Biographies / Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

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Autor:  anton  30 August 2010
Tags:  Abraham,  Lincoln
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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln has been depicted as a very gifted orator and noble leader of our country. He is often compared with Shakespeare, due to his ability to say amazingly profound words. He is a very important symbol of our country’s history. Lincoln definitely led an interesting life.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin in Hardin (now Larue) County, Kentucky. This was near Hodgenville, Kentucky. His mother’s name was Nancy Hanks Lincoln; his father’s name was Thomas Lincoln. Abraham was named after his father’s father. He had an older sister named Sarah, and he had a younger brother named Thomas, but he died in infancy. Abraham Lincoln was once described by his cousin Dennis Hanks as,"...he'll never come to much, fur I'll tell you he wuz the puniest, cryin'est little youngster I ever saw." Abraham’s parents were part of a Baptist congregation. Abraham went to school every once in a while at a log schoolhouse two miles from his farm. Abraham then moved to Indiana due to troubles with land claims. When Abe was 9 years old, his mother died of “milk sickness” which was a disease that was acquired by drinking the milk of a cow that grazed on poisonous white snakeroot. His father Thomas then remarried a woman named Sara Bush Johnston. She didn’t think that Abe had enough schooling, so she sent him to school a lot more.

Abraham Lincoln enjoyed reading much more than the usual working on the farm. This is where he got most of his knowledge. In the 1830’s, the Lincolns moved to Illinois where Abraham lived until 1837. In Illinois, he worked as a postmaster, a storekeeper, and he served in the Black Hawk War in 1832.

His physical features are the most famous qualities of Abraham Lincoln. At his full height, he was 6 feet and 4 inches and was about 180 pounds. This made him very tall and stocky. Lincoln is often depicted as a very hunched over man, since he is so tall.

Lincoln decided that he wanted to run for legislature in Illinois. However, he lost his first election. In 1834 he was a Whig and was at last elected to the legislature and served four terms. During this time period, Abraham kept on reading, and eventually went to study the law. In 1837 he moved to Springfield, Illinois. He became a lawyer, and met his future wife.

Mary Todd was from Kentucky and had moved to Springfield to live with her married sister. She was 5 feet 2 inches (much shorter than Abraham) and the age of 21. Abraham was ten years older than she was. Mary and Abraham had an off and on relationship. They first confronted when they were at a cotillion and Abraham asked her to dance. Eventually they got engaged, broke up, and then saw each other again. They decided to get married in late 1842, yet they didn’t want a big wedding. Abraham told the minister that he wanted to “get hitched tonight.” They got married in the Edward’s house in which Mary was staying. About 30 relatives and friends attended; Mary did not wear an elaborate dress. On November 11, 1842, Abraham wrote a letter to Samuel D. Marshall, which included him saying, “Nothing new here, except my marrying, which to me is a matter of profound wonder.” The couple had 4 children: Robert, Edward, William, and Thomas (well known as Tad).

In 1846, Lincoln was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives and won the election. During his term, he was well known for his opposition of slavery and the Mexican-American War. After his term he went back to his law practice and became suddenly uninterested in politics for a while. After the Kansas-Nebraska Act was enforced, Lincoln became more active in politics again. He made an important speech, now known as the Lost Speech because many people failed to take notes during it. Apparently, there were many ideas stressed in the Lost Speech. Some of these ideas include: the Republican Party was emphasized as being a good party, and that it was to be very influential to the U.S., and that all free soil people in Kansas should fight against slavery with a lot of power while keeping the country in tact, and not split apart.

When the Dred Scott trial was in progress, Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech to the public on June 16, 1858. This was a very profound speech in which Lincoln expresses his feelings on a divided nation by comparing the nation to a house. He said that, “A house divided cannot stand.”(“Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln”) Abraham engaged in a series of debates with Stephen A. Douglas, which became later known as the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. Douglas was a democrat who was responsible for the Kansas-Nebraska Act and “Bleeding Kansas”. He was a strong advocate for popular sovereignty. In contrast, Lincoln believed that either the country would have to be pro-slavery or anti-slavery. Lincoln was running against Douglas for a senate position, and lost against him. However, he gained a reputation that would later on help him in his presidential campaign.

Lincoln ran against Stephen Douglas again but this time he ran for president. Lincoln was now a Republican, and he had many supporters. Yet the Southerners did not want Lincoln as president since they thought that the northerners would overthrow the slave states. Lincoln became president anyway on November 6th, 1860 as the 16th president. His running mate was Hannibal Hamlin. The south was very worried. They decided to secede from the Union. By the time Abraham was inaugurated (on March 4th, 1861) 7 states had already seceded and formed the Confederacy. Mary Todd’s background was southern, so the press constantly poked at her.

Through the entire Civil War, Abraham Lincoln tried his best at keeping the Union together to fight the Confederacy. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which freed the slaves. On November 19th, he gave the famous Gettysburg Address, which memorializes the Gettysburg battlefield to all of the soldiers that have died in the war.

Lincoln enforced the Homestead Act. This act allowed poor eastern people to settle in the West. Abraham also signed the National Banking Act, which made a national currency and made a network of national banks. He signed a bill that started the first transcontinental railroad. He did not want any other countries interfering in our country’s domestic affairs, like the Civil War.

Re-election came along, and Lincoln (with assistance of his new running mate Andrew Johnson) beat out the democrat George McClellan. The South was falling. When General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, Lincoln made a speech on the steps of the White House. This speech included a suggestion that he would support black voting rights, which outraged many citizens, especially an actor named John Wilkes Booth.

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife went to go see a play (“Our American Cousin”) at Ford’s Theatre. During the performance, John Wilkes Booth sneaked into the President’s balcony, and shot him in the head at about 10:15 PM. Lincoln was carried to the Peterson House across the street. He laid in a bed not long enough for him, stripped of his clothes, while physicians tried to remove blood clots which formed over the bullet wound. This relieved the pressure on his brain and allowed it to continue functioning and allowing respiration to take place. He internally and externally had hemorrhaging until 7:22 the next morning when he passed away. He was 56 years old when he died. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton immediately said, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

There was a very long funeral procession, in which thousands of people lined the track along the way to Illinois on April 21st. Lincoln was buried in Springfield Illinois on May 4th, 1865. This was the first assassination in presidential history. Therefore it was a very important yet sad time in American history.

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