Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA

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Abraham Lincoln

Also Known As: "President", "16th President; Honest Abe", "Abe"
Birthdate: (56)
Birthplace: Sinking Spring Farm, Hodgenville, Hardin County, Kentucky, United States
Death: Died in Washington, District of Columbia, United States
Cause of death: Bullet wound
Place of Burial: Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Herring Lincoln, I and Nancy Lincoln
Husband of Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady
Father of Robert Todd Lincoln, U.S. Secretary of War; Edward Baker Lincoln; William Wallace Lincoln and Thomas 'Tad' Lincoln
Brother of Sarah Grigsby and Thomas Herring Lincoln, II

Occupation: 16th President of the United States, Attorney, Rep. from Illinois 7th (1847-1849), President, Abogado, Presidente de Estados Unidos, President of the United States of America, 16th Presdident of the United States of America, President of the USA
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA

For more information and photos of his burial place, click on : Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln, U.S. President

  • Born: 12 February 1809
  • Birthplace: Near Hodgenville, Kentucky
  • Died: 15 April 1865 (assassination by gunshot)
  • Best Known As: The Civil War president who wrote the Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation Signed and issued January 1, 1863

The stories really are true: Abe Lincoln grew up on the American frontier, educated himself by reading borrowed books, and worked as a general store clerk long before he became the 16th president of the United States. His claims to fame are too numerous to list briefly; he is most often remembered for leading the Union through the Civil War and freeing Confederate slaves with the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation; for delivering the Gettysburg Address, the most famous oration in American history; and for his tragic assassination by John Wilkes Booth. Upon Lincoln's death, Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency.

Abe Lincoln failed about 12 times and kept on going. Lost his mother at an early age. Lost his child hood sweetheart. Married to a shrew who was later put in the insane asylum by her own son ~~ Lincoln was a very honest man who overcame his poor background and became the greatest American after George Washington.

He is on the five dollar bill and the penny and his Gettysburg address lives in the hearts of all real Americans Lincoln was married to Mary Todd Lincoln I am reading a book about Mary Todd Lincoln and she had to overcome much adversity too she was a Southerner married to the President of the US fighting the South she lost two children in the White House~~TAD and Willie Poor Lincolns ~~both were married 25 years but they had tragedy all their lives

Yes, that's Lincoln on the U.S. penny and the five dollar bill. In 1864 Lincoln named Salmon P. Chase to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court -- Chase is on the ten thousand dollar bill... Lincoln was preceded by James Buchanan, the only president to remain a bachelor for life... Lincoln was the first president to be born outside the original thirteen states... He was the first president to wear a beard while in office... Lincoln's oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was present at three assassinations: his father's, President Garfield's in 1881 and President McKinley's in 1901... A famous (and enormous) biography of Lincoln was written by 20th-century author Carl Sandburg... Lincoln was the 16th president.



Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the United States through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery. Before his election in 1860[1] as the first Republican president, Lincoln, reared in a family of modest means and mostly self-educated, had been a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, a member of the United States House of Representatives, and twice an unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate. Lincoln was a dedicated, though often necessarily absent, husband, and father of four children. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States,[2] Lincoln won the Republican nomination and was elected president in 1860. His tenure in office was immersed in the defeat of the secessionist Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. He introduced measures that resulted in the abolition of slavery, issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoting the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Six days after the large-scale surrender of Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee, Lincoln became the first American president to be assassinated.

Lincoln had closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. Historians have concluded that he handled the factions of the Republican Party well, bringing leaders of each faction into his cabinet and forcing them to cooperate. Lincoln successfully defused the Trent Affair, a war scare with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland late in 1861. Under his leadership, the Union took control of the border slave states at the start of the war. Additionally, he managed his own reelection in the 1864 presidential election.

Copperheads and other opponents of the war criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on the slavery issue. Conversely, the Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. Even with these opponents, Lincoln successfully rallied public opinion through his rhetoric and speeches;[3] his Gettysburg Address became an iconic symbol of the nation's duty. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily reunite the nation through a policy of generous reconciliation. Lincoln has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest of all U.S. Presidents.

Childhood and education

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, the second child to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln (née Hanks), in a one-room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in southeast Hardin County, Kentucky[4] (now LaRue County). Lincoln was not given a middle name.He had an older sister Sarah (Grigsby) who died while giving birth at a young age. A fusion of Welsh and Latin, his surname means "from the lake colony" or one from Lincoln, England.[6] He is descended from Samuel Lincoln, who arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts from Norfolk in the 17th century.[His grandfather and namesake Abraham Lincoln, a substantial landholder, moved from Virginia to Kentucky, where he was ambushed and killed by an Indian raid in 1786, with his children Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas looking on. Mordecai's marksmanship with a rifle saved Thomas from the same fate. As the eldest son, Mordecai by law inherited his father's entire estate.

Thomas, on his own financially, became a respected (though not wealthy) citizen of rural Kentucky. He bought and sold several farms, including the Sinking Spring Farm. The family belonged to a Separate Baptists church, which had high moral standards and opposed alcohol, dancing, and slavery. Lincoln himself never joined a church. In 1816, the Lincoln family lost their lands because of a faulty title and made a new start in Perry County, Indiana (now in Spencer County, Indiana). Lincoln later noted that this move was "partly on account of slavery" because it was hard to compete with farms operated with slaves.

When Lincoln was nine, his 34 year old mother died of milk sickness. Soon afterwards his father remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston with whom Lincoln became very close and referred to as "Mother". But he became increasingly distant from his father. He regretted his father's lack of education, and was not inclined to a vocation of hard labor as was requisite to their frontier life; although, he willingly took on all chores expected of him as a male in the household, albeit young, tall and thin. As was the custom, Lincoln also dutifully fulfilled the obligation of a son to give his father all earnings from his work for third parties until age 21. In later years, he would also occasionally lend his father money.[14] In 1830, fearing a milk sickness outbreak, the family settled on public land in Macon County, Illinois.

The next year, when his father relocated the family to a new homestead in Coles County, Illinois, 22-year-old Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

Lincoln's formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling and he was largely self-educated; he was an avid reader, writer and poet. He was also skilled with an axe and a talented local wrestler, which made him self-confident. He was no committed laborer during his teen age years, with family and neighbors then referring to him often as lazy. Lincoln avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like killing animals, even for food.

Marriage and family

Lincoln's first love was Ann Rutledge. He met her when he first moved to New Salem, and by 1835 they had reached a romantic understanding, if not a formal engagement. Ann is quoted as desirous of advising a former love before "consummating the engagement with Mr. L.." Rutledge, however, died on August 25, probably of typhoid fever.[21]

In the early 1830s, he met Mary Owens from Kentucky when she was visiting her sister. Late in 1836, Lincoln agreed to a match with Mary proposed by her sister, if Mary ever returned to New Salem. Mary did return in November 1836 and Lincoln courted her for a time; however they both had second thoughts about their relationship. On August 16, 1837, Lincoln wrote Mary a letter from his law practice in Springfield, suggesting he would not blame her if she ended the relationship. She never replied, and the courtship was over.

In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, from a wealthy slaveholding family in Lexington, Kentucky. They met in Springfield in December 1839, and were engaged sometime around that Christmas.A wedding was set for January 1, 1841, but the couple split as the wedding approached.[24] They later met at a party, and then married on November 4, 1842, in the Springfield mansion of Mary's married sister.[26] While preparing for the nuptials and having cold feet yet again, Lincoln, asked where he was going, replied "To hell, I suppose." But see it through he did. In 1844 the couple bought a house in Springfield near Lincoln's law office.

Mary Lincoln worked valiantly in their home, assuming household duties which had been performed for her in her own family. As well, she struggled to make the most of the austere finances of a prairie lawyer quite obsessed with his work. One evening, absorbed in his reading at home, Lincoln suddenly was rapped on the head with a piece of firewood by Mary, who had made four requests of him to restart the fire with no response.[30] The Lincolns soon had a budding family, with the birth of son Robert Todd Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois on August 1, 1843, and second son Edward Baker Lincoln on March 10, 1846, also in Springfield.[31] According to a house girl, Abraham "was remarkably fond of children." The Lincolns did not believe in strict rules and tight boundaries when it came to their children.

Son Robert would be the only one of the Lincolns' children to survive into adulthood. Edward Lincoln died on February 1, 1850 in Springfield, likely of tuberculosis. The Lincolns' grief over this loss was somewhat assuaged by the birth of William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln nearly eleven months later, on December 21. But Willie himself died of a fever at the age of eleven on February 20, 1862, in Washington, D.C., during President Lincoln's first term. The Lincolns' fourth son Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was born on April 4, 1853, and, although he outlived his father, died at the age of eighteen on July 16, 1871 in Chicago.

The death of the Lincolns' sons had profound effects on both Abraham and Mary. Later in life, Mary found herself unable to cope with the stresses of losing her husband and sons, and this eventually led Robert Lincoln to involuntarily commit her to a mental health asylum in 1875.[36] Abraham Lincoln, with the premature death of his mother and children, suffered from "melancholy", a condition now called clinical depression.[37]

Early career and military service

Lincoln began his political career in March 1832 at age 23 when he announced his candidacy for the Illinois General Assembly. He was esteemed by the residents of New Salem, though he lacked an education, powerful friends, and money. His campaign's focus was for navigational improvements on the Sangamon River. Before the election he served briefly as a captain in the Illinois militia during the Black Hawk War, although he never saw combat. Lincoln returned from the militia and was able to campaign for the August 6 election. At 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m), he was tall and "strong enough to intimidate any rival." At his first speech, he grabbed a man accosting a supporter by his "neck and the seat of his trousers" and threw him. In the vote Lincoln finished eighth out of thirteen candidates (only the top four were elected), though he got 277 of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct.

