Abraham Lincoln Biography
Died At Age: 56
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Born Country: United States
Born in: Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States
Famous as: American President.
political ideology: Republican (1854–1865), National Union (1864–1865)
Spouse/Ex-: Mary Todd
father: Thomas Lincoln
mother: Nancy Lincoln
siblings: Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, Thomas
children: Edward Baker, Robert Todd Lincoln
place of death: Petersen House, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Cause of Death: Assassination
U.S. State: Kentucky
Turn the pages of America’s political history and you are sure to find one man who outshines others and attracts the attention of all – Abraham Lincoln! Nicknamed ‘Honest Abe’ or ‘Father Abraham,’ Lincoln was, by far, one of the most powerful and greatest presidents that America has ever witnessed. Rising from a modest and humble beginning, it was his sheer determination and honest effort that led him to the nation’s highest office. An astute politician and proficient lawyer, he played a vital role in the unification of the states. Leading from the front, he played a prominent role in abolishing slavery from the country, eventually giving people equal rights, irrespective of caste, color, or creed. He not only envisioned but actually brought to the forefront a truly democratic government which was led by the concept ‘by the people, of the people and for the people.’ What’s more, Lincoln led the country when it faced its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crises. He not only emerged victorious but was also effective in strengthening the national government and modernizing the economy. He was a savior of the Union and an emancipator of the slaves. Just like his astonishing rise to the top-notch position and his eventual governance, his death was equally astounding as he became the first US president ever to be assassinated. Since awards and honors did not exist at the time, Abraham Lincoln was never felicitated with awards and honors. However, he is considered one of the top three presidents of the United States. As per the presidential ranking polls conducted since 1948, Lincoln has been rated at the top in the majority of polls.
- Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln. He had a younger brother named Thomas, who died in infancy, and an elder sister named Sarah.Lincoln’s father was a hardworking man. Through his relentless efforts, he became one of the richest men in the country. He was respected and honored by one and all. However, the riches did not last long as Thomas Lincoln lost everything, which led to the family shifting base to the present Spencer County in Indiana.The Lincolns went to the ‘Separate Baptists’ church and had opposing views on alcohol, dancing, and slavery. They believed in restrictive moral standards.On October 5, 1818, tragedy struck the family as Nancy Lincoln left for the heavenly abode after suffering from milk sickness. Her mortal remains were buried in a grave which was located just behind the family cabin. The death of his mother had a devastating effect on young Lincoln, who grew alienated from his father. However, the gap was bridged by his stepmother Sarah Bush Johnston whom he grew close to.Considered lazy by many, due to his dislike for the hard labor associated with frontier life, Lincoln proved his doubters wrong as he grew up to be responsible and dedicated. He completed all the chores expected of a boy from a household at the time and became adept at using an axe, a skill which he used to build rail fences. He also dutifully gave all his earnings to his father.As far as his education is concerned, it is estimated that Lincoln did not have more than 18 months of formal education throughout his life. However, he made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge. Though both his parents were illiterate and unschooled, they encouraged Lincoln to read and write, especially his stepmother Sarah.He was an avid reader and had read all the popular books, including the Bible, several times. Thus, the knowledge and wisdom that Lincoln possessed were mostly self-taught.The family shifted base to Coles County, Illinois in 1831, after fearing milk sickness. At the age of 22, Lincoln left his home and set off on his own. His first stop was in the village of New Salem in Sangamon County, where he took up a job of transferring goods by flatboat from New Salem to New Orleans via Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers.Continue Reading BelowYou May LikeRecommended Lists:
Recommended Lists:Formative Years
