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STUDYWORLD STUDYNOTES:

CLASSIC LITERATURE ANALYSIS

STUDYWORLD REPORTS & ESSAYS

RESEARCH AND IDEA DATABASE




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Responsibility of Others

Responsibility to others was a major theme during the Division, War, and Reconciliation Era even though most people think of
anti-slavery as the theme. A lot of the writers such as Abraham Lincoln weren't as concerned about themselves, they were
concerned about others. They weren't fighting for their side to win the war, they were fighting for the freedom and well-being of
others. Two of the literary pieces that represent care and responsibility for others' are "I Will Fight No More Forever" by Chief
Joseph and "The Gettysburg Address" by Abraham Lincoln. Just these two pieces alone represent two important people of this
era showing their concern for the people they are supposed to be leading instead of winning the war to make themselves look
better.

The first piece, "I Will Fight No More Forever" by Chief Joseph demonstrates the care and responsibility someone has for
another. In the tribes of indians, the chief was the leader and the one that the people counted on to protect them. A lot of
leaders would have just kept fighting to win the battles to make themselves look more powerful but Chief Joseph doesn't do
that. He takes responsibility for his tribe. He see's the people suffering and see's tribe members dying. He knows he has to take
responsibility for them and protect them. He says in this letter that "..the children are dying and missing...", "...the chiefs and old
men are dead...", and "...we are tired, sad, and sick...". He goes on saying that they are freezing, have no more blankets, and a
lot of people were killed. These are the words of someone who puts others ahead of his own self. The words of someone
taking responsibility for his people. Ending with the words, "...I will fight no more forever...", he is saying that they give up, he
would rather protect and help his own if it means him loosing a battle.

The second of the two pieces is "The Gettysburg Address" by Abraham Lincoln also demonstrates someone's responsibility
and care for others. Lincoln explains in this speech about why the war was going on and that the nation is made for people to
have freedom. The slaves were mistreated and slavery was wrong and Lincoln tells the people this. He doesn't want to go to
war but if it will help the people he is supposed to be leading as the President then the war is worth it. "...as a final resting place
for those who here gave up their lives that that nation might live." Lincoln is saying right there that if it takes some people giving
up their lives to help others' in need then it is his and the Union's responisbility for the wellfare of the rest of the nation and
people to come. He also mentions that brave living and dead men struggled for freedom of those to come. He thinks that the
people should come first and it is his responsibility to give these people the help, respect, and freedom they deserve. His phrase
"... that government of the people, by the people, and for the people..." just sums up his care for others and not putting himself
first.

Even though this period in time focuses on anti-slavery and freedom, it proves to be a period where people put the care of
others ahead of themselves as seen in these two works of literature. Both of these authors are showing as leaders the
responsibility they have to protect their people and the rights the people have. They could have easily kept fighting and win the
war just to make themselves look better but they didn't. They chose the people first and did what they thought was the best for
their people.

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