Lincoln served as New Salem's postmaster and then, once again after dedicated self-study, as county surveyor.[39] In 1834, he won an election to the state legislature and though labeled as a Whig, he ran a bipartisan campaign. He then decided to become a lawyer, and began teaching himself law by reading Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England and other masters. Lincoln's description of his learning method was: "I studied with nobody." Admitted to the bar in 1837, he moved to Springfield, Illinois that April, and began to practice law under John T. Stuart, Mary Todd's cousin.[43] Lincoln became an able and successful lawyer with a reputation as a formidable adversary during cross-examinations and closing arguments. In 1841, Lincoln partnered with Stephen Logan, which continued until 1844, when Lincoln began his practice with William Herndon, whom Lincoln thought "a studious young man." He served four successive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives as a representative from Sangamon County, affiliated with the Whig party.

In 1837, he and another legislator declared that slavery was "founded on both injustice and bad policy"[46] the first time he had publicly opposed slavery. In the 1835–1836 legislative session he voted to continue the restriction on suffrage to white males only, but regardless of land ownership.[47][48] He was known for his "free soil" stance of opposing both slavery and abolitionism. He said in 1837 that the "institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils." [49] Until well into his presidency, Lincoln, perplexed by the seemingly insoluble problem of slavery, was inclined (informally) to favor colonization of the slaves, on a voluntary basis, to Liberia; this, despite strong opposition to the idea from both sides of the issue and its considered unworkability. If nothing else, this position provided Lincoln a way to avoid confronting the matter head on until the time of reckoning came.[50]

Early national politics

Lincoln was a Whig, and since the early 1830s had strongly admired Henry Clay.[51] "I have always been an old-line Henry Clay Whig" he professed to friends in 1861.[52] The party favored economic modernization, including banking, railroads, internal improvements (such as canals), and urbanization.In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term. As a House member, Lincoln was a dedicated Whig, albeit the only one in the Illinois delegation; he showed up for almost all votes and gave speeches that echoed the party line.[55] He used his office as an opportunity to speak out against the Mexican–American War, which he attributed to President Polk's desire for "military glory — that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood." Lincoln's main stand against Polk occurred in his Spot Resolutions: The war had begun with a violent confrontation on territory disputed by Mexico and Texas, but Polk insisted that Mexican soldiers had "invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil."[57][58] Lincoln demanded that Polk show Congress the exact spot on which blood had been shed, and prove that the spot was on American soil.[58] Congress never enacted the resolution or even debated it; it got no reaction from the executive, or in the papers nationally, and it resulted in a loss of political support for Lincoln in his district; one Illinois newspaper derisively nicknamed him "spotty Lincoln."

Realizing Clay was unlikely to win the presidency, Lincoln endorsed war hero General Zachary Taylor for the Whig nomination in the 1848 presidential election.[62] Lincoln uttered a number of things in his denunciation of the Polk administration and promotion of Taylor which he would later regret. Examples are his arguments in favor of 1) an exclusive congressional war power and 2) the right of the people to revolt against the federal government.[63] Taylor won, but after denying Lincoln the position as Commissioner of the General Land Office which he sought, the administration offered him the governorship of the Oregon Territory, which he declined. The territory was heavily Democratic, minimizing a Whig's political future there, so he returned to Springfield without any appointment. Publicly, he blamed the decision on his wife's reluctance to move the children further into the wilderness.

Prairie lawyer

Back in Springfield, Lincoln returned to practicing law, handling "every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer."[65] He "rode the circuit" twice a year for ten weeks at a time, appearing in county seats in the mid-state region when the county courts were in session; he persisted in this for sixteen years until 1854.[66] Lincoln handled many transportation cases in the midst of the nation's western expansion, particularly the conflicts arising from the operation of river barges under the new and prolific railroad bridges. As a riverboat man, Lincoln initially favored riverboat interests, but ultimately he represented whoever hired him. His reputation grew, and he appeared before the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing a case involving a canal boat that sank after hitting a bridge.In 1849, he had received a patent for a "device to buoy vessels over shoals.", or ballast tanks. The idea was never commercialized, but Lincoln is the only President to hold a patent.

In 1851, he represented the Alton & Sangamon Railroad in a dispute with one of its shareholders, James A. Barret, who had refused to pay the balance on his pledge to buy shares in the railroad, on the grounds that it had changed its originally planned route. Lincoln successfully argued that a corporation is not bound by its original charter, which can be amended in the public interest, that the newer proposed Alton & Sangamon route was superior and less expensive, and that the corporation had a right to demand Mr. Barret's payment. The decision by the Illinois Supreme Court has been cited by numerous other courts in the nation. Lincoln appeared in front of the Illinois Supreme Court 175 times, 51 times as sole counsel, of which, 31 were decided in his favor.

Lincoln's most notable criminal trial came in 1858 when he defended William "Duff" Armstrong, who was on trial for the murder of James Preston Metzker. The case is famous for Lincoln's use of judicial notice to show an eyewitness had lied on the stand. After the witness testified seeing the crime in the moonlight, Lincoln produced a Farmers' Almanac showing the moon was at a low angle, drastically reducing visibility. Based on this evidence, Armstrong was acquitted. Lincoln rarely raised objections in the courtroom. However, in another celebrated case in 1859, where he defended Peachy Harrison, accused of stabbing another to death, Lincoln angrily protested the judge's decision to exclude evidence favorable to his client. Instead of Lincoln's being held in contempt of court as was expected, the judge reversed his ruling, allowed the evidence and Harrison was acquitted. Unbeknown to Lincoln, this client was a cousin, through Lincoln's father.

Republican politics 1854–1860

Lincoln returned to politics in reaction to passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), essentially repealing the Missouri Compromise (1820), which restricted the expansion of slavery in the west. Senior Senator Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, by incorporating popular sovereignty into the Act, mandated that the people have the right to determine locally whether to allow slavery in their territory, rather than have such a decision imposed on them by the national Congress.[75]

On October 16, 1854, in his "Peoria Speech,"[76] Lincoln declared his opposition to slavery that he would repeat enroute to the presidency.[77]: "[The Act has a] 'declared' indifference, but as I must think, a covert 'real' zeal for the spread of slavery. I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world..." [78] According to a newspaper account of the speech, Lincoln spoke with a very powerful voice and an accent native to his home Kentucky.[79]

In late 1854, Lincoln decided to run for the United States Senate as a Whig.[80] After leading in the first six rounds of voting in the state legislature, once his support began to dwindle, Lincoln instructed his backers to vote for Lyman Trumbull who thus defeated the pro Kansas-Nebraska candidate Joel Aldrich Matteson. The Whigs had been irreparably split by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. "I think I am a Whig, but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an abolitionist, even though I do no more than oppose the extension of slavery" Lincoln said. Drawing on remnants of the old Whig party, and on disenchanted Free Soil, Liberty, and Democratic party members, he was instrumental in forging the shape of the new Republican Party. At the Republican convention in 1856, Lincoln placed second in the contest to become the party's candidate for Vice-President.

In 1857–58, Douglas broke with President Buchanan, leading to a fight for control of the Democratic Party. Some eastern Republicans even favored the reelection of Douglas for the Senate in 1858, since he had led the opposition to the Lecompton Constitution, which would have admitted Kansas as a slave state.[84] In March of 1857 came the Supreme Court's controversial pro-slavery decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford; Chief Justice Taney opined that blacks were not citizens, and derived no rights under the Declaration of Independence or Constitution. Lincoln, though strong in his disagreement with the Court's opinion, was as a lawyer unequivocal in his deference to the Court's authority. Donald provides Lincoln's immediate reaction to the decision, showing his evolving position on slavery: "The authors of the Declaration of Independence never intended 'to say all were equal in color, size, intellect, moral developments, or social capacity,' but they 'did consider all men created equal - equal in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' " [85] After the state Republican party convention nominated him for the U.S. Senate in 1858 (the second instance of this in the country), Lincoln then delivered his famous speech: "'A house divided against itself cannot stand.'(Mark 3:25) I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other."[86] [87] The speech created an evocative image of the danger of disunion caused by the slavery debate, and rallied Republicans across the north.[88] The stage was then set for the campaign for statewide election of the Illinois legislature which would in turn select Lincoln or Douglas as its U.S. Senator.

Lincoln–Douglas debates and Cooper Union speech

The 1858 campaign featured the seven Lincoln–Douglas debates of 1858, generally considered the most famous political debate in American history.[89] The principals stood in stark contrast both physically and politically. Lincoln warned that "The Slave Power" was threatening the values of republicanism, and accused Douglas of distorting the values of the Founding Fathers that ALL men are created equal, while Stephen A. Douglas emphasized his Freeport Doctrine, that local settlers were free to choose whether to allow slavery or not, and accused Lincoln of having joined the abolitionists.[90]

Though the Republican legislative candidates won more popular votes, the Democrats won more seats, and the legislature reelected Douglas to the Senate. Despite the bitterness of the defeat for Lincoln, his articulation of the issues gave him a national political reputation.[91]

In May 1859, Lincoln purchased the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, a German-language newspaper in Springfield that sang his praises; most of the state's 130,000 German Americans voted Democratic but there was Republican support that a German-language paper could mobilize.[92]

On February 27, 1860, New York party leaders invited Lincoln to give a speech at Cooper Union to a group of powerful Republicans. In one of the most important speeches of his career, Lincoln showed that he was a contender for the Republican presidential nomination. Journalist Noah Brooks reported, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience."[93] Donald described the speech as a "superb political move for an unannounced candidate, to appear in one rival's (William H. Seward) own state at an event sponsored by the second rival's (Salmon P. Chase) loyalists, while not mentioning either by name during its delivery."In response to an inquiry about his presidential intentions, Lincoln said, "The taste is in my mouth a little."


