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Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.

He preserved the Union


during the U.S. Civil War and brought about the emancipation of slaves.

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FAMOUS PEOPLE IN U.S. POLITICS

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Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln - Mini Biography (TV-14; 3:54) Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin in
rural Kentucky and went on to become the 16th President of the United States. On January 1,
1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery. He was assassinated on April
15, 1865.

Synopsis
Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of America's greatest heroes due to both his incredible
impact on the nation and his unique appeal. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble
beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land; then, a sudden and tragic death at a time
when his country needed him most to complete the great task remaining before the nation.
Lincoln's distinctively human and humane personality and historical role as savior of the Union
and emancipator of the slaves creates a legacy that endures. His eloquence of democracy and his
insistence that the Union was worth saving embody the ideals of self-government that all nations
strive to achieve.

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Childhood
Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky 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. Due to a land
dispute, the Lincolns were forced to move from Kentucky to Perry County, Indiana in 1817,
where the family "squatted" on public land to scrap out a living in a crude shelter, hunting game
and farming a small plot. Thomas was eventually able to buy the land.
When young Abraham was 9 years old, his mother died of tremetol (milk sickness) at age 34.
The event was devastating on him and young Abraham grew more alienated from his father and
quietly resented the hard work placed on him at an early age. A few months after Nancy's death,
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. Though both his
parents were most likely illiterate, Sarah encouraged Abraham to read. It was while growing into
manhood that he received his formal educationan estimated total of 18 monthsa few days or
weeks at a time. Reading material was in short supply in the Indiana wilderness. Neighbors
recalled how Abraham would walk for miles to borrow a book. He undoubtedly read the family

Bible and probably other popular books at that time such as Robinson Crusoe, Pilgrims Progress
and Aesops Fables.

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Law Career
In March, 1830, the family again migrated, this time to Macon County, Illinois. When his father
moved the family again to Coles County, 22-year-old Abraham Lincoln struck out on this own,
making a living in manual labor. At six feet four inches tall, Lincoln was rawboned and lanky,
but muscular and physically strong. He spoke with a backwoods twang and walked with a longstriding gait. He was known for his skill in wielding an ax and early on made a living splitting
wood for fire and rail fencing. Young Lincoln eventually migrated to the small community of
New Salem, Illinois, where over a period of years he worked as a shopkeeper, postmaster, and
eventually general store owner. It was here that Lincoln, working with the public, acquired social
skills and honed story-telling talent that made him popular with the locals. When the Black
Hawk War broke out in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans, the volunteers in
the area elected Lincoln to be their captain. He saw no combat during this time, save for "a good
many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes," but was able to make several important political
connections.
After the Black Hawk War, Abraham Lincoln began his political career and was elected to the
Illinois state legislature, in 1834, as a member of the Whig Party. He supported the Whig politics
of government-sponsored infrastructure and protective tariffs. This political understanding led
him to formulate his early views on slavery, not so much as a moral wrong, but as an impediment
to economic development. It was around this time that he decided to become a lawyer, teaching
himself the law by reading William Blackstone'sCommentaries on the Laws of England. After
being admitted to the bar in 1837, he moved to Springfield, Illinois, and began to practice in the
John T. Stuart law firm.
It was soon after this that he purportedly met and became romantically involved with Anne
Rutledge. Before they had a chance to be engaged, a wave of typhoid fever came over New
Salem and Anne died at age 22. Her death was said to have left Lincoln severely depressed.
However, several historians disagree on the extent of Lincolns relationship with Rutledge and
his level of sorrow at her death may be more the makings of legend.
In 1844, Abraham Lincoln partnered with William Herndon in the practice of law. Though the
two had different jurisprudent styles, they developed a close professional and personal
relationship. Lincoln made a good living in his early years as a lawyer, but found that Springfield
alone didn't offer enough work, so to supplement his income, he followed the court as it made its
rounds on the circuit to the various county seats in Illinois.

