- NAME: Abraham Lincoln
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: February 12, 1809
- DEATH DATE: April 15, 1865
- Did You Know?: Lincoln was an accomplished wrestler: He was defeated only once in about 300 matches, and is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
- Did You Know?: Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was saved from getting hit by a train by Edwin Booth, John Wilkes Booth's brother.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Hodgenville, Kentucky
- PLACE OF DEATH: Washington, D.C.
- Full Name: Abraham Lincoln
- Nickname: Honest Abe
- Nickname: The Great Emancipator
Best Known For
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States. He preserved the Union during the U.S. Civil War and brought about the emancipation of slaves.
An original animated video of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
"The Lincoln Room" in New York's famous Keens Steakhouse features a wide collection of memorabilia of the 16th president, including a playbill from the night of his assassination.
Even before Lincoln's assassination, he received numerous death threats as soon as he entered the White House.
Abraham Lincoln was known for having a sense of humor which he used in both his personal life and for political gain.
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When the Black Hawk War broke out in 1832 between the United States and Native Americans, the volunteers in the area elected Lincoln to be their captain. He saw no combat during this time, save for "a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes," but was able to make several important political connections.
After the Black Hawk War,
Abraham Lincoln began his political career and was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. He supported the Whig politics of government-sponsored infrastructure and protective tariffs. This political understanding led him to formulate his early views on slavery, not so much as a moral wrong, but as an impediment to economic development. It was around this time that he decided to become a lawyer, teaching himself the law by reading William Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. After being admitted to the bar in 1837, he moved to Springfield, Illinois and began to practice in the John T. Stuart law firm.
It was soon after this that he purportedly met and became romantically involved with Anne Rutledge. Before they had a chance to be engaged, a wave of typhoid fever came over New Salem and Anne died at age 22. Her death was said to have left Lincoln severely depressed. However, several historians disagree on the extent of Lincoln’s relationship with Rutledge and his level of sorrow at her death may be more the makings of legend.
In 1844, Abraham Lincoln partnered with William Herndon in the practice of law. Though the two had different jurisprudent styles, they developed a close professional and personal relationship. Lincoln made a good living in his early years as a lawyer, but found that Springfield alone didn't offer enough work, so to supplement his income, he followed the court as it made its rounds on the circuit to the various county seats in Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln served a single term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849. His foray into national politics seems to be as unremarkable as it was brief. He was the lone Whig from the state of Illinois, showing party loyalty, but finding few political allies. He used his term in office to speak out against the Mexican-American War and supported Zachary Taylor for president in 1848. His criticism of the war made him unpopular back home and he decided not to run for second term, but instead returned Springfield to practice law.
By the 1850s, the railroad industry was moving west and Illinois found itself becoming a major hub for various companies. Abraham Lincoln served as a lobbyist for the Illinois Central Railroad as its company attorney. Success in several court cases brought other business clients as well—banks, insurance companies and manufacturing firms. Lincoln also did some criminal trials. In one case, a witness claimed that he could identify Lincoln's client who was accused of murder, because of the intense light from a full moon. Lincoln referred to an almanac and proved that the night in question had been too dark for the witness to see anything clearly.
Check out BIO’s original video series, American Freedom Stories, about the historic events of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama, and the leaders and everyday heroes who fought to make racial equality a reality. Watch videos.
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