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1. Who Was Abraham Lincoln? Lincoln's distinctively human and humane personality and incredible impact on the nation has endowed him with an enduring legacy.
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 to April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States and is regarded as one of America's greatest heroes due to his role as savior of the Union and emancipator of the slaves. His rise from humble beginnings to achieving the highest office in the land is a remarkable story. He was suddenly and tragically assassinated at a time when his country needed him to complete the great task remaining before the nation. His eloquence of democracy and insistence that the Union was worth saving embody the ideals of selfgovernment that all nations strive to achieve.
2. When and Where Was Lincoln Born? Family Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809 to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Thomas was a strong and determined pioneer who found a moderate level of prosperity and was well respected in the community. The couple had two other children: Abraham's older sister Sarah and younger brother Thomas, who died in infancy.When young Abraham was nine years old, his mother died of tremetol (milk sickness) at age 34, on October 5, 1818. The event was devastating to him, and young Abraham grew more alienated from his father and quietly resented the hard work placed on him at an early age.
In December 1819, just over a year after his mother’s death, Lincoln’s father Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston, a Kentucky widow with three children of her own. She was a strong and affectionate woman with whom Abraham quickly bonded.
Thomas's new wife, Sarah, was kind and attentive and recognized young Abe's intellect. She encouraged him to read as widely as he could, and he did, borrowing books from clergymen, teachers, neighbors, and any travelers that passed by. This penchant for reading proved to be the most consistent education Abraham Lincoln would receive. He later claimed that he had spent perhaps a total of 12 months in a school house in his entire childhood. From the books he borrowed, Lincoln taught himself the things that most children learn in school.
Abe's interest in his education did cause some conflict with his father, who needed Abe's help on the farm and didn't think there was time for school. To help pay the bills, Thomas rented Abe's labor to neighbors (a common practice of the time).
Abe was unusually tall for his age and stronger than many of the other boys. He quickly gained a reputation for swinging an axe with more power and speed than anyone in the region. In the frontier, having a reputation as a master woodchopper was actually pretty high praise.
Between his selfeducation and fulltime work, , Abe did still find time to be a teenager. Due to his size and strength, he was more than willing to wrestle and race his peers, and he developed a reputation as a prankster. There was one popular activity, however, that Abe never took a liking to. Hunting was a major pastime in the rural Midwest, but Abe never learned to enjoy killing animals for sport cation
Lincoln served on the Illinois State Legislature for several terms. During that time he studied the law and began to
4. Before He Became President
work as a lawyer. He ran for the U.S. Congress in 1845. He won the election and served as a congressman for one term. After serving as congressman he continued to work as a lawyer. Later, Lincoln ran for the U.S. Senate, he did not win but he did gain national recognition for his arguments against slavery during the debates. In 1860, Lincoln ran for President of the United States. He was a member of the fairly new Republican party which strongly opposed allowing any of the southern states to secede (leave the country). The republicans were also against slavery. They said they would allow for slavery to continue in the southern states, but that it would not be allowed to spread to new U.S. states or territories.
was inaugurated as president in
5. Abraham Lincoln Presidency
Lincoln won the 1860 election and was inaugurated as president in March of 1861. The southern states did not want Lincoln to be president. They did not agree with his policies. Before he was officially in office, they began to secede (leave the country). The first state to leave was South Carolina, but soon six more states followed and together they formed a new country called the Confederacy. This all happened after Lincoln won the election, but before he took the oath of office.
The Civil War began on April 12,
The Civil War
1861 at Fort Sumter in South Carolina just a month after Lincoln took office. Lincoln was determined to maintain the "Union" of the states. He called for an army from the northern states to defeat the south. What followed was a bloody war that lasted four years and cost the lives of 600000 Americans. Lincoln faced all sorts of opposition during the war, but managed to hold the country together
The Emancipation Proclamation Although not all the slaves were immediately set free, it paved the way for the 13th Amendment which would free all slaves in the United States a few years later.
On January 1, 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation reshaping the cause of the Civil War from saving the Union to abolishing slavery. This was an order that freed the slaves in the Confederate States.
Today, Lincoln is often remembered for a short speech he gave at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863
It's called the Gettysburg Address. It was only a few minutes long, but is considered one of the great speeches in American history. The Civil War finally ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Lincoln wanted the country to heal, forgive, and rebuild. He wanted to be generous to the southern states in helping them during the reconstruction. On November 19, 1863, Lincoln delivered what would become his most famous speech - the Gettysburg Address. Addressing a crowd of around 15,000 people, Lincoln delivered his 272-word speech at one of the bloodiest battlefields of the Civil War, the National Cemetery of Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania.The Civil War, Lincoln said, was the ultimate test of the preservation of the Union created in 1776, and the dead at Gettysburg fought to uphold this cause. Lincoln evoked the Declaration of Independence, saying it was up to the living to ensure that the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” and this Union was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” A common interpretation was that the President was expanding the cause of the Civil War from simply reunifying the Union to also fighting for equality and abolishing slavery.
6. Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination
Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865, by wellknown actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. He was taken to the Petersen House across the street and laid in a coma for nine hours before dying the next morning. His body lay in state at the Capitol before a funeral train took him back to his final resting place in Springfield, Illinois.
The immediate effect of the murder of Abraham Lincoln was an outpouring of grief and indignation of a kind rarely if ever experienced in the United States. The emotional impact of the crime was heightened by the fact that it occurred almost immediately after the Civil War had ended. There were those who were indifferent to Lincoln’s death and those who rejoiced in it, but they were a minority, and many Americans who had disliked Lincoln or who had participated in or supported the rebellion joined in the national mourning.
In the long run, the life of the nation was rudely disrupted by the death of Abraham Lincoln—so much so that the effects are still felt today. We cannot know what would have occurred had Lincoln not died when he did, but we do know that his successor, Andrew Johnson, was not competent to carry on Lincoln’s work. Johnson was an admirable man in many ways. But he was a stubborn man, incapable of compromise, and as president, but a southern Democrat, he engaged in a hopeless and selfdestructive struggle with the Republican Congress over the readmission of the southern states and the treatment of the liberated slaves. He opposed the Republican plan for Reconstruction of the South, including provisions designed to guarantee the civil rights of black Americans. If Johnson, who had been a slaveholder, had had a more enlightened view of the freed slaves and some of Lincoln’s political savvy, the catastrophe that Reconstruction turned into might have been avoided or at least mitigated. The least that can be said with some assurance is that Lincoln would have done better than Johnson did.