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The Gettysburg Address gets a graphic novel treatment

Scene from The Gettysburg Address where Confederate General Robert E. Lee greetis his soldiers.

Cover art for The Gettysburg Address written by LA based writer Jonathan Hennessey.


President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 150 years ago.

The speech, delivered 4.5 months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the Battle of Gettysburg, is regarded as one of the greatest speeches in American history. But now a new book has a completely different take on the speech and what it meant at the time. 

RELATED: Gettysburg Address: 6 cool things to know on the 150th anniversary

L.A.-based writer Jonathan Hennessey's new book is called "The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation."

Interview Highlights:

On why he decided to take on the Gettysburg Address as a graphic novel:
"There's many people out there who will never choose to sit down and look at the 600 page biography of Abraham Lincoln or even a one volume work on the civil war so I'm a great lover of this visual format. You can get so much done with so little. The comic book format or the graphic novel format, if you want to talk about it in a classy way, I think was an interesting way to take apart the speech from all angles."

On the factors that lead up to the Civil War:
"The key thing that was going on at the time was the expansion of the United States. We were a nation divided by some states where slavery was legal and other states where slavery had been legal at one time, but was not anymore. The country was still moving into the west. California had become a state in the 1850s, but there was still all this open territory and there were people who wanted to take the opportunity of that territory so there was really a race between the slave states and the non-slave states because every new state that entered into the Union would bring more congressmen, would bring more senators, would bring much more influence in the federal government. And it was really a race to control the future of America.?

On how this book project came about:
"What I present to my partner Aaron McConnell is I present him with a script. I will actually take a page, figure out what I want him to draw in each pan`el and write a description of every panel and figure out what is the best way for the idea to flow across the page. Even when you turn the page, what idea can set up and then pay off as you turn the page."

On his favorite part of the Gettysburg Address:
"I find the last few lines about government of the people, by the people and for the people, of course, being the most stirring one. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is so important because the Civil War was about slavery, yes, but it was also very much about a question of what is the United States? What is the Union? Is it just a pragmatic governmental co-op for some sovereign states to perform certain tasks. Or is it a way that the whole people, no matter where they lived were dedicated to bringing this radical idea of freedom into practice.

"Lincoln's vision of what the United States is was that it was that, that it was this very, very sacred covenant of a people with ideas, with a philosophy, with a whole idea of popular sovereignty. And in the south, they really looked upon it in a different way. That it was just a contract, a compact that could be walked away from like a divorce. His vision of government of the people, by the people, for the people really sums up his vision of what the United States is."

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