First Term (1861-1865)

1860 Presidential nomination and election

On May 9–10, 1860, the Illinois Republican State Convention was held in Decatur.[96] At this convention, Lincoln's very loyal, though unorganized, campaign team emerged, in the persons of David Davis, Norman Judd, Leonard Swett, Jesse DuBois and others; and Lincoln received his first endorsement to run for the presidency.[97] Tapping on the somewhat flawed legend of his pioneering days with his father, Lincoln's supporters adopted the label of "The Rail Candidate".[98] On May 18, at the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln became the Republican candidate on the third ballot, beating candidates such as William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase.[99] Former Democrat Hannibal Hamlin of Maine received the nomination for Vice President to balance the ticket. Lincoln's nomination in general has been attributed to his relatively moderate views on slavery, as well as his support of internal improvements and the protective tariff. In terms of the actual balloting, Pennsylvania proved to be the lynchpin. Lincoln's managers were adroitly focused on this delegation as well as the others, while following Lincoln's strong dictate to "Make no contracts that bind me."[100]

Most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party[101] of the Slave Power as it tightened its grasp on the national government with the Dred Scott decision and the presidency of James Buchanan. Throughout the 1850s Lincoln doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters repeatedly rejected claims that his election would incite secession.[102]

Meanwhile, Douglas was selected as the candidate of the northern Democrats, with Herschel Vespasian Johnson as the vice-presidential candidate. Delegates from eleven slave states walked out of the Democratic convention, disagreeing with Douglas's position on Popular sovereignty, and ultimately selected John C. Breckinridge as their candidate.[103]

As Douglas stumped the country, Lincoln was the only one of the four major candidates to give no speeches whatever. Instead he monitored the campaign closely but relied on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. It did the leg work that produced majorities across the North. It produced tons of campaign posters and leaflets, and thousands of newspaper editorials. There were thousands of Republican speakers who focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty. The goal was to demonstrate the superior power of "free labor," whereby a common farm boy could work his way to the top by his own efforts. The Republican Party's production of campaign literature dwarfed the combined opposition. A Chicago Tribune writer produced a pamphlet that detailed Lincoln's life, and sold one million copies.[104] It was during this campaign that Lincoln became the first President to have placed his photo on a campaign button.[105]

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first Republican president, winning entirely on the strength of his support in the North: he was not even on the ballot in ten states in the South, and won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states.[106] Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, Douglas 1,376,957 votes, Breckinridge 849,781 votes, and Bell 588,789 votes. The electoral vote was decisive: Lincoln had 180 and his opponents added together had only 123. Turnout was 82.2%, with Lincoln winning the free northern states. Douglas won Missouri, and split New Jersey with Lincoln.[107] Bell won Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and Breckinridge won the rest of the South.[108] There were fusion tickets in which all of Lincoln's opponents combined to form one ticket in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island, but even if the anti-Lincoln vote had been combined in every state, Lincoln still would have won because he would still have had a majority in the electoral college.[109]

Secession winter 1860–1861

As Lincoln's election became more likely, secessionists made clear their intent to leave the Union.[110] On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana,[111] and Texas had followed.[112] The seven states soon declared themselves to be a new nation, the Confederate States of America.[111] The upper South (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) listened to, but initially rejected, the secessionist appeal.[113] President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy.[114] There were attempts at compromise, such as the Crittenden Compromise which would have extended the free slavery Missouri line of 1820.[115] and which some Republicans even supported; Lincoln rejected the idea, saying "I will suffer death before I consent...to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right."[116]

Lincoln, however, did support the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which had passed in the Congress. This amendment protected slavery in those states in which it already existed and was considered by Lincoln to be a possible way to stave off secession.[117] A few short weeks before the war he went so far as to pen a letter to every governor asking for their support in ratifying the Corwin Amendment.[118]

Enroute to his inaugural, President-elect Lincoln evaded possible assassins in Baltimore, who were revealed by Lincoln's head of security, Allan Pinkerton, and on February 23, 1861, arrived in disguise in Washington, D.C.[119] The capitol was placed under substantial military security.

Lincoln directed remarks to the South in his inaugural speech, "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies....The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."[120]

By the time Lincoln took office, the Confederacy was an established fact,[111] and no leaders of the insurrection proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. The Confederate States of America had selected Jefferson Davis on February 9, 1861, as their provisional President.[121] The failure of the Peace Conference of 1861 rendered legislative compromise practically implausible. Lincoln and nearly every Republican leader by March 1861 agreed the Union could not be dismantled.

War begins

A request was made for provisions from the commander of Ft. Sumter, S.C. and the execution of Lincoln's order to meet that request was seen by the seccessionists as an act of war.[122] On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on the Union troops at Fort Sumter, forced them to surrender and thus the war began.[123]

Historian Allan Nevins argued that Lincoln miscalculated in believing that he could preserve the Union[124],and future general William Tecumseh Sherman, then a civilian, visited Lincoln in the White House during inauguration week and was "sadly disappointed" at Lincoln's seeming failure to realize that "the country was sleeping on a volcano" and the South was "'preparing for war.'"[125] Donald concluded Lincoln fairly estimated the events leading to the initiation of war. "His repeated efforts to avoid collision in the months between inauguration and the firing on Ft. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood. But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot; they did just that."[126]

On April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send detachments totaling 75,000 troops,[127] to recapture forts, protect the capital, and "preserve the Union," which in his view still existed intact despite the actions of the seceding states.[128] These events forced the states to choose sides. Virginia declared its secession, after which the Confederate capital was moved from Montgomery to Richmond. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas also voted for secession over the next two months. Missouri, Kentucky and Maryland threatened secession,[127] but neither they nor the slave state of Delaware seceded.

Troops headed south towards Washington, D.C. to protect the capital in response to Lincoln's call. On April 19, angry secessionist mobs in Baltimore that controlled the rail links attacked Union troops traveling to the capital. George William Brown, the Mayor of Baltimore, and other suspect Maryland politicians were arrested and imprisoned as Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.[129] John Merryman, a leader in the seccessionist group in Maryland asked Chief Justice Roger Taney to issue a writ of habeas corpus which he did, saying Lincoln's action of holding Merryman without a hearing was unlawful. Lincoln ignored it.

Conducting the war effort

In the war Lincoln would confront an unprecedented crisis with unprecedented powers which no previous President had wielded: he used his war powers to impose a blockade, to disburse funds before appropriation by Congress, and to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, imprisoning thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers without warrant.[130]

The war was the source of frequent and severe criticism of the President, and occupied most of his time and attention, while he also mourned the death of son Willie. From the start it was clear that bi-partisan support would be essential to success in the war effort, and any manner of compromise alienated factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions in the Union Army.[131]

In August of 1861, Gen. John Fremont in Missouri created controversy, on the Republican side, when he issued, without consulting Lincoln, a proclamation of martial law in that entire state, declaring that any citizen found bearing arms could be court-martialed and shot and that slaves of persons aiding the rebellion would be freed. To this dictatorial insubordination were added charges of ineptness, fraud and corruption. Lincoln's efforts to reign him in were futile, and he was given another command in November. This decision in large part prevented the secession of Kentucky while incurring the wrath of many in the North.[132]

The war assumed foreign policy implications in 1861 when James Mason and John Slidell, ministers of the Confederacy to Great Britain and France, violated Lincoln's blockade of Confederate ports and boarded the British ship Trent; Union officers boarded the british vessel and took custody of the two ministers, setting off a bitter dispute with Great Britain over rights in international waters.[133] Lincoln's foreign policy approach had been initially hands off, due to his inexperience; he left most diplomacy appointments and other foreign policy matters to his Secretary of State, William Seward. Seward's initial reaction to the Trent Affair however, was too bellicose, so Lincoln from that time also turned to Sen. Charles Sumner for foreign policy advice. With Sumner's help, Lincoln better understood the position of the British and agreed to the release of the two confederate foreign ministers, avoiding a crisis.[134]

Despite his lack of expertise in military affairs, Lincoln, as in the past, undertook self-study and continued to take an active part in the war both administratively and strategically. In January of 1862, after a drumbeat of complaints about the running of the War department, Lincoln was forced to dismiss Secretary Simon Cameron and replaced him with Edwin Stanton, an appointment that brought much needed praise.[135] In terms of war strategy, Lincoln articulated two priorities: to ensure that Washington was well defended; and to conduct an aggressive war effort that would satisfy the demand in the North for prompt, decisive victory; indeed, major northern newspaper editors expected victory within 90 days.[136] Two days a week, Lincoln would meet with his cabinet in the afternoon, and occasionally his wife would force him to take a carriage ride because she was concerned he was working too hard. Throughout the war, Lincoln showed an intense interest in the military campaigns. He spent hours at the War Department telegraph office, reading dispatches from the field.[137] Lincoln grasped the need to control strategic points (such as the Mississippi River and the fortress city of Vicksburg) and understood the importance of defeating the enemy's army, rather than simply capturing territory.

