While Abraham Lincoln is most remembered for his presidency during the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation and his efforts to both repair and preserve the state of the Union, Neil deGrasse Tyson has come out with a video that calls for the former president to be remembered for another major watershed: "for setting our nation onto a course of scientifically enlightened governance."
The video was created by Loaded Studios in collaboration with the Abraham Lincoln Library Foundation in light of his 207th birthday, which occurred on Feb. 12, and features an animated Tyson waxing on about the correlation between Lincoln's authorization of the National Academy of Sciences and the Gettysburg Address, both of which occurred in 1863. As he points out in the vid, the purpose behind the birth and officiation of the NAS was to use scientific innovation to contribute to the longevity, "security" and well-being of the nation — the same exact things that Lincoln's indelible speech (and the Union's participation in the Civil War, rather than allowing secession) sought to achieve.
As Tyson notes, the Academy boasts more than 2,000 members — some of the most distinguished and prolific scientists in the world — and the NAS is responsible for some of the most important scientific discoveries to date, like the advent of quantum physics in the 1920s, which, according to Tyson, "drives nearly one-third of the world's wealth," which in turn "[formed] the basis for our computer revolution," which in turn ... well, you get the picture.
In short: if it weren't for the NAS — and as President John F. Kennedy put it, "the seedbed of our nature's future," then science wouldn't be the same.
What makes the video even more captivating is the way in which the famous scientist incorporates the poetics of Lincoln's original speech (Tyson himself was only allowed to write a reply the same length as the original, i.e., 272 words) into his own reply, as well as some of the more famous phrases like — you guessed it — "four-score and seven years ago."
Watch an animated deGrasse Tyson respond to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in the video clip below.