Entering Politics
Abraham Lincoln served a single term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849.
His foray into national politics seemed to be as unremarkable as it was brief. He was the lone
Whig from the state of Illinois, showing party loyalty, but finding few political allies. He used
his term in office to speak out against the Mexican-American War and supported Zachary Taylor
for president in 1848. His criticism of the war made him unpopular back home and he decided
not to run for second term, but instead returned Springfield to practice law.
By the 1850s, the railroad industry was moving west and Illinois found itself becoming a major
hub for various companies. Abraham Lincoln served as a lobbyist for the Illinois Central
Railroad as its company attorney. Success in several court cases brought other business clients as
wellbanks, insurance companies and manufacturing firms. Lincoln also did some criminal
trials. In one case, a witness claimed that he could identify Lincoln's client who was accused of
murder, because of the intense light from a full moon. Lincoln referred to an almanac and proved
that the night in question had been too dark for the witness to see anything clearly. His client was
acquitted.
About a year after the death of Anne Rutledge, Lincoln courted Mary Owens. The two saw each
other for a few months and marriage was considered. But in time, Lincoln called off the match.
In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, a high spirited, well-educated woman from a
distinguished Kentucky family. In the beginning, many of the couple's friends and family
couldn't understand Marys attraction, and at times Lincoln questioned it himself. However, in
1841, the engagement was suddenly broken off, most likely at Lincoln's initiative. They met later
at a social function and eventually married on November 4, 1842. The couple had four children,
of which only one, Robert, survived to adulthood.
Abraham Lincoln - Full Episode (TV-14; 1:29:44) Biography takes a rare glimpse into Abraham
Lincoln's personal life, including his tumultuous marriage and abusive father.
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Elected President
In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise,
and allowed individual states and territories to decide for themselves whether to allow slavery.
The law provoked violent opposition in Kansas and Illinois, and it gave rise to the Republican
Party. This awakened Abraham Lincoln's political zeal once again, and his views on slavery
moved more toward moral indignation. Lincoln joined the Republican Party in 1856.
In 1857, the Supreme Court issued its controversial decision Scott v. Sanford, declaring African
Americans were not citizens and had no inherent rights. Though Abraham Lincoln felt African
Americans were not equal to whites, he believed the America's founders intended that all men

were created with certain inalienable rights. Lincoln decided to challenge sitting U.S. Senator
Stephen Douglas for his seat. In his nomination acceptance speech, he criticized Douglas, the
Supreme Court, and President Buchanan for promoting slavery and declared "a house divided
cannot stand."
The 1858 Senate campaign featured seven debates held in different cities across Illinois. The two
candidates didn't disappoint the public, giving stirring debates on issues ranging from states'
rights to western expansion, but the central issue was slavery. Newspapers intensely covered the
debates, often times with partisan commentary. In the end, the state legislature elected Douglas,
but the exposure vaulted Lincoln into national politics.
In 1860, political operatives in Illinois organized a campaign to support Abraham Lincoln for the
presidency. On May 18, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln surpassed
better known candidates such as William Seward of New York and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio.
Lincoln's nomination was due in part to his moderate views on slavery, his support for improving
the national infrastructure, and the protective tariff. In the general election, Lincoln faced his
friend and rival, Stephan Douglas, this time besting him in a four-way race that included John C.
Breckinridge of the Northern Democrats and John Bell of the Constitution Party. Lincoln
received not quite 40 percent of the popular vote, but carried 180 of 303 Electoral votes.
Abraham Lincoln selected a strong cabinet composed of many of his political rivals, including
William Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates and Edwin Stanton. Formed out the adage
"Hold your friends close and your enemies closer," Lincoln's Cabinet became one of his
strongest assets in his first term in office and he would need them. Before his inauguration in
March, 1861, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union and by April the U.S. military
installation Fort Sumter was under siege in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. In the early
morning hours of April 12, 1861, the guns stationed to protect the harbor blazed toward the fort
signaling the start of Americas costliest and most deadly war.