One of Lincoln's Democrat commanders, Gen. George B. McClellan proved himself incapable of the desired aggressiveness in the conduct of the war. McClellan became general-in-chief of all the Union armies in the wake of the embarrassing Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run and after the retirement of the aged Winfield Scott in late 1861. [138] McClellan, a youthful West Point graduate and railroad executive, took several months to plan and attempt his Peninsula Campaign, with the objective of capturing Richmond by moving the Army of the Potomac by boat to the peninsula and then traveling by land to Richmond. McClellan's repeated delays frustrated Lincoln and the Congress, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington. Lincoln insisted on holding some of McClellan's troops to defend the capital, a decision McClellan, who consistently overestimated the strength of Confederate troops, blamed for the ultimate failure of the Peninsula Campaign.[139]

McClellan was passed over for general-in-chief (that is, chief strategist) in favor of Henry Wager Halleck, after his Harrison's Landing Letter, where he offered unsolicited political advice to Lincoln urging caution in the war effort.[140] McClellan's letter incensed Radical Republicans, who successfully pressured Lincoln to appoint John Pope, a Republican, as head of the new Army of Virginia. Pope complied with Lincoln's strategic desire to move toward Richmond from the north, thus protecting the capital from attack. However, lacking requested reinforcements from McClellan, Pope was soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the summer of 1862, forcing the Army of the Potomac to defend Washington for a second time.[141]

Meanwhile the war also expanded with naval operations in 1862 when the CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack, damaged or destroyed three Union vessels in Norfolk before being engaged and damaged by the USS Monitor. Lincoln intensely reviewed the dispatches and interrogated naval officers concerning the naval engagements.[142]

Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln was desperate, and restored him to command of all forces around Washington, to the dismay of all in his cabinet but Seward.[143] Two days after McClellan's return to command, General Lee's forces crossed the Potomac River into Maryland, leading to the Battle of Antietam (September 1862).[144] The ensuing Union victory, one of the bloodiest in American history, enabled Lincoln to announce that he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation in January. He had actually written this some time earlier but could not issue it in the wake of previous military defeats.[145] McClellan then resisted the President's demand to pursue Lee's retreating and exposed army, while his counterpart Gen. Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee. As a result, Lincoln replaced Buell with William Rosecrans; and, after the 1862 midterm elections, he replaced McClellan with Republican Ambrose Burnside. Both of these replacements were political moderates and therefore more supportive of the Commander in Chief.[146]

Burnside, against the advice of the President, prematurely launched an offensive across the Rappahannock and was stunningly defeated at Fredericksburg in December.[147] Joseph Hooker took command, despite his history of "loose talk" and criticizing former commanders.[148]

The mid-term elections in 1862 brought the Republicans substantial losses in the House, due in no small part to sharp disfavor with the President over his failure to deliver a speedy end to the war, or with his having suspended habeas corpus. No voice was louder in criticism of Lincoln than Ohio Democrat Rep. Clement Vallandigham. The objections to the habeas corpus issue reached a crescendo when Burnside arrested and jailed Vallandigham, an ex-congressman at the time, for his rebellious rhetoric. Lincoln at first thought the arrest warranted but later ordered his release.[149]

In the spring of 1863 Lincoln was optimistic about a group of upcoming battle plans, to the point of thinking the end of the war could be near if a string of victories could be put together; these plans included Hooker's attack on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecran's on Chattanooga, Grant's on Vicksburg and a naval assault on Charleston. The Commander in Chief was most dejected when none of these plans, at least initially, succeeded.[150]

Hooker was routed by Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May[151] but continued to command his troops for some weeks. When he ignored Lincoln's wish to divide his troops, and possibly force Lee to do the same in Harpers Ferry, the writing was on the wall and he tendered his resignation, which was accepted. He was replaced by George Meade who proceeded with the troops to follow Lee into Pennsylvania for the Gettysburg Campaign which was a victory for the Union, though Lee's army avoided capture. At the same time, after initial setbacks, Grant laid siege to Vicksburg and the Union navy attained some success in Charleston harbor.[152]

Gettysburg Address

Although the Battle of Gettysburg was a Union victory, the increased casualties dealt a blow to Lincoln's war effort. More soldiers were needed to replace the ranks. Lincoln's 1863 military drafts, which had been passed by Congress, were considered "odious" among many in the north, particularly immigrants. The New York Draft Riots of July 1863 were the most notable manifestation of this discontent. The Governor of Pennsylvania, Andrew Gregg Curtin, reminded Lincoln that political sentiments were turning against him and the war effort. Therefore, in the fall of 1863, Lincoln's principal aim was to sustain public support for the war effort. This goal became the focus of his address at the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19.

The Gettysburg Address, one of the most quoted speeches in United States history,[153] was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, four and a half months after the Union Army there defeated the Confederates in a casualty ridden battle. The President's carefully crafted address was far shorter than other speeches that day. In just over two minutes and 272 words, his message was 1) a defense of his administration, 2) an explanation why the war with all its horrors had to continue and 3) a pledge that because of these exertions "...government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."[154]

It was only after Gettysburg that Lincoln finally began to understand that his wishes as to the movement of Union troops would most effectively be carried out by using his War Secretary or his general-in-chief (Halleck) to relay them to his generals, who resented "civilian" interference with their plans. Even so, he still often felt compelled to give detailed directions as Commander in Chief. [155]


Meade's failure to capture Lee's army immediately as it retreated from Gettysburg and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac persuaded Lincoln that a change in command was needed. Lincoln was much impressed by the successes of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in the west, which made him a strong candidate to head the Union Army. Responding to criticism of Grant after the 1862 battle of Shiloh, Lincoln had said, "I can't spare this man. He fights."[156] With Grant, Lincoln felt the Union Army could relentlessly pursue a series of coordinated offensives in multiple theaters, and have a top commander who agreed on the use of black troops.[157]

Nevertheless, he had some reservation that Grant might be considering a candidacy for President, as McCllellan then was. Lincoln arranged for an intermediary to make inquiry into Grant's political intentions, and finding none at that time, decided to promote Grant to command of the Union Army. He obtained Congress' consent to reinstate for Grant the full rank of Lt. General, last held by George Washington.[158]

Grant waged his bloody Overland Campaign in 1864. This is often characterized as a war of attrition, given high Union losses at battles such as the Wilderness and Cold Harbor. However, even though they had the advantage of fighting on the defensive, the Confederate forces had "almost as high a percentage of casualties as the Union forces." [159] The high Union casualty figures alarmed the North, and, after Grant lost a third of his army, Lincoln asked what Grant's plans were. "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer," replied Grant.[160]

The Confederacy was out of replacements, so Lee's army shrank with every battle, forcing it back to trenches outside Petersburg, where Grant began a siege. Lincoln then made an extended visit to Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia. This allowed the president to confer in person with Grant and Sherman about the hostilities (as Sherman coincidentally managed a hasty visit to Grant from his forces in North Carolina at the same time).[161] Lincoln and the Republican party mobilized support throughout the North, backed Grant to the hilt, and replaced his losses.[162]

Lincoln authorized Grant to target the Confederate infrastructure – such as plantations, railroads, and bridges – hoping to destroy the South's morale and weaken its economic ability to continue fighting. Indeed, Grant's move to Petersburg resulted in the obstruction of three railroad between Richmond and the south. This strategy allowed Generals Sherman and Sheridan to destroy plantations and towns in the Shenandoah Valley, Georgia, and South Carolina. The damage caused by Sherman's March to the Sea through Georgia totaled more than $100 million by the general's own estimate.[163]

Jubal Anderson Early began a series of menacing assaults in the North which threatened the capitol. During his raid on Washington, D.C. in 1864, Lincoln was watching the combat from an exposed position; captain Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. shouted at him, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"[164] After repeated calls on Grant to defend Washington, Philip Sheridan was appointed and the threat from Early was dispatched.[165]

As Grant continued to wear down Lee's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. The Confederacy appointed its Vice President Stephens to lead a group to meet with lincoln and Seward and others at Hampton Roads. Lincoln refused to allow negotiation based on any assumption that the Confederacy was deemed an equal. Lincoln's objective was an agreement to end the fighting. The meetings produced no results.[166]

In April 1865, Lee's army finally crumbled under Grant's pounding, and Richmond fell.[167]

Emancipation Proclamation

Lincoln met with his cabinet on July 22, 1862 for the first reading of a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation.Lincoln maintained that the powers of his administration to end slavery were limited by the Constitution. He expected to cause the eventual extinction of slavery by stopping its further expansion into any U.S. territory, and by persuading states to accept compensated emancipation if the state would outlaw slavery (an offer that took effect only in Washington, D.C.). Guelzo says Lincoln believed that shrinking slavery in this way would make it uneconomical, and place it back on the road to eventual extinction that the Founders had envisioned.[168]

In July 1862, Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act, which freed the slaves of anyone convicted of aiding the rebellion. Although Lincoln believed it was not in Congress's remit to free any slaves, he approved the bill. He felt freeing the slaves could only be done by the Commander in Chief during wartime, and that signing the bill would help placate those in Congress who wanted to do it through legislation. In that month, Lincoln discussed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet. In it, he stated that "as a fit and necessary military measure" (and according to Donald not for moral reasons) on January 1, 1863, "all persons held as a slaves" in the Confederate states will " thenceforward, and forever, be free."[169]

