of the WNBA founded in 1997.

It's fantastic to see Liberty associated with female strength, bravery, and resolve. How many of our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends would fit that description? Quite a few -- no doubt about it. Now that I think of it, Liberty with a capital "L" makes perfect sense.

Liberty . . . you go, girl!