- In 1832, Lincoln moved to New Orleans where he bought a small general store along with a friend. Since the venture did not turn out to be profitable, he sold his shares and tried his hand at politics. He started campaigning for a seat at the ‘Illinois General Assembly.’Though Lincoln had gained popularity through his storytelling skills, his lack of formal education, money, and powerful friends led to his loss. While taking part in the assembly, Lincoln also served in the ‘Black Hawk War’ as a captain in the ‘Illinois Militia.’After working as a postmaster and county surveyor, Lincoln started pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer. He started reading law books to gain the knowledge required to sustain in the field. Lincoln’s social and story-telling skills were honed during this phase of his life.In 1834, his second campaign turned out to be successful as he won the election to the state legislature, representing the ‘Whig Party.’In 1836, Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois where he enrolled himself to the bar and started practicing law under John T. Stuart.Lincoln’s reputation as an able and efficient lawyer grew leaps and bounds. He became known for his tough and challenging cross-examinations and closing arguments. Over the years, Lincoln worked with a number of professional lawyers, including Stephen T. Logan and William Herndon.Lincoln’s political career was progressing steadily as well. In his four years of successive term as a ‘Whig’ representative at the ‘Illinois House of Representatives,’ he was known for voicing against the perils of slavery. He regularly spoke for economic modernization in various sectors, including banking.Rising popularity and great work earned Lincoln a seat in the ‘U.S. House of Representative’ in 1846, where he served a two-year term. A true ‘Whig’ supporter, he stood by his party’s policies and participated in all events. He even made speeches that emphasized on the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.As far as foreign and military policies are concerned, Lincoln was against ‘Mexican-American War’ and opposed the views of President Polk. However, he supported the ‘Wilmot Proviso’ which was a proposal to ban slavery in territories acquired from Mexico. His stand against the president earned him negative publicity and Lincoln lost political support within his district. Subsequently, he even earned the nickname ‘spotty Lincoln.’Continue Reading BelowDuring the 1848 presidential elections, Lincoln supported General Zachary Taylor for the ‘Whig’ nomination. Though Taylor won the elections, Lincoln lost to Justin Butterfield, losing out on an opportunity to be appointed commissioner of the ‘General Land Office.’ Instead, he was offered the position of a secretary or governor of the Oregon Territory. He refused the offer to resume his law practice.Lincoln’s career as a lawyer was steadily growing as was his reputation and status. He even appeared before the ‘Supreme Court’ of the United States. Out of his 175 appearances at the ‘Illinois Supreme Court,’ he stood as a sole counsellor on 51 occasions, out of which he won 31 times. His client list included big names from across the country.Recommended Lists:
Recommended Lists:Work on Anti-Slavery
- While the northern states of US had banned slavery and were against the suppression of people belonging to the lower class or caste, the southern states and the newer territories in the West were yet to ban slavery. In order to bring about a change in these territories, Lincoln made a comeback to his political career around the 1850s and strongly opposed the ‘Kansas-Nebraska Act.’According to the ‘Act,’ Douglas had permitted the settlers to determine the fate of slavery in the new territory. Condemning the ‘Act,’ Lincoln argued that the national Congress had no role to play in the matter.Lincoln’s stand against slavery was apparent in his ‘Peoria speech’ which he gave on October 16, 1854. In his speech, he condemned slavery due to the injustice that it represented and its deprival of equality of rights among men.Lincoln ran for the seat at the US Senate from Illinois in 1854. Though he was comfortably leading ahead of others in the first six rounds, it was his strong opposition to the ‘Kansas–Nebraska Act’ that led to his downfall as there was a split amongst the Whigs.It was his take on anti-slavery along with an appeal for ‘Free Soil’ and ‘Liberty’ that shaped the new ‘Republican Party.’ At the 1856 ‘Republican National Convention,’ Lincoln was second in the contest to become the party's candidate for vice president.In 1858, Lincoln won the state Republic party’s vote which nominated him for the US Senate. This gave rise to a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates, which have earned the reputation of being the most popular debates in American history.Continue Reading BelowLincoln and Douglas were different from each other in terms of their political outlook and physical appearance. While Lincoln advocated the abolition of slavery, Douglas promoted his ‘Freeport Doctrine,’ according to which local people of a particular state were free to decide whether or not slavery should be practiced in their state.Lincoln’s ‘Republican Party’ won many votes, but the ‘Democratic Party’ won many seats, thus re-electing Douglas to the Senate. Despite the loss, Lincoln was committed towards eradicating slavery from the nation.Campaign for Presidency
- In 1860, a campaign was organized by the political operatives in Illinois which ran in support of Lincoln for the presidency. Interestingly, he surpassed well-known candidates, such as William Seward of New York and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio at the ‘Republican National Convention’ in Chicago.It was Lincoln’s take on slavery and his support for national infrastructure and the protective tariff that won him the nomination and the subsequent popularity. He beat Southern Democrat Douglas, John C. Breckinridge of the Northern Democrat, and John Bell of the ‘Constitution Party’ to make his way to the most coveted political position, garnering a total of 180 electoral votes out of 303.Eventually, on November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected as the 16th president of the United States.On March 4, 1861, he assumed the office and became the first-ever president from the ‘Republican Party.’ He selected a strong cabinet, which consisted of many of his political rivals, such as William Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Edwin Stanton.Tenure as a President - Succession & Civil War
