Dear President Lincoln

Dear President Lincoln,

The Minnesota Historical Society’s Student Writing Contest

Contest Announcement: 4 students selected to accompany Task Force to Gettysburg

The Minnesota Historical Society and MN Civil War Commemoration Task Force congratulate all of the students for their sincere and insightful replies to President Lincoln’s immortal 1863 Address. A total 170 essays were submitted from students statewide. One junior division (grades 6-8) and one senior division (grades 9-12) student from both groups was selected as grand-prize winners and will accompany the Task Force on a trip to the Gettysburg National Military Park this summer for the 150th anniversary of this turning point in American history.

Read student blogs from Gettysburg

These selected students, and their essays, are identified below along with the names of the other finalists.

Finalists/Honorable Mention

Caleb Nelson, Fairbault - Fairbault Middle School

Kameron Herndon, Eden Prairie - Ramalynn Montessori Academy

Elaina Seeman, Rogers - Roger Middle School

Jay Vaidyanathan, Duluth - Ordean Middle School

Linnea Larson, Northfield - Northfield Middle School

Naomi Liu, Falcon Heights - Nova Classical Academy

Noah Schmelzer, Northfield - Arcadia Charter School

Anna Madsen, Ruthton - Russell-Tyler-Ruthton

Sarah Oman, North Branch - Oman Home School

Laura Albrecht, Fairfax - MN Valley Lutheran

Mary Hagen, Rochester - Schaeffer Academy

Max Voda, Minneapolis - Carondelet Catholic School

Aria Norcross, Scandia - Lakes International Language Academy

Solomon Sewell, Fergus Falls - Kennedy secondary school

Connor Oldenburg, Mapleton - Lincolns Traveling Troupe

Soren Malm, St. Paul - L'etiole du Nord French Immersion

Eric Lagos, St Paul - L'Etoile du Nord French Immersion

Zakariah Benjamin Lee, Saint Cloud - Saint Johns Preparatory School

Gettysburg Address

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.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. 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. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. 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 is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.



  • Write a response to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
  • Win a trip to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania
  • Win an iPad to blog about your experience

In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln framed the July, 1863 battle, where Minnesota troops suffered heavy losses, in terms of a test to the proposition that all men are created equal. The Battle of Gettysburg proved a turning point in the Civil War and President Lincoln’s address articulated a turning point in American history.

Now, 150 years later, the Minnesota Historical Society invites students to write their own reply to Lincoln’s immortal speech. Has our nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, long endured after the Civil War? Do we remain a government of the people, by the people, for the people? Their essay, like Lincoln’s eloquent address, must make the point in approximately ten sentences (no more than 300 words).

Finalists and grand prize winners will be identified on May 4, 2013. Two junior high students (grades 6 - 8) and two senior high students (grades 9 - 12) will be chosen as grand prize winners and will accompany Minnesota’s official Civil War Commemorative Task Force to the Pennsylvania Battlefield for 150th Anniversary Commemoration from July 1 - 3, 2013. Each student will also receive an Apple iPad and will blog about this once-in-a-lifetime experience.