Born on 12 February 1809
Born in Southeast Hardin County, Kentucky
Died on 15 April 1865
Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the United States who led the country to victory during the American Civil War and contributed profoundly towards ending the widespread slavery in America. Before being elected to the Presidency; Lincoln was a successful lawyer, an Illinois state legislator and a member of the United States House of Representatives. His presidency is primarily marked by his illustrious success in defeating the secessionists, abolition of slavery and neutralizing a war-like situation with the United Kingdom in 1861. Apart from these, the former President is credited with the establishment of a "Republican form of Government" in America through a policy of reconciliation. Since then he has been ranked among the greatest presidents of America. His assassination in 1865 was the first ever presidential assassination in the U.S. history which made him a martyr in its history who would be remembered for his sacrifices for the unity of his nation.
Childhood & Personal Life
Abraham Lincoln was born on 12 February 1809 to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks in southeast Hardin County Kentucky. His parents were uneducated, but respected and affluent citizens of Kentucky backcountry. In 1816, the Lincoln family was forced to move to Indiana. When Lincoln was nine, his mother died of milk sickness, and his father remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston. Though Lincoln was affectionate towards his stepmother, he had not very good relations with his father.
Lincoln had only 18 months of formal school, but he was self-educated and an avid learner. Lincoln was not only a keen reader and excellent writer, but also a local wrestler. On November 4, 1842 Lincoln married Mary Todd and the couple had four sons. Amongst them, Robert Todd Lincoln was their only child to survive into adulthood. The other children Edward Baker Lincoln, William “Willie” Wallace Lincoln and Thomas “Tad” Lincoln died in their early childhood.
Early Political Career
Lincoln started his political career with a campaign in 1832 for the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Whig Party. The campaign was not successful though and he lost the seat. Soon after the campaign, he was elected captain of an Illinois militia company of New Salem during the Black Hawk War. In 1834, Lincoln won election to the state legislature and influenced by the Commentaries on the Laws of England, he started learning law. After admission to the bar in 1837, he moved to Springfield and established himself as a formidable adversary and successful lawyer. In 1837, Lincoln made his first protest — as a leader of the Illinois Whig Party — against slavery in the Illinois House and labeled it as “inhumanity based upon injustice and bad policy.”
1860 Presidential Elections
Abraham Lincoln moved to Republican Party in 1854 and on May 9-10, 1860, he received his first endorsement to run for the presidency. On 6 November, 1860, he became the first Republican president to win entirely on the strength of his support in the North, as there was no campaigning in the South except for a few border cities. With this landslide victory, Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States. He was the first and only one President elected from Illinois, until Barack Obama was elected in 2008. With this election, the Republican Party emerged as the nation’s first major sectional party.
Presidency and the Civil War
Abraham Lincoln’s election and emergence of the Republican Party as a great strength, gave rise to sectional tensions. Secessionists made it clear that their states would leave the Union. On 20 December, 1860 South Carolina took the lead and by 1861, six other cotton growing sates followed it. These seven states declared themselves a new union “Confederate States of America.” However the upper South, along with President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the new union. Attempts were made to reach a compromise but tension between the two groups reached its peak and Lincoln narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on 23 February 1861 in Washington, D.C.
In his first inaugural address on 4 March 1861, Lincoln made his final attempt to reunite the states and prevent the war-like situation by supporting the Corwin Amendment, which protected slavery in those states in which it already existed. By the time Lincoln took charge, while no leaders of the Confederacy proposed a compromise, nearly every Republican leader refused to accept secession on any terms. Lincoln decided not to take any action against the South, unless the Unionists themselves were attacked, which finally happened in 1861. In April 1861, after the Unionists were attacked and forced to surrender, Lincoln called on the governors of all states to protect the capital and “preserve the Union”. Virginia refused to join the attack on another state and seceded along with North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas. After the fighting started, thousands of rebellions were arrested or exiled during the suppression of secessionists.
Emancipation Proclamation & Second Inauguration
Abolition of Slavery was the primary goal of Abraham Lincoln. In July 1862, Congress moved to free the slaves by passing the Second Confiscation Act. Though the act did not end the legal institution of slavery, Congressional support to Lincoln’s efforts in liberating slaves became obvious. The new law was implemented with Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation”. The “Emancipation Proclamation” was announced on 22 September and came into effect on 1 January 1863. With this, abolition of slavery in rebel states became a national goal which freed slaves in territories not under Union Control. Taking a move ahead, Lincoln devoted himself to passage of thirteenth amendment to abolish slavery permanently throughout the nation. In the light of his outstanding work, Lincoln was re-elected as President in 1864 election and delivered his second inaugural speech on 4 March 1865. At that time, slavery was dead and the rebels were no more a threat.
The War and Reconstruction
Lincoln wanted to take active part in determining the war strategy and throughout the war, he emerged himself in military campaigns. During the war, he authorized his commander to target civilians and destroy infrastructure, with a view to weaken South’s morale and its economic ability to continue the war. Reconstruction of the United States began during the war with continuous efforts to reintegrate the United States. Under his Amnesty Proclamation, issued on 8 December 1863, Lincoln decided to offer pardon to those who had not held a Confederate civil office, had not mistreated Union prisoners; on the clause to sign an oath of faithfulness.
As soon as the states were recaptured, Lincoln called for a speedy election to determine the unity and reconstruction of the United States. Towards the end of the war, Lincoln visited Virginia after it was taken by the Union forces to give a message that the President of the United States held authority over the entire land. The President came back from his visit on 9 April, 1865 and soon after, the war was over with rebel armies surrendering to the Union forces. After the war was over, Lincoln took measures that determined the democracy and equality in America and ensured a “Republic form of Government.”
Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862, which made acres of government held land available for purchase at a very low cost. The Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act was also signed in the same year which provided governments grant for agricultural universities in each state. The National Banking Acts of 1863, 1864, and 1865, formed a strong national financial system. In a milestone step towards economic stability, the Legal Tender Act of 1862 was signed which established the United Nations Note, the first paper currency in the American history.
He was the first President to be assassinated in the American history. He was assassinated on 14 April 1865 and was stated dead on 15 April 1865 at 7:22 a.m. His assassin, John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and a Confederate spy shot him at skull while he was attending a theatre. After Lincoln’s body was returned to The White House, a brain autopsy was performed to determine the cause of the death. Investigation ensued and John Booth was caught after a twelve-day manhunt and shot. He eventually died of his wounds soon after.
From : www.thefamouspeople.com