- Lincoln entered the ‘White House’ after attaining maximum support from North and West. However, the South was enraged about the result and decided to withdraw itself from the Union and form a separate nation by the name ‘Confederate States of America.’The states included in the ‘Confederate States of America’ were South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Led by Jefferson Davis, these states were considered independent and sovereign.Continue Reading BelowLincoln, however, in his inaugural address in March the following year, refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring the South’s secession illegal. Though there were attempts made to strike a compromise, Lincoln refused all such offers and stood by his stand for free-soil and slave-free states.As much as Lincoln hated war, he had to live with it as secessionists were enraged by Lincoln’s orders and declared war. To make things worse, other southern states like North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Arkansas also joined the Confederate. They took hold of Fort Sumter, which eventually led to what is now termed as America’s costliest and most deadly conflict.Lincoln appointed troops to head towards Washington, D.C. to protect the capital. He withdrew $2 million from the treasury for war material, called for 75,000 volunteers to join military service, and suspended the writ of habeas corpus, eventually arresting and imprisoning suspected Confederate sympathizers without a warrant. He also developed strong ties with the states around the border and worked towards keeping the war from becoming an international conflict.Crushing the opponent seemed difficult as Lincoln met dead end at all sides. While the Copperheads (Peace Democrats) felt that Lincoln was too stubborn on his stand for anti-slavery, Radical Republicans criticized him for moving slowly in abolishing slavery. To add to the woes, Lincoln faced defiance and vilification from generals, cabinet members, party members, and a majority of the American people.Lincoln kept a close eye on the progress of the war and was aware of every minute detail. He regularly consulted with the governors and kept close tabs on the military. His main priorities concerning the war were based on two things – Washington should be well defended and an aggressive war should be conducted for a prompt and decisive victory which would, in turn, satisfy the demand placed in the North.General McClellan was appointed as the general-in-chief for all the Union armies. Though the first year and a half proved to be difficult due to the losses and support for the reunification of the nation, the victory at Antietam gave Lincoln some relief.Meanwhile, midterm elections in 1862 brought bad news for the Lincoln-led government as the public had questioned the ability of the administration and its failure to bring a quick end to the war. Other factors that acted against the government were inflation, new high taxes, rumors of corruption, suspension of habeas corpus, the military draft law, and the fear that freed slaves would undermine the labor market.As for the war, Lincoln realized that the war could be ended if a string of victories was put together. Subsequently, Lincoln’s administration was able to register success at the Charleston harbor and the ‘Battle of Gettsyburg.’Emancipation Proclamation
- Lincoln’s idea of a slave-free nation was not just undermined by the South but by the Constitution as well. As such, efforts made by the Federal government alone could not resolve the issue.Continue Reading BelowTo put an end to slavery, Lincoln offered the states compensated emancipation in return for their prohibition of slavery. He believed that this method would help curtail slavery from within the roots.Thus, the ‘Second Confiscation Act’ was passed on July 1862, according to which the slaves were guaranteed freedom. The main purpose of this act was to weaken the rebellious war that the opponents had brought about. Though Congress was not successful in permanently dissolving slavery, it did show support to liberate slaves owned by slave owners.Around the same time, Lincoln came up with the first draft of the ‘Emancipation Proclamation,’ according to which he stated that all persons held as slaves in the Confederate states would be free and liberated.‘The Emancipation Proclamation’ was officially issued on September 22, 1862, and came into practice on January 1, 1863. According to the proclamation, slaves belonging to the 10 states, which were not present in the Union, were declared free.The next few months were spent preparing the army and the country for emancipation.Abolition of slavery became a military objective and to fulfill the same, the Union armies took some tough decisions. The more they advanced towards the South, the more slaves were being freed and liberated. In a short time, as many as three million slaves were freed from Confederate territory.