In a shrewdly penned August reply to an editorial by Horace Greeley in the influential New York Tribune, with a draft of the Proclamation already on Lincoln's desk, the president subordinated the goal of ending slavery to the cause of preserving the Union, while, at the same time, preparing the public for emancipation being incomplete at first. Lincoln had decided at this point that he could not win the war without freeing the slaves, and so it was a necessity "to do more to help the cause":

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.[170]

The Emancipation Proclamation, announced on September 22, 1862, and put into effect on January 1, 1863, freed slaves in territories not already under Union control. As Union armies advanced south, more slaves were liberated until all of them in Confederate territory (over three million) were freed. Lincoln later said: "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper." The proclamation made the abolition of slavery in the rebel states an official war goal. Lincoln later sought to incorporate the proclamation into the Constitution through passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, permanently abolishing slavery throughout the nation.[171] He personally lobbied individual Congressmen for the Amendment, which was passed by the Congress in early 1865, shortly before his death.[172] A few days after the Emancipation was announced, thirteen Republican governors met at the War Governors' Conference; they supported the president's Proclamation, but suggested the removal of General George B. McClellan as commander of the Union Army.[173] For some time, Lincoln continued earlier plans to set up colonies for the newly freed slaves. He commented favorably on colonization in the Emancipation Proclamation, but all attempts at such a massive undertaking failed. As Frederick Douglass observed, Lincoln was, "The first great man that I talked with in the United States freely who in no single instance reminded me I was a Negro."[174]

Using black troops and former slaves was official government policy after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. At first Lincoln was reluctant to fully implement this program, but by the spring of 1863 he was ready to initiate "a massive recruitment of Negro troops." In a letter to Andrew Johnson, the military governor of Tennessee, encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of fifty thousand armed, and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once."[175] By the end of 1863, at Lincoln's direction, General Lorenzo Thomas had recruited twenty regiments of African Americans from the Mississippi Valley.[176]

Second Term (1865)

1864 Election

When Grant's spring campaigns turned into bloody stalemates, Lincoln supported Grant's dtermination to wear down Lee's Confederate army at the cost of heavy Union casualties. With an election looming, he easily defeated efforts to deny his renomination. At the Convention, the Republican Party selected Andrew Johnson, a War Democrat from the Southern state of Tennessee, as his running mate to form a broader coalition. They ran on the new Union Party ticket uniting Republicans and War Democrats.

Nevertheless, the lack of military success wore heavily on the President's re-election prospects, and even many Republicans across the country feared that Lincoln would be defeated and a number began looking for a substitute. Acknowledging this fear, Lincoln wrote and signed a pledge that, if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House:[177]

This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards.[178]

Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked them to sign the sealed envelope. While the Democratic platform followed the Peace wing of the party and called the war a "failure," their candidate, General George B. McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform. Lincoln provided Grant with new replacements and mobilized his party to support Grant and win local support for the war effort. Lincoln made no effort to increase his electoral vote by prematurely admitting new states, or readmitting old states, to the Union as was suspected he might.[179] Sherman's capture of Atlanta in September and David Farragut's capture of Mobile ended defeatist jitters[180]; the Democratic Party was deeply split, with some leaders and most soldiers openly for Lincoln; the Union party was united and energized, and Lincoln was easily reelected in a landslide. He won all but three states, including 78% of the Union soldiers' vote.[181]

Second Inaugural Address

On March 4, 1865, Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address, the shortest inaugural speech in history and his personal favorite of all those he gave. At this time, a victory over the rebels was at hand, slavery was dead, and Lincoln was looking to the future.

Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.[182]

Lincoln's comment as he filed the speech away was "a fair amount of wisdom there." And Frederick Douglas remarked it was "a sacred effort."[183]


Reconstruction began during the war as Lincoln and his associates pondered questions of how to reintegrate the Southern states and what to do with Confederate leaders and the freed slaves. Lincoln led the "moderates" regarding Reconstruction policy, and was usually opposed by the Radical Republicans, under Thaddeus Stevens in the House and Charles Sumner and Benjamin Wade in the Senate (though he cooperated with these men on most other issues). Determined to find a course that would reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held throughout the war in areas behind Union lines. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, 1863, offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners, and would sign an oath of allegiance.[184]

Critical decisions had to be made as southern states were subdued. Of special importance were Tennessee and Arkansas, where Lincoln appointed Gen. Andrew Johnson and Gen. Frederick Steele as military governors, respectively. In Louisiana Lincoln ordered Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks to promote a plan that would restore statehood when 10% of the voters agreed to it. Lincoln's opponents seized on these appointments to accuse him of using the military to insure his and the Republicans' political aspirations. The Radicals thought his policy too lenient, and passed their own plan, the Wade-Davis Bill, in 1864. When Lincoln pocket vetoed the bill, the Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat representatives elected from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.[185]

Lincoln's decision to fill retired Chief Justice Taney's seat on the Supreme Court with the appointment of Salmon Chase was strategically designed to facilitate reconstruction, as he shared Lincoln's views on emancipation and his uses of the greenback to finance the Union's war efforts.[186]

Lincoln also was able to visit Richmond after it was taken by the Union forces and to make a public gesture of sitting at Jefferson Davis' own desk, symbolically saying to the nation that the President of the United States held authority over the entire land. He was greeted at the city as a conquering hero by freed slaves, whose sentiments were epitomized by one admirer's quote, "I know I am free for I have seen the face of Father Abraham and have felt him." When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy."[187] Lincoln arrived back in Washington on the evening of April 9, 1865, the day Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. The war was effectively over. The other rebel armies surrendered soon after, and there was no subsequent guerrilla warfare.[188]

Redefining Republicanism

Lincoln's rhetoric defined the issues of the war for the nation, the world, and posterity. The Gettysburg Address defied Lincoln's own prediction that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here." His second inaugural address is also greatly admired and often quoted. In recent years, historians have stressed Lincoln's use of and redefinition of republican values. As early as the 1850s, a time when most political rhetoric focused on the sanctity of the Constitution, Lincoln shifted emphasis to the Declaration of Independence as the foundation of American political values—what he called the "sheet anchor" of republicanism.[189] The Declaration's emphasis on freedom and equality for all, rather than the Constitution's tolerance of slavers, shifted the debate. As Diggins concludes regarding the highly influential Cooper Union speech, "Lincoln presented Americans a theory of history that offers a profound contribution to the theory and destiny of republicanism itself."[190] His position gained strength because he highlighted the moral basis of republicanism, rather than its legalisms.[191] Nevertheless, in 1861 Lincoln justified the war in terms of legalisms (the Constitution was a contract, and for one party to get out of a contract all the other parties had to agree), and then in terms of the national duty to guarantee a "republican form of government" in every state.[192] That duty was also the principle underlying federal intervention in Reconstruction. In his Gettysburg Address Lincoln redefined the American nation, arguing that it was born not in 1789 but in 1776, "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." He declared that the sacrifices of battle had rededicated the nation to the propositions of democracy and equality, "that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." By emphasizing the centrality of the nation, he rebuffed the claims of state sovereignty. While some critics say Lincoln moved too far and too fast, they agree that he dedicated the nation to values that marked "a new founding of the nation."[193]

Domestic measures

Lincoln believed in the Whig theory of the presidency, which left Congress to write the laws while he signed them; Lincoln exercised his veto power only four times, the only significant instance being his pocket veto of the Wade-Davis Bill.[194] Thus, he signed the Homestead Act in 1862, making millions of acres of government-held land in the West available for purchase at very low cost. The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, also signed in 1862, provided government grants for state agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864 granted federal support for the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed in 1869.[195] The passage of the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Acts was made possible by the absence of Southern congressmen and senators who had opposed the measures in the 1850s.[196]

Other important legislation involved two measures to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs (a policy with long precedent), and a Federal income tax (which was new). In 1861, Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariff (the first had become law under James Buchanan). In 1861, Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1861[197] creating the first U.S. income tax. This created a flat tax of 3% on incomes above $800 ($19,307 in current dollars), which was later changed by the Revenue Act of 1862[198] to a progressive rate structure.[199]

Lincoln also presided over the expansion of the federal government's economic influence in several other areas. The creation of the system of national banks by the National Banking Acts of 1863, 1864, and 1865 allowed the creation of a strong national financial system. In 1862, Congress created, with Lincoln's approval, the Department of Agriculture, although that institution would not become a Cabinet-level department until 1889. The Legal Tender Act of 1862 established the United States Note, the first paper currency in United States history since the Continentals that were issued during the Revolution. This was done to increase the money supply to pay for fighting the war.

