His parents were poor pioneers and Lincoln was largely self-educated. In , he qualified as a lawyer and went to work in a law practice in Springfield, Illinois. He sat in the state legislature from to and in was elected to Congress, representing the Whig Party for a term. In , he joined the new Republican Party and in he was asked to run as their presidential candidate.
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In the presidential campaign, Lincoln made his opposition to slavery very clear. His victory provoked a crisis, with many southerners fearing that he would attempt to abolish slavery in the South. Seven southern states left the Union to form the Confederate States of America, also known as the Confederacy. Four more joined later. Lincoln vowed to preserve the Union even if it meant war. Fighting broke out in April Lincoln always defined the Civil War as a struggle to save the Union, but in January he nonetheless issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in areas still under Confederate control.
This was an important symbolic gesture that identified the Union's struggle as a war to end slavery. In the effort to win the war, Lincoln assumed more power than any president before him, declaring martial law and suspending legal rights. He had difficulty finding effective generals to lead the Union armies until the appointment of Ulysses S Grant as overall commander in On 19 November , Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address at the dedication of a cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, a decisive Union victory that had taken place earlier in the year.
In , Lincoln stood for re-election and won.
Abraham Lincoln | Presidents of the United States (POTUS)
In he made a bid for the Senate in a much-publicized race which he ultimately lost but which transformed him into a nationally recognized political figure. At the outset of the war, he would have done so at any cost, including by allowing slavery to continue. But abolishing slavery would become a nonnegotiable objective for him as the war progressed because of his own long-expressed abhorrence for the practice and because of the growing antislavery sentiment among his fellow Northerners.
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His intransigence on the subject scuttled possibilities of a peace conference between the Union and the Confederacy in By winning the war, he achieved both these objectives—reunion and abolition. For many, Abraham Lincoln has gone down in history as something of a martyr for his country.
Biography of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States
But Lincoln had already begun to be mythicized during his lifetime, some of his contemporaries drawing parallels between him and figures like George Washington. Abraham Lincoln was born in in a backwoods cabin in Kentucky. His father was a pioneer and a farmer, and his mother was a deeply religious woman who died when Lincoln was young. Lincoln would go on to marry Mary Todd and have four boys with her, only one of whom survived into adulthood.
Among American heroes, Lincoln continues to have a unique appeal for his fellow countrymen and also for people of other lands. This charm derives from his remarkable life story—the rise from humble origins, the dramatic death—and from his distinctively human and humane personality as well as from his historical role as saviour of the Union and emancipator of the slaves.
His relevance endures and grows especially because of his eloquence as a spokesman for democracy. In his view, the Union was worth saving not only for its own sake but because it embodied an ideal, the ideal of self- government. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.
Lincoln was born in a backwoods cabin 3 miles 5 km south of Hodgenville, Kentucky, and was taken to a farm in the neighbouring valley of Knob Creek when he was two years old. His earliest memories were of this home and, in particular, of a flash flood that once washed away the corn and pumpkin seeds he had helped his father plant. Though much less prosperous than some of his Lincoln forebears, Thomas was a sturdy pioneer. On June 12, , he married Nancy Hanks. The Hanks genealogy is difficult to trace, but Nancy appears to have been of illegitimate birth.
In December , faced with a lawsuit challenging the title to his Kentucky farm, Thomas Lincoln moved with his family to southwestern Indiana. Soon he built a permanent cabin, and later he bought the land on which it stood. Abraham helped to clear the fields and to take care of the crops but early acquired a dislike for hunting and fishing. Fortunately, before the onset of a second winter, Thomas Lincoln brought home from Kentucky a new wife for himself, a new mother for the children. Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, a widow with two girls and a boy of her own, had energy and affection to spare.
She ran the household with an even hand, treating both sets of children as if she had borne them all; but she became especially fond of Abraham, and he of her.
Both his parents were almost completely illiterate, and he himself received little formal education. His neighbours later recalled how he used to trudge for miles to borrow a book. Of course, when I came of age I did not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the rule of three; but that was all.
From his earliest days he must have had some familiarity with the Bible , for it doubtless was the only book his family owned. In March the Lincoln family undertook a second migration, this time to Illinois , with Lincoln himself driving the team of oxen. Having just reached the age of 21, he was about to begin life on his own.
Feb 12, 1809 - Apr 15, 1865
Six feet four inches tall, he was rawboned and lanky but muscular and physically powerful. He was especially noted for the skill and strength with which he could wield an ax. He spoke with a backwoods twang and walked in the long-striding, flat-footed, cautious manner of a plowman. Good-natured though somewhat moody, talented as a mimic and storyteller, he readily attracted friends.