Civil War
Abraham Lincoln responded to the crisis wielding powers as no other president before him. He
distributed $2 million from the Treasury for war material without an appropriation from
Congress; he called for 75,000 volunteers into military service without a declaration of war; and
he suspended the writ of habeas corpus, arresting and imprisoning suspected Confederate
sympathizers without a warrant. Crushing the rebellion would be difficult under any
circumstances, but the Civil War, with its preceding decades of white-hot partisan politics, was
especially onerous. From all directions, Lincoln faced disparagement and defiance. He was often
at odds with his generals, his Cabinet, his party and a majority of the American people.
The Union Army's first year and a half of battlefield defeats made it especially difficult to keep
morale up and support strong for a reunification the nation. With the hopeful, but by no means
conclusive Union victory at Antietam on September 22, 1862, Lincoln felt confident enough to

reshape the cause of the war from saving the union to abolishing slavery. He issued the
Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which stated that all individuals who were held
as slaves in rebellious states "henceforward shall be free." The action was more symbolic than
effective because the North didnt control any states in rebellion and the proclamation didnt
apply to Border States.
Abraham Lincoln - The Gettysburg Address (TV-14; 1:50) An original animated video of
Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Gradually, the war effort improved for the North, though more by attrition than by brilliant
military victories. But by 1864, the Confederate armies had eluded major defeat and Lincoln was
convinced he'd be a one-term president. His nemesis, George B. McClellan, the former
commander of the Army of the Potomac, challenged him for the presidency, but the contest
wasn't even close. Lincoln received 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of 243 Electoral
votes. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Virginia, surrendered
his forces to Union General Ulysses S. Grant and the war for all intents and purposes was over.

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Assassination
Reconstruction began during the war as early as 1863 in areas firmly under Union military
control. Abraham Lincoln favored a policy of quick reunification with a minimum of retribution.
But he was confronted by a radical group of Republicans in the Senate and House that wanted
complete allegiance and repentance from former Confederates. Before a political battle had a
chance to firmly develop, Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, by well-known actor and
Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln was
taken from the theater to a 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.

1809

Abraham Lincoln is born


On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
Lincoln, one of Americas most admired presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in
Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a
continual effort to improve his mind. As an adult, he lived in Illinois and performed a variety of
jobs including stints as a postmaster, surveyor and shopkeeper, before entering politics. He
served in the Illinois legislature from 1834 to 1836, and then became an attorney. In 1842,
Lincoln married Mary Todd; together, the pair raised four sons.
Lincoln returned to politics during the 1850s, a time when the nations long-standing division
over slavery was flaring up, particularly in new territories being added to the Union. As leader of
the new Republican Party, Lincoln was considered politically moderate, even on the issue of
slavery. He advocated the restriction of slavery to the states in which it already existed and
described the practice in a letter as a minor issue as late as 1854. In an 1858 senatorial race, as
secessionist sentiment brewed among the southern states, he warned, a house divided against
itself cannot stand. He did not win the Senate seat but earned national recognition as a strong
political force. Lincolns inspiring oratory soothed a populace anxious about southern states
secessionist threats and boosted his popularity.
As a presidential candidate in the election of 1860, Lincoln tried to reassure slaveholding
interests that although he favored abolition, he had no intention of ending the practice in states
where it already existed and prioritized saving the Union over freeing slaves. When he won the
presidency by approximately 400,000 popular votes and carried the Electoral College, he was in
effect handed a ticking time bomb. His concessions to slaveholders failed to prevent South
Carolina from leading other states in an exodus from the Union that began shortly after his
election. By February 1, 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas had
also seceded. Soon after, the Civil War began. As the war progressed, Lincoln moved closer to
committing himself and the nation to the abolitionist movement and, in 1863, finally signed the

Emancipation Proclamation. The document freed slaves in the Confederate states, but did not
address the legality of slavery in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska or Arkansas.
Lincoln was the tallest president at 6 4. As a young man, he impressed others with his sheer
physical strengthhe was a legendary wrestler in Illinoisand entertained friends and strangers
alike with his dry, folksy wit, which was still in evidence years later. Exasperated by one Civil
War military defeat after another, Lincoln wrote to a lethargic general if you are not using the
army I should like to borrow it for awhile. An animal lover, Lincoln once declared, I care not
for a mans religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. Fittingly, a variety of pets took
up residence at the Lincoln White House, including a pet turkey named Jack and a goat called
Nanko. Lincolns son Tad frequently hitched Nanko to a small wagon and drove around the
White House grounds.
Lincolns sense of humor may have helped him to hide recurring bouts of depression. He
admitted to friends and colleagues that he suffered from intense melancholia and hypochondria
most of his adult life. Perhaps in order to cope with it, Lincoln engaged in self-effacing humor,
even chiding himself about his famously homely looks. When an opponent in an 1858 Senate
race debate called him two-faced, he replied, If I had another face do you think I would wear this
one?
Lincoln is remembered as The Great Emancipator. Although he waffled on the subject of slavery
in the early years of his presidency, his greatest legacy was his work to preserve the Union and
his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. To Confederate sympathizers, however, Lincolns
signing of the Emancipation Proclamation reinforced his image as a hated despot and ultimately
led John Wilkes Booth to assassinate him on April 14, 1865. His favorite horse, Old Bob, pulled
his funeral hearse.

