Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address

Reading comments

Week #6

Title: In this post, I’ll be commenting on Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Union address, and what it has to do with new media.

Comments: Through the first third of the speech, I couldn’t understand why this reading had even been considered as having anything to do with new media. It was a long winded speech made one hundred and fifty years ago, (on 27 February, 1860 to be exact,) and dealt with why a Republican such as Lincoln could hold such a high position such as president, and why the opposing party was incorrect in its thinking. What he said in his speech all made sense, in a very roundabout way, I just didn’t see why this was assigned as an optional reading. However, I persisted and continued to look for meaning.

Towards the end, Lincoln began concluding by rapping up the arguments he had put forth earlier. What he said wasn’t as important to me however as the way he said it. The arguments were more concise than at the beginning, and were very logical and well thought out. It reminded me of the Pre-Socratic reader, with every statement backed up by proof of how the opposite argument was flawed. I thought then that I had found the reason this had been assigned, and what the relevance of this text was to our class. We can take from this the importance of making a clear and persuasive argument, and the power of a speech put forth logically and rationally, and apply both to our work in new media. But it goes further than this.

Lincoln’s speech was a form of new media back in the nineteenth century. This was both a form of entertainment, and a source for political thought and debate back in 1850. The difference between this media and ours today is vast, but aspects of this old media are used today, or at least greatly influence it. This is the very definition of new media, and is the true relevance to the topic of our class. Both Lincoln’s logical way of presenting information and the similarities between old and new media are crucial points to take away from this reading, and apply to our studies of new media. And that’s exactly what I plan to do.

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