There have been numerous books published about Abraham Lincoln. He is one of the significant people in American history that helped shape and provide direction to the United States.
Divulge yourself as we walk through the life of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States of America.
Abraham Lincoln’s humble beginnings
Abraham Lincoln was born to Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln, South of Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809. They lived in a small cabin with her sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Thomas, who died while he was still an infant. His mother died when she drank infected milk on October 5, 1818, when Abraham was only nine years old. Not long after, his father married Sarah Bush Johnston, who has three children. She was well-loved by Abraham. He was distant to his father because he keeps on asking him to do hard labor on the farm. He often called lazy because he preferred reading, and his stepmother nurtured it.
Abraham was self-taught. His love for reading did not hinder him from learning. He was already a young adult when he received formal education. They don’t have much to read in the frontier of Indiana; that’s why he walked for miles to borrow books such as the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
He was tall, robust, and athletic. He is also skillful in using an ax. He even won a wrestling match against the leader of the ruffian group called “the Clary’s Grove boys.”
The Lincoln family migrated to Illinois due to another milk-related ailment outbreak. At the age of 22, Abraham left home. He stayed in New Salem for six years, working as a shopkeeper and postmaster. He eventually owned his mercantile before moving to New Orleans, where he saw slavery first hand.
In 1832, the war of Black Hawk broke between Native Americans and the United States. Abraham enlisted as a volunteer and elected as Captain by the locals. He did not face the actual combat; however, he was able to make significant political connections.
Abraham tried to run for the legislative position, but he was defeated. He decided to pursue self-study law. He passed the bar examination in1836 and eventually practiced law.
The following year, Abraham moved to Springfield, Illinois, which offered a greener pasture for his profession. In 1844, he worked with William H. Herndon. Their tandem was unrivaled. They split the money they earned. They never had any quarrels when it comes to money.
Abraham starts to live a good life in his early years working as a lawyer, but Springfield doesn’t have many cases to handle. To keep himself busy, he traveled hundreds of miles every Spring and Fall to a prairie, which often has petty matters and paid small fees.
Eventually, Abraham served in the house of representatives in 1847-1849 for one term. He associated himself to the Whigs. Whigs are members of a political party who urged social reform. Being a member of Whig, he was elected four times until 1840.
During his service as a legislator, he concentrated on the promising construction of railroads, highways, and canals. He also demonstrated his objection to slavery. He even proposed a bill that emancipates the slaves gradually in the District of Columbia.
He started to emerge as a republican leader. The debate to oppose slavery in the Nebraska and Kansas territory was intense, and the spiteful Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas argued that the concerned state should decide the status of slavery. In October 1854, Abraham countered a few months after Douglas’ argument with his “Peoria Speech.” It asserted his stand against slavery and considered it a monstrous injustice towards the slaves.
Eventually, to fortify his advocacy against slavery, he sought to the senatorial position. Unable to win the majority, he pursued the endorsement of Lyman Trumbull, who was an antislavery democrat. Knowing Abraham was a Whig, Democrats vowed not to support Whig; however, Whig and Democrats’ combination defeated Joel Aldrich Matteson. Abraham gave a final speech regarding his support in the preservation of the Union.
Urged to run as the vice president, however, John Fremont and William Dayton compromised the line-up. Democrats nominated the former Secretary of State, James Buchanan and Whig President, Millard Fillmore.
In 1858, Abraham’s political rival, Stephen Douglas, was aiming for re-election, while Abraham wants to prevail against him with the endorsement of Trumbull. He was able to win the nomination to represent Illinois Republican Party. As he accepts his candidacy, he delivered the “House Divided Speech” using Mark 3:25 as his biblical reference. It condemns the idea of the coexistence of a free state and slavery in one nation.
President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham’s abrasive disapproval of slavery earned him exposure and popularity in national politics. He was nominated for his beliefs against slavery and as well as with his infrastructure and tariff platforms.
His presidency began on March 4, 1861. He picked a powerhouse for his cabinet members, including William Henry Seward, Salmon Chase, Edward Bates, and Edwin Stanton.
Abraham’s platform to end slavery eventually tore the nation apart, which sparked the Civil War in 1861. Seven states from the south seceded from the Union. On April 12, 1861, stationed weapons protecting the harbors of South Carolina gestured the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. The rebellion started, which gave the administration a hard time defeating.
Emancipation Proclamation delivered on January 1, 1863. It completely abolished slavery in the Union.
His most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, was delivered on November 19, 1863. He evoked the Declaration of Independence from slavery and discrimination.
Although Abraham did not live to see the change he brought to his nation. He was assassinated on April 14, 1865, by a Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
Despite his tragic death, he is still respected and looked upon as the man who freed the slaves and saved the Union from parting ways.