Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin in the Kentucky wilderness. When be was a little boy his Grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War. He had a little sister by the name of Sarah.
As he went to school he met a boy by the name of Austin. They instantly became friends more so best of friends. At first Abe wasn’t allowed to go to school because he didn’t have a good pair of britches. In his pastime he loved to read.
When Abe was eleven, his mother died of what they called “milk sick” which occurred from drinking unpasteurized milk. That was four years after they moved to a new farm in southern Indiana. He had to live in an open shed throughout the winter. The same year his mother died, his father remarried. He married Sarah Bush Johnson. She brought three kids and a cousin Dennis Hanks.
When Abe was nineteen, he worked as a boatman and make his first trip down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, the center of the slave trade.
When Abe was twenty-one, he moved with his family to Illinois. However Abe’s brother Thomas didn’t make it to Illinois because he died of influenza. Soon after Abe made his second trip on the flatboat to New Orleans to defend the blacks and fight slavery. Abe served as a captain in the Black Hawk War and was defeated. Abe came back to Illinois and not long after was elected to the State Legislature and soon became one of the most promising young Whig party leaders.
When Abe was thirty-three, he married Mary Todd on November 4,1842. Over the next eleven years the two would have four children their names were Robert, Edward, William, and Thomas. Not long after their marriage Abe became a lawyer and practiced in Springfield, Illinois. Not long after that Abe was elected to Congress. While in Congress it was said that Abe had a secret romance with Ann Rutledge sadly, Ann died in 1835. Also during his reign in Congress Abe proposed that slave owners in the District of Columbia he lost a lot of popularity when doing so. Abe and his counter part Douglas debated each other over the expansion of slavery into the territories. As these debates went on a man by the name of John Brown attempted to start a rebellion by leading an attack on Harper’s Ferry. He was captured and soon after he was hanged.
Although William Seward was the pre-convention favorite for the Republican Presidential nomination in 1860, Lincoln won on the third ballot. With Hannibal Hamlin as his running mate, Lincoln was elected the 16th President on November 6, 1860, defeating Douglas, John Bell, and John C. Breckinridge. In February of 1861 the Lincoln’s left by train for Washington D.C. The president elect was now wearing a beard at the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl. Lincoln was sworn in on March 4.
After Lincoln’s election, many southern states, fearing Republican control in the government, seceded from the Union. Lincoln faced the greatest internal crisis of any U.S. President. After the fall of Ft. Sumter, Lincoln raised an army and decided to fight to save the Union from falling apart. Despite enormous pressures, loss of life, battlefield setbacks, generals who weren’t ready to fight, and assassination threats, Lincoln stuck with this pro-Union policy for four long years of Civil War. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. This was Lincoln’s declaration of freedom to slaves in the areas of the Confederacy not under Union control. Also, on November 19, 1863, Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address which dedicated the battlefield there to the soldiers who had perished. He called on the living to finish the take the dead soldiers had begun.
Lincoln’s domestic policies included support for the Homestead Act. This Act allowed poor people in the East to obtain land in the west. Also, Lincoln signed legislation entitled the National Banking Act which established a national currency and provided for the creation of a network of national banks. In addition, he signed tariff legislation that offered protection to American Industry and signed a bill that chartered the first transcontinental railroad. Lincoln’s foreign policy was geared toward preventing foreign intervention in the Civil War.
In 1864 Ulysses S. Grant was named general-in-chief of the armies of the United Stated. The South was slowly being worn down. Lincoln was re-elected as President with Andrew Johnson as his running mate. Lincoln defeated the Democrat George McClellen on November 8, 1864.
November 1864 Lincoln was nearly exhausted by the burden of the war and grief at the death of his son Willie in the White House. Wherever he turned he read or heard criticism of himself and his generals. He prepared a memorandum for his Cabinet, forecasting his defeat in the coming election. The people, however, at last rallied to him and reelected him.
When he gave his inaugural address March 4, 1865, the end of the war was in sight. He looked forward to welcoming the Southern states back into the Union and to making their readjustment as easy as possible. He expressed that thought in these words: “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 orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Little more than a month later, on April 9, 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate army to Gen. U.S. Grant. On April 11 the Stars and Stripes of the United States were raised over Fort Sumter, where the war had begun.
To celebrate the end of the war, Lincoln took Mary and two guests to Ford’s Theater on the night of April 14. During the third act of the play, ‘Our American Cousin’, John Wilkes Booth, a young actor who was proslavery, crept into the presidential box and shot Lincoln in the head. Booth then leapt onto the stage, and, brandishing a dagger, he escaped. He was shot and killed on April 26 in a Virginia tobacco barn when soldiers and detectives surrounded and set fire to it.
Soldiers carried the unconscious president across the street to the nearest residence, a boardinghouse. There, stretched diagonally on a bed too small for his long body, he died without regaining consciousness at 7:22 in the morning. It was April 15, 1865–28 years to the day since he had left New Salem. As the Great Emancipator died, Secretary of War Stanton said softly, “Now he belongs to the ages.” A funeral train carried the president’s body back home to Springfield, Ill., where he lies buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Only after his death did the world come to realize Lincoln’s greatness. He was a superb statesman, a firm idealist who would not be swayed from the right course of action, a man of kindly and brave patience, and a believer in what he called the “family of man.”