In 1862, Lincoln sent a senior general, John Pope, to put down the "Sioux Uprising" in Minnesota. Presented with 303 death warrants for convicted Santee Dakota who were accused of killing innocent farmers, Lincoln conducted his own personal review of each of these warrants, eventually approving 39 for execution (one was later reprieved).[200]

In the wake of Grant's casualties in his campaign against Lee, Lincoln had considered another executive call to strengthen response to the military draft, but it was never issued. In response to rumors of one, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a bogus draft proclamation which created an opportunity for the editors and others of the publications to corner the gold market. Lincoln's reaction was to send the strongest of messages to the media about such behavior; he ordered the military to seize the two papers which lasted for two days.[201]

Abraham Lincoln is largely responsible for the institution of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Prior to Lincoln's presidency, Thanksgiving, while a regional holiday in New England since the 17th century, had only been proclaimed by the federal government sporadically, and on irregular dates. The last such proclamation was during James Madison's presidency fifty years before. In 1863, Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November to be a day of Thanksgiving, and the holiday has been celebrated annually then ever since.[202]

The Lincoln Cabinet :

President Abraham Lincoln 1861–1865

Vice President Hannibal Hamlin 1861–1865

Andrew Johnson 1865 

State William H. Seward 1861–1865

War Simon Cameron 1861–1862

Edwin M. Stanton 1862–1865 

Treasury Salmon P. Chase 1861–1864

William P. Fessenden 1864–1865 
Hugh McCulloch 1865 

Justice Edward Bates 1861–1864

James Speed 1864–1865 

Post Montgomery Blair 1861–1864

William Dennison, Jr. 1864–1865 

Navy Gideon Welles 1861–1865

Interior Caleb B. Smith 1861–1862

John P. Usher 1863–1865 

States admitted to the Union

West Virginia – June 20, 1863

Nevada – October 31, 1864


Originally, John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland, had formulated a plan to kidnap Lincoln in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners. After attending an April 11 speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, an incensed Booth changed his plans and determined to assassinate the president.[204]

Learning that the President and First Lady would be attending Ford's Theatre, he laid his plans, assigning his co-conspirators to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. Without his main bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, to whom he related his famous dream regarding his own assassination, Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April 14, 1865.

On April 14, 1866, one year to the day after Lincoln's assassination, the US Post Office issued its first postage stamp honoring the fallen PresidentAs a lone bodyguard wandered, and Lincoln sat in his state box (Box 7) in the balcony, Booth crept up behind the President and waited for what he thought would be the funniest line of the play ("You sock-dologizing old man-trap"), hoping the laughter would muffle the noise of the gunshot. When the laughter began, Booth jumped into the box and aimed a single-shot, round-ball .44 caliber (11 mm) Deringer at his head, firing at point-blank range. Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth but was cut by Booth's knife. Booth then leaped to the stage and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!" (Latin: Thus always to tyrants) and escaped, despite suffering a broken leg in the leap.[205] A twelve-day manhunt ensued, in which Booth was chased by Federal agents (under the direction of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton).[206] He was eventually cornered in a Virginia barn house and shot, dying of his wounds soon after.[207]

An army surgeon, Doctor Charles Leale, initially assessed Lincoln's wound as mortal. The President was taken across the street from the theater to the Petersen House, where he lay in a coma for nine hours before dying. Several physicians attended Lincoln, including U.S. Army Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes of the Army Medical Museum. Using a probe, Barnes located some fragments of Lincoln's skull and the ball lodged 6 inches (15 cm) inside his brain. Lincoln never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 7:22:10 a.m. April 15, 1865. He was the first president to be assassinated or to lie in state. Lincoln's body was carried by train in a grand funeral procession through several states on its way back to Illinois.[208] While much of the nation mourned him as the savior of the United States, Copperheads celebrated the death of a man they considered a tyrant. The Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, is 177 feet (54 m) tall and, by 1874, was surmounted with several bronze statues of Lincoln. To prevent repeated attempts to steal Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom, Robert Todd Lincoln had it exhumed and reinterred in concrete several feet thick in 1901.

Religious and philosophical beliefs

In March 1860 in a speech in New Haven, Connecticut, Lincoln said, regarding slavery, "Whenever this question shall be settled, it must be settled on some philosophical basis. No policy that does not rest upon some philosophical public opinion can be permanently maintained." The philosophical basis for Lincoln's beliefs regarding slavery and other issues of the day require that Lincoln be examined "seriously as a man of ideas." Lincoln was a strong supporter of the American Whig version of liberal capitalism.[209] More than any political leader of the day he fashioned public policy into the mold of religious language, especially a kind of Old School Calvinism that avoided the evangelical, revivalistic fervor of the Second Great Awakening.[210]

There were few people who strongly or directly influenced Lincoln's moral and intellectual development and perspectives. There was no teacher, mentor, church leader, community leader, or peer that Lincoln would credit in later years as a strong influence on his intellectual development. Lacking a formal education, Lincoln's personal philosophy was shaped by "an amazingly retentive memory and a passion for reading and learning." It was Lincoln's reading, rather than his relationships, that were most influential in shaping his personal beliefs.[211][212]

Even as a child, Lincoln largely rejected organized religion, but the Calvinistic "doctrine of necessity" would remain a factor throughout his life. In 1846 Lincoln described the effect of this doctrine as "that the human mind is impelled to action, or held in rest by some power, over which the mind itself has no control."[213] In April 1864, in justifying his actions regarding Emancipation, Lincoln wrote, "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it."[214]

As Lincoln matured, and especially during his term as president, the idea of a divine will somehow interacting with human affairs increasingly influenced his public expressions. On a personal level, the death of his son Willie in February 1862 may have caused Lincoln to look towards religion for answers and solace.[215] After Willie's death, in the summer or early fall of 1862, Lincoln attempted to put on paper his private musings on why, from a divine standpoint, the severity of the war was necessary:

The will of God prevails. In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time. In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party—and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect his purpose. I am almost ready to say this is probably true—that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere quiet power, on the minds of the now contestants, He could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.[216]

Lincoln's religious skepticism was fueled by his readings in Enlightenment and classical liberalism, especially economic liberalism.[211] Consistent with the common practice of the Whig party, Lincoln would often use the Declaration of Independence as the philosophical and moral expression of these two philosophies.[217] In a February 22, 1861 speech at Independence Hall in Philadelphia Lincoln said,

I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. ... It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the motherland; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence.[218]

He found in the Declaration justification for Whig economic policy and opposition to territorial expansion and the nativist platform of the Know Nothings. In claiming that all men were created free, Lincoln and the Whigs argued that this freedom required economic advancement, expanded education, territory to grow, and the ability of the nation to absorb the growing immigrant population.[219]

It was the "Declaration of Independence," rather than the Bible, that Lincoln most relied on to oppose any further territorial expansion of slavery. He saw the Declaration as more than a political document. To him, as well as to many abolitionists and other antislavery leaders, it was, foremost, a moral document that had forever determined valuable principles for the future shaping of the nation.[220]

Legacy and memorials

Further information: Cultural depictions of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln's death made the President a national martyr,[221] regarded by historians in numerous polls as among the greatest presidents in U.S. history, usually in the top three, along with George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt.[222] A study published in 2004, found that scholars in the fields of history and politics ranked Lincoln number one, while law scholars placed him second after Washington.[223] Among contemporary admirers, Lincoln is usually seen as personifying classical values of honesty and integrity, as well as respect for individual and minority rights, and human freedom in general. Many American organizations of all purposes and agendas continue to cite his name and image, with interests ranging from the gay rights-supporting Log Cabin Republicans to the insurance corporation Lincoln National Corporation. The Lincoln automobile brand is also named after him.

There are 220 statues displayed outdoors of Lincoln.[224]

The ballistic missile submarine Abraham Lincoln (SSBN-602) and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) were named in his honor.[225] During the Spanish Civil War, the American faction of the International Brigades named themselves the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.[226] Lincoln has been memorialized in many town, city, and county names,[227] including the capital of Nebraska.[228] Lincoln, Illinois, is the only city to be named for Abraham Lincoln before he became President.[229]

Lincoln's name and image appear in numerous places. These include the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.,[228] the U.S. Lincoln $5 bill and the Lincoln cent, and Lincoln's sculpture on Mount Rushmore. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky,[230] Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Lincoln City, Indiana,[231] and Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois,[232] commemorate the president.[233] In addition, New Salem, Illinois (a reconstruction of Lincoln's early adult hometown),[234] Ford's Theatre, and Petersen House (where he died) are all preserved as museums.[235]

The state nickname for Illinois is Land of Lincoln; the slogan has appeared continuously on nearly all Illinois license plates issued since 1954.[236]

Abraham Lincoln's birthday, February 12, was never a national holiday, but it was observed by 30 states.[227] In 1971, Presidents Day became a national holiday, combining Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays, and replacing most states' celebration of his birthday.[237] As of 2005, Lincoln's Birthday is a legal holiday in 10 states.[238] The Abraham Lincoln Association was formed in 1908 to commemorate the centennial of Lincoln's birth.[239] The Association is now the oldest group dedicated to the study of Lincoln.[240]

The United States Postal Service honored Lincoln with a Liberty Issue 4¢ postage stamp on November 19, 1954, and a Prominent Americans series (1965–1978) 4¢ postage stamp.

To commemorate his 200th birthday in February 2009, Congress established the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC) in 2000 to honor Lincoln.[241] The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located in Springfield and is run by the State of Illinois.[242]

Abraham Lincoln is the only President whose portrait appears on U.S.Air Mail PostageLincoln owned a model 1857 Waltham William Ellery watch, with serial number 67613. This watch is now in the custody of the Smithsonian Museum.[243] On March 11, 2009, the National Museum of American History found a message engraved inside Lincoln's watch by a watchmaker named Jonathan Dillon who was repairing it at the outbreak of the American Civil War. The engraving reads (in part): "Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels" and "thank God we have a government."[244]

Motorists on Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming pass a roadside park with the depiction of Lincoln's head on the top of a rock monument. The head was sculpted by Robert Russin, a University of Wyoming art professor and an admirer of Lincoln. When Russin died in 2007, his ashes were interred in the hollow monumeny. The statue originally stood at Sherman Summit, 8,878 feet (2,706 m) above sea level, the highest point along the former Lincoln Highway. When I-80 was completed in 1969, the head was moved to the current site. Though it was reduced in height, it attracted a wider viewing audience.[245]

Abraham Lincoln was born on Sunday, February 12, 1809, in a log cabin on his father's farm in what was at that time Larue County (today Hardin County) Kentucky. His parents were Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. He had an older sister, Sarah.

