20 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken In American History

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Starting with the advent of photography around the time of the Civil War, up to current events, these are powerful, raw and unforgettable photographs that tell the story of our nation’s wonder, triumph, heartbreak and joy.

July 1863 — Battlefield at Gettysburg

In this picture taken in 1863, dead soldiers lie on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where more than 50,000 Union and Confederate troops were killed, injured, or captured during the Civil War.

April 1906 — Destruction after the San Francisco earthquake

In this 1906 photo, the severe damage of an earthquake in San Francisco is shown throughout the city. The earthquake spurred a devastating firestorm that claimed the lives of about 3,000 people and destroyed about 80% of San Francisco.

Nov. 19, 1863 — Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address

In this 1863 picture, crowds gather around President Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as he prepares to deliver his famous Gettysburg Address.