- NAME: Abraham Lincoln
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: February 12, 1809
- DEATH DATE: April 15, 1865
- 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.
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.
Watch a short video about Abraham Lincoln and when he made the transition from a sharp Southern lawyer to president of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin in rural Kentucky and went on to become the 16th President of the United States. On January 1, 1963, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation abolishing slavery. He was assassinated on April 15, 1865.
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His client was acquitted.
About a year after the death of Anne Rutledge, Lincoln courted Mary Owens. The two saw each other for a few months and marriage was considered. But in time Lincoln called off the match. In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, a high spirited, well educated woman from a distinguished Kentucky family. In the beginning, many of the couple’s friends and family couldn’t understand Mary’s attraction, and at times Lincoln questioned it himself. However, in 1841,
the engagement was suddenly broken off, most likely at Lincoln’s initiative. They met later, at a social function and eventually married on November 4, 1842. The couple had four children, of which only one, Robert, survived to adulthood.
In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which repealed the Missouri Compromise, and allowed individual states and territories to decide for themselves whether to allow slavery. The law provoked violent opposition in Kansas and Illinois. And it gave rise to the Republican Party. This awakened Abraham Lincoln’s political zeal once again, and his views on slavery moved more toward moral indignation. Lincoln joined the Republican Party in 1856.
In 1857, the Supreme Court issued its controversial decision Scott v. Sanford, declaring African Americans were not citizens and had no inherent rights. Though Abraham Lincoln felt African Americans were not equal to whites, he believed the America’s founders intended that all men were created with certain inalienable rights. Lincoln decided to challenge sitting U.S. Senator Stephen Douglas for his seat. In his nomination acceptance speech, he criticized Douglas, the Supreme Court, and President Buchanan for promoting slavery and declared “a house divided cannot stand.” The 1858 Senate campaign featured seven debates held in different cities all over Illinois. The two candidates didn’t disappoint the public, giving stirring debates on issues ranging from states’ rights to western expansion, but the central issue in all the debates was slavery. Newspapers intensely covered the debates, often times with partisan editing and interpretation. In the end, the state legislature elected Douglas, but the exposure vaulted Lincoln into national politics.
In 1860, political operatives in Illinois organized a campaign to support Lincoln for the presidency. On May 18th at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Abraham Lincoln surpassed better known candidates such as William Seward of New York and Salmon P. Chase of Ohio. Lincoln’s nomination was due in part to his moderate views on slavery, his support for improving the national infrastructure, and the protective tariff. In the general election, Lincoln faced his friend and rival, Stephan Douglas, this time besting him in a four-way race that included John C. Breckinridge of the Northern Democrats and John Bell of the Constitution Party. Lincoln received not quite 40 percent of the popular vote, but carried 180 of 303 Electoral votes.
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