In 1816, when Abraham was 7 years old, his parents moved to Perry County (later part of Spencer County) in southern Indiana, where his father bought land directly from the federal government. There, as Lincoln later described his life, he was "raised to farm work." His mother died in 1818, and his sister Sarah in childbirth in 1828.

From here, Lincoln first traveled on a flatboat to New Orleans. In 1830, when Abraham Lincoln was 21 years old, he migrated with his father and stepmother (Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln) and her children to Logan County, Illinois. After the discouragingly hard winter of 1830-31, the Lincolns started to return to Indiana, but stopped in Coles County, Illinois, where Abraham's parents lived out the rest of their lives. In the spring of 1831, Lincoln left his parents to try to find his own way in life.

He was again hired to take a flatboat of produce to New Orleans. After returning to Illinois from this successful journey, he settled in the small village of New Salem, where he had mixed success in a variety of callings. He had a partnership in a store-which failed, he served in the militia during the Black Hawk war, he was Postmaster, learned and practiced surveying, and considered being a blacksmith.

In 1832, he first ran for a seat in the state legislature. He lost, but two years later, was successful, and was again in 1836. At the time of the 1834 campaign, he was encouraged to study law. In March of 1837, he was enrolled as an attorney, and that April, he moved to Springfield to begin his law practice. While living in Springfield, Abraham Lincoln made the acquaintance of many people in different walks of life. Some of these people were to become his allies - and some his opponents - in political activities and in his work as a lawyer.

In the years that he was getting established, Lincoln also met an attractive young woman named Mary Todd. They had many interests in common that brought them together and in 1842 they were married. Within the next year their first son, Robert, was born. In 1844, Abraham purchased and took up residence with his family in the house on the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets. This was to be the only home he and his wife ever owned.

Here the Lincolns had three more sons - Edward (Eddie), William (Willie), and Thomas (Tad). Their second son, Edward, died near the age of four in their Springfield home.

When Lincoln was elected sixteenth President of the United States in 1860, the oldest boy, Robert, was away at college, while the other two, Willie and Tad, were still living with their parents. Lincoln was a loving and indulgent father and Mrs. Lincoln later wrote of him: "Mr. Lincoln was the kindest man and most loving husband and father in the world. He was very - exceedingly indulgent to his children. Chiding or praising them for what they did - their acts, etc, He always said It is my pleasure that my children are free, happy and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents.'"

On the morning of February 11, 1861, Lincoln was making his final preparations to depart from Springfield and to begin his fateful journey to the White House in Washington, D.C. The sky was full of low clouds and drizzling rain as he went to the train depot. There were about a thousand people gathered at the depot to see him off. They called for a speech and Lincoln made a brief address to the residents of Springfield from the rear platform of the train. Then the train pulled away and Lincoln left the place that had been his home for nearly 25 years. He was leaving Springfield to face formidable difficulties as President during the turbulent years of the Civil War.

1850 Illinois Census: Sangamon Co. Springfield

p. 120, lines 32-35

Series M432, roll 127, dwelling 696, family 728, 7 Nov 1850:

Abram LINCOLN, 40, Atty. at Law, b. Kentucky [didn't mention -future President of the United States]

Mary, 28, b. Kentucky

Robert, 7, b. Illinois

A Baltimore newspaper published the following story during the Civil War: "Passing through one of the hospitals devoted exclusively to Confederate sick and wounded, President Lincoln's attention was drawn to a young Georgian....  "Every stranger that entered (was) caught in his restless eyes, in hope of their being some relative or friend. 

President Lincoln observed this youthful soldier, approached and spoke, asking him if he suffered much pain. 'I do,' was the reply. 'I have lost a leg, and feel I am sinking from exhaustion.'

"'Would you,' said Mr. Lincoln, 'shake hands with me if I were to tell you who I am?' The response was affirmative, 'There should be no enemies in this place.' "Then said the distinguished visitor, 'I am Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States.' The young sufferer raised his head, looking amazed, and freely extended his hand, which Mr. Lincoln took and pressed tenderly for some time."

Abraham Lincoln hated war. He despised the pain and suffering and division it brought. From the time he took office until the day the South surrendered, he was consumed with two goals; end the war and preserve the Union. However, historians agree Lincoln was never ready to preserve the Union at all costs. Slavery was a bitter word that rose in his mouth whenever he allowed himself to think of the "monstrous injustice" it brought. It is a "cancer," said Lincoln, "one that is threatening to grow out of control in a nation originally dedicated to the inalienable right of man."

Yet he held no prejudice against the South. "They are just what we would be in their situation." However, the issue of slavery and the conviction that something must be done to stop its spread were enough motivation to persuade Lincoln to pursue a career in politics. In 1846 after having served one term on the Illinois State Legislature (1834), he was elected to the U. S. Congress. Four major defeats (to the Congress in 1848; the Senate in 1855 and 1858; and the U. S. Vice Presidential nomination in 1856) kept him from public office until 1860 when he was chosen to represent the Republican party during the Presidential election.

Election day found him waiting nervously at the Springfield, Illinois, telegraph office for election results. By day's end, friends and family addressed him as President-elect. "The North had swept Lincoln into office," writes author Russell Freedman. "In the South, his name hadn't even appeared on the ballot."

Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, in 1809. Thanks to the devotion of his mother, Nancy, who died when he was quite young, and then his stepmother, Sarah Bush, Lincoln grew to regard the Bible as a foundational tool for life. Lincoln once said: "This great book [the Bible]...is the best gift God has given to man...But for it we could not know right from wrong."

At the age of twenty-two Lincoln moved to New Salem, Illinois, where he opened his first store. Later, he met and became close associates with Mentor Graham, the town's schoolmaster. It was through this friendship and by joining Graham's debate team that Lincoln discovered his talent as a public speaker. Friend and attorney, John Todd Stuart, urged Lincoln to study law, saying it was a good profession, especially if he wanted to enter politics. Three years later, he passed his exams and began practicing law. With his future set, Lincoln married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842. The Lincolns had three sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad.


Despite his Christian upbringing, Lincoln did not accept Christ as his Savior until later in life. While he governed the nation by many of the principles written in God's Word, he lacked a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. After the death of his son, Willie, Lincoln heard for the first time of Christ's personal love and forgiveness for each man and woman. He wrote: "When I left Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me; I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life - I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ."


Finally, Lincoln had found the inner peace he longed for all his life. Following his salvation experience, he worshiped regularly at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church and planned to make a public confession of his faith. The war was winding down. Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9,Palm Sunday, and Lincoln was re-elected President. He gave thanks to God for bringing a close to the war and began turning the nation's interest toward reconciliation and reconstruction. However, five days later on Good Friday, he was shot by an assassin's bullet.

Throughout his life, Lincoln suffered many defeats - enough to make most men give up. But not Abraham Lincoln. His dedication and commitment found merit in heaven. He believed he was chosen "for such a time as this." In the Gettysburg Address he wrote: "We cannot escape history. We...will be remembered in spite of ourselves....In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve." He said his life had been a miracle of God's grace all the way through."

1. Abraham Lincoln, born February 12, 1809 in family home, Sinking Spring Farm, near Hodgenville, Hardin Co. (now Larue), KY1; died April 15, 1865 in Small Narrow Room At Rear,1stFloor, Wm Petersen Lodging House,10thSt.,Wash.,DC 7:22am2. He was the son of 2. Thomas Lincoln and 3. Nancy Hanks. He married (1) Mary Ann Todd November 04, 1842 in the Edwards' "mansion," "Aristocracy Hill," Springfield, Sangamon Co., IL3. She was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd and Eliza Ann Parker.

Notes for Abraham Lincoln: Born on a Sunday. It was a KY winter's day, apparently not excessively cold, as on Monday, the next day, the county court in Hardin County met, many travelers were on the road, and there was no postponements of cases because of inclement weather.

Abe Lincoln had a passion for knowledge. He only had a total of one year of formal schooling, but he would walk for miles to borrow books to teach himself math, science, and law.

He volunteered and became a Captain in the Black Hawk War of 1832. He commented after wards that he saw no live, fighting Indians, but had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes.

Died at 7:22 am in Peterson home, across street from theater.

President from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865.


Served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserved the Union, and ended slavery. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, he was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives, but failed in two attempts at a seat in the United States Senate. He was an affectionate, though often absent, husband, and father of four children.

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crisis—the American Civil War—by preserving the Union by force while ending slavery and promoting economic modernization. Reared in a poor family on the western frontier, he was mostly self-educated. He became a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator, and a one-term member of the United States House of Representatives but failed in two attempts at a seat in the United States Senate. He was an affectionate, though often absent, husband and father of four children.

Lincoln was an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery in the United States, which he deftly articulated in his campaign debates and speeches.[1] As a result, he secured the Republican nomination and was elected president in 1860. After war began, following declarations of secession by southern slave states, he concentrated on both the military and political dimensions of the war effort, seeking to reunify the nation. He vigorously exercised unprecedented war powers, including the arrest and detention without trial of thousands of suspected secessionists. He issued his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoted the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, abolishing slavery.

Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including Ulysses S. Grant. He brought leaders of various factions of his party into his cabinet and pressured them to cooperate. He defused a confrontation with Britain in the Trent affair late in 1861. Under his leadership, the Union took control of the border slave states at the start of the war and tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond. Each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another until finally Grant succeeded in 1865. A shrewd politician deeply involved with patronage and power issues in each state, he reached out to War Democrats and managed his own reelection in the 1864 presidential election.

As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican party, Lincoln came under attack from all sides. Radical Republicans wanted harsher treatment of the South, Democrats desired more compromise, and secessionists saw him as their enemy. Lincoln fought back with patronage, by pitting his opponents against each other, and by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory; for example, his Gettysburg Address of 1863 became one of the most quoted speeches in American history. It was an iconic statement of America's dedication to the principles of nationalism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. At the close of the war, Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily reunite the nation through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Just six days after the decisive surrender of the commanding general of the Confederate army, Lincoln fell victim to an assassin, the first U.S. president to suffer such a fate. Lincoln has consistently been ranked by scholars as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.

Abraham Lincoln la Presidencia de EEUU

El padre de Mary Todd Lincoln se casó con Elizabeth Humphreys en 1826.1 Mary tuvo una Relación Difícil Con su madrastra. A partir de 1832, Mary Todd Vivió en lo que ahora se conoce como la Casa de Mary Todd Lincoln, una mansión de la ciudad de Lexington (estado de Kentucky ).< ref> Mary Todd Lincoln House </ ref> Del matrimonio de su padre con su madre biológica y su madrastra, Mary Todd Tuvo 15 hermanos. A la edad de 20 años, en 1839, Mary Todd se mudó de la casa familiar de Springfield (estado de Illinois), donde vivía ya su hermana Elizabeth.2 Mary Todd, que era una joven inteligente y coqueta, Fue cortejada por el abogado y político emergente Stephen A. Douglas, ella Aunque Se sintió atraída por el rival de aquél, y abogado también de estatus más bajo, Abraham Lincoln. Elizabeth Facilito su noviazgo y le presento a Abraham Lincoln, el 16 de diciembre de ese año. Se dice que Lincoln Cuando supo que se apellidaba Todd, dos con "D", le preguntó: "¿Por qué? A Dios le Bastó con una sola" (en castellano, "Dios"). Tras un noviazgo tormentoso marcado por al menos una ruptura, Mary Todd se casó con Abraham Lincoln el 4 de noviembre de 1842. Casi exactamente nueve meses Después, el 1 de agosto de 1843, Mary Todd dio a luz un su primer hijo, Robert Todd Lincoln. Mientras Abraham Lincoln cosechaba cada vez más éxitos profesionales como abogado en Springfield, Mary Todd se ocupaba de su familia Creciente. La casa que habitaron en Springfield, entre 1844 y 1861 sigue en pie hoy en día y funciona como la Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Los hijos del matrimonio, nacidos todos en Springfield, fueron:

   Robert Todd Lincoln: (1843 - 1926)
   Edward Baker Lincoln | Edward (Eddie) Baker Lincoln: (1846 - 1850)
   William Wallace Lincoln | William (Willie) Wallace Lincoln: (1850 - 1862)
   Thomas Lincoln | Thomas (TAD) de Lincoln: (1853 - 1871).

De los cuatro, sólo Robert Todd y Thomas llegaron a la edad adulta, y sólo Robert sobrevivio a su madre.

Mary Todd Lincoln estaba muy enamorada de su marido y en ocasiones la entristecía su ausencia del hogar para ejercer su profesión y participar en las campañas políticas. Aun así, en la década de 1850, Mary Lincoln Apoyo a su marido incondicionalmente en su lucha contra la Creciente crisis provocada por la esclavitud en los Estados Unidos, que culminó con su elección como presidente. La elección de Lincoln provocó que siete estados sureños declarasen su independencia de la Unión. En el estado natal de Mary Lincoln, Kentucky (uno de los cuatro estados esclavistas que no se separaron), existía un arraigado sentimiento contrario a la Unión, y muchas familias de clase alta (a la Cual pertenecía María) apoyaban la causa sureña.

Primera Dama Mary Lincoln era una mujer culta que se interesaba por la actualidad de su país y compartía la tremenda ambición de su marido, pero su origen sureño le planteó obstáculos que se hicieron evidentes enseguida que asumió sus responsabilidades de Primera Dama en marzo de 1861. Además, algunos rasgos de su carácter tampoco le ayudaban a superar dichos problemas: nerviosa y susceptible, a veces actuaba de manera irracional. Al trasladarse a la capital, se granjeó una impopularidad de la noche a la mañana. El predecesor de Abraham Lincoln, James Buchanan, que permaneció soltero toda su vida, no había podido utilizar la Casa Blanca para reuniones públicas, a tenor de las reglas de la época, de modo que en 1861 la residencia se encontraba en un estado de cierto abandono. Mary Todd emprendió una serie de reformas de la Casa Blanca, pero los fondos públicos necesarios se extrajeron al mismo tiempo que aumentaba el gasto del Estado para sufragar la Guerra Civil, con lo cual fue criticada con dureza. La prensa controlada por el Partido Demócrata les dedicó críticas feroces tanto a ella como al gobierno de su marido, que se vieron avivadas por las ostentosas excursiones de Mary Lincoln a Nueva York para realizar sus compras personales. A medida que avanzaba la Guerra Civil, comenzaron a circular rumores contra la lealtad e integridad de Mary Lincoln. Entre otras cosas, se la acusaba de ser simpatizante de los Estados Confederados, e incluso una espía (muchos parientes suyos luchaban del lado de la Confederación: dos hermanastros y su cuñado murieron en batalla), aunque en realidad Mary Lincoln fue una defensora ferviente e incansable de la causa de la Unión. Sus enemigos jamás advirtieron sus numerosas visitas a los soldados de la Unión atendidos en los hospitales de camapaña de Washington y cercanías. Abraham Lincoln defendió enérgicamente a su mujer ante los crueles ataques de sus detractores Durante la Guerra Civil, los estadounidenses de origen sureño pero fieles a la Unión, como Mary Lincoln, tuvieron que compatibilizar el concepto de supremacía de la raza blanca, que les habían inculcado desde la infancia, con la nueva función de los afroamericanos como elemento fundamental de la fortaleza de la Unión. Como parte de este dilema moral y personal, Mary Lincoln aceptó a una antigua modista esclava, Elizabeth Keckly, como su amiga íntima y confidente en la Casa Blanca. Posteriormente, los recuerdos de Elizabeth Keckly serían un elemento clave para comprender los problemas psicológicos que padeció Mary Lincoln como Primera Dama. Los desafíos personales de Mary Lincoln se recrudecieron en febrero de 1862 cuando su hijo Willie, de 11 años, murió de fiebre tifoidea, tras lo cual Mary, ya de por sí debilitada en el plano psicológico, casi sucumbió al dolor producido por el fallecimiento. Contrató a médiums y espiritistas para intentar contactar con el espíritu de su hijo, con lo cual derrochó nuevamente otra pequeña fortuna. Tras la muerte de Willie, Mary Todd limitó las recepciones que ofrecía en la Casa Blanca, situación que sus enemigos aprovecharon para acusarla de desatender sus obligaciones sociales

Asesinato de Abraham Lincoln y vida posterior En abril de 1865, cuando la guerra tocaba su fin, Mary Lincoln albergaba la esperanza de renovar su felicidad como Primera Dama de un país en paz, pero el 14 de abril de 1865, mientras el matrimonio Lincoln asistía a la representación de la obra Our American Cousin en el Teatro Ford, el presidente Lincoln fue herido de muerte por un asesino. Abraham Lincoln fue conducido al edificio opuesto al teatro, la casa Petersen, en compañía de Mary, y allí moriría el día siguiente, 15 de abril de 1865. Mary Lincoln jamás se recuperaría de la traumática experiencia. Ya viuda, Mary Lincoln regresó a Illinois. En 1868, la antigua confidente de Mary, Elizabeth Keckly, publicó Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the Wh

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Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA's Timeline

February 12, 1809
Hodgenville, Hardin County, Kentucky, United States
Age 10
Grayson, Kentucky, United States

Abraham Lincoln
in the 1820 United States Federal Census
Name: Abraham Lincoln
Home in 1820 (City, County, State): Grayson, Kentucky
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25: 1
Number of Persons - Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons - Under 16: 1
Free White Persons - Over 25: 1
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons - White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 3
Source Citation
1820 U S Census; Census Place: Grayson, Kentucky; Page: 144; NARA Roll: M33_21; Image: 159
Source Information
Ancestry.com. 1820 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
Original data: Fourth Census of the United States, 1820. (NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
This database details those persons enumerated in the 1820 United States Federal Census, the Fourth Census of the United States. In addition, the names of those listed on the population schedule are linked to the actual images of the 1820 Federal Census. Enumerators of the 1820 census were asked to include the following categories in the census: name of head of household, number of free white males and females, number of other free persons except Indians, number of slaves, town or district and county of residence. Learn more...
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November 1, 1839
Age 30
Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL)
August 1, 1843
Age 34
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States
March 10, 1846
Age 37
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States
November 7, 1850
Age 41
Springfield, Sangamon, llinois
December 21, 1850
Age 41
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States
April 4, 1853
Age 44
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States