50 interesting facts about Abraham Lincolns life


February 12, 2014 by NCC Staff
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Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president, has a birthday today. So how much do you really
know about Lincoln, the man?

Weve gone through the tons of research available about Abraham (dont call me Abe)
Lincoln, so you can impress your friends and family with your Lincoln knowledge.
Here are our top 10 Lincoln facts, followed by 40 other pieces of trivia that you can
research on your own.
Top 10 Abraham Lincoln facts

1. He was the only president to have a patent: Lincoln invented a device to free
steamboats that ran aground.

2. He practiced law without a degree. Lincoln had about 18 months of formal schooling.
3. He wanted women to have the vote in 1836. The future president was a suffragette
before it became fashionable.
4. He was a big animal lover, but he wouldnt hunt or fish. If he were alive today, Lincoln
would be running an animal shelter.
5. He really was a wrestler. Lincoln was documented as taking part in wrestling bouts.
We dont think he wore a mask or had a manager.
6. He lost in his first bid for a presidential ticket. The unknown Lincoln was an
unsuccessful vice presidential candidate in 1856 at the Republican convention.
7. He never belonged to an organized church. Lincoln read the Bible daily, but he never
joined an organized church in his lifetime.
8. He didnt drink, smoke, or chew. Lincoln was a simple man of tastes, and he never
drank in the White House.
9. He didnt have a middle name. Lincoln went through his life with two names.
10. He hated being called Abe. Apparently, he preferred being called by his last name.
40 more Lincoln facts

11. Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.


12. He was the first president born outside of the 13 original states.
13. Lincoln loved to eat oysters.
14. Lincolns cat ate at the White House dinner table.
15. His dog was named Fido.
16. His cat was named Tabby.

17. His favorite food was fruit.


18. He was also a big fan of chicken casserole.
19. Lincoln was the first president to use the telegraph.
20. He used the telegraph like email to communicate with generals.
21. Lincolns mother was killed by poisoned milk.
22. Lincolns life was saved twice when he was young.
23. Grave robbers were foiled in 1876 when they tried to steal Lincolns body.
24. He was the first president with a beard.
25. Lincoln argued a case before the Supreme Court in 1849 and lost.
26. Lincoln failed in his first business.
27. Lincolns shoe size was between 12 and 14.
28. His coffin has been opened five times.
29. Lincoln was estranged from his father and didnt attend his funeral.
30. Lincoln didnt play musical instruments.
31. Lincoln served one term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
32. He ran for the U.S. Senate twice and lost.
33. Lincoln won the popular vote in Senate campaign against Douglas but lost the
election.
34. Lincoln was shot on Good Friday.
35. Lincoln was photographed with John Wilkes Booth at his second inauguration.

36. There are no direct living descendants of Abraham Lincoln.


37. Booths brother saved the life of Lincolns son on a New Jersey train platform.
38. Lincoln was part of sances after his son died in the White House.
39. Lincolns animals also died in a White House stable fire.
40. Someone shot at Lincoln in 1864 and put a hole in his stovepipe hat.
41. Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated.
42. He was a judge on the circuit court in Illinois.
43. Lincoln defended the son of his most famous wrestling opponent from murder
charges.
44. Lincoln battled depression for much of his life.
45. Lincoln was seemingly obsessed with cats.
46. He was set to take part in a duel, but it was cancelled at the last second.
47. Lincoln kept his important documents inside his hat.
48. Lincolns dog Fido was killed by a drunken assailant a year after Lincoln died.
49. Lincolns suit was made by Brooks Brothers.
50. Lincolns guest at Fords Theater was Ulysses S. Grant, who cancelled at the last
second.