The film's wide-ranging themes are cohered by a main narrative centering around Lincoln at Gettysburg, beginning with his invitation to speak at the consecration of the new Soldiers' National Cemetery honoring the fallen heroes of the bloodiest battle in American history. The duress under which the townspeople of Gettysburg survived the battle and assisted in the gruesome aftermath is detailed. The middle of the film chronicles Lincoln's journey to, and footsteps through, Gettysburg—as he interacted with various figures; dined at the home of his host, Gettysburg lawyer David Wills; and continued to work on the speech he would deliver at the Soldiers National Cemetery the following day. The film closely examines the day of November 19, 1863—as Lincoln toured the Gettysburg battlefield, which prompted last-minute alterations of the speech; the procession of all parties from the Gettysburg town center to the cemetery; and the ceremony itself, which featured a main oration by the renowned Massachusetts statesman Edward Everett. The latter half of the film chronicles the legacy of the Gettysburg Address, highlighting historic invocations of the speech by various individuals and groups on their respective paths toward freedom and equality. Interviews with notable proponents of Women's Rights, Civil Rights, and LGBTQ rights are featured.