Abraham Lincoln’s Childhood and Education


Nancy and Thomas Lincoln gave birth to Abraham Lincoln on February 12, 1809, in the South of Hodgenville, Kentucky. He got his name after his grandfather died in combat. His father raised crops and a family in their land in Kentucky.

As you devour through this article, you will unveil how Abraham Lincoln’s childhood and education made him the self-made leader that he was.

Life of Young Abe

Young Abe spent his childhood in a small log cabin in Kentucky. Along with his sister, Sarah, it exposed him to challenging and manual labor on their farm, which he is desperate to escape. Abe did not want to follow his grandfather nor his father’s footsteps in plowing land and becoming a farmer. Growing up, his father calls him lazy because he preferred reading than doing farm chores. He acquired an ambition to get an education because he believed that it would enable him to go beyond manual labor.

Abe was mistreated by his father, which he associated as if he was as a slave; that is one apparent reason why he condemns slavery so much.

His mother died on October 5, 1818, when she drank infected milk. Young Abe was only nine years old at that time. It left him distraught. Eventually, Thomas brought home a widow named Sarah Bush Johnston on December 2, 1819, with her three children. Abraham found parental affection from Sarah, who he considered as heaven-sent. She nurtures Young Abe’s interest in reading, scribbling, and poetry writing.

Abe was self-taught with few intermittent schoolings from traveling teachers for a year. Living in a frontier is no excuse for him to embrace the love for reading. He would walk for hours to borrow a book such as Aesop’s Fables, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. He was well-versed with the Bible as it was the only book they have at home.

Little did anyone know that Young Abe worked some odd jobs, such as working on a riverboat and dreamed of starting his own business. He took the responsibility of farm and household chores that he became skillful in using an ax.

Abraham enlisted in the Black Hawk War, a skirmish between Native Americans who were moving westward and the United States as volunteers. He never saw combat; however, he got elected to become a captain. Abraham himself regarded his election as a captain as “a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since.”

In 1828, another tragedy struck the family when his sister, Sarah, died in childbirth, leaving young Abraham was severely depressed. He traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he witnessed the horrors of slavery, wherein auctions and abuse occurred.

New Beginning

In 1830, His family moved out again due to their fear of another milk-related ailment. Young Abe became more distant from his father. Abraham moved out of their house in 1831. He stayed in New Salem, Illinois, for six years, where he worked as a shopkeeper, postmaster and eventually owned his mercantile. He also met his first romance, Ann Rutledge. They got engaged in 1835 before she died on August 25, 1835, due to probably Typhoid fever.

Another romantic interest was Mary Owens from Kentucky. Abe courted her for a brief time until he ended their uncertain relationship through a letter without Mary’s response.

He pursues self-studying law, passed the bar examination in 1836and practiced law. He moved to Springfield, Illinois, with William H. Herndon as his partner. 

In December 1839, Abraham met Mary Todd, daughter of Robert Smith Todd, a wealthy businessman in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1840, Abraham got engaged to Mary. The date of their wedding was initially on January 1, 1841; however, Abe called a cold foot and rescheduled on November 4, 1842. They bought a new house in Springfield nearby Abraham’s law office. They had four sons, Robert, Edward, William Wallace, and Thomas.

Abraham continued his law career but became involved in politics. He served in legislation in 1846 and seated as the sixteenth president of the United States of America on November 6, 1860.

As a president, he was able to preserve the union between feuding states and was able to unshackle the slaves from hard labor, low wages, and military purposes.


The life of Abraham Lincoln was filled with greatness but also shrouded with grief and sadness. But his willpower and resilience to overcome adversities with fortitude made him a truly remarkable man worth every ounce of respect. He grew up carrying the values of honesty and fairness towards people. He got the nickname “Honest Abe” because of his reputation as an honest lawyer and leader. It was never easy to maintain integrity amidst all of the enticement around him, but he surpassed it.