- 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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Formed out the adage "Hold your friends close and your enemies closer," Lincoln's Cabinet became one of his strongest assets in his first term in office… and he would need them. Before his inauguration in March, 1861, seven Southern states had seceded from the Union and by April the U.S. military installation Fort Sumter, was under siege in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. In the early morning hours of April 12, 1861,
the guns stationed to protect the harbor blazed toward the fort signaling the start of America’s costliest and most deadly conflict.
Abraham Lincoln responded to the crisis wielding powers as no other present before him. He distributed $2 million from the Treasury for war material without an appropriation from Congress; he called for 75,000 volunteers into military service without a declaration of war; and he suspended the writ of habeas corpus, arresting and imprisoning suspected Confederate sympathizers without a warrant. Crushing the rebellion would be difficult under any circumstances, but the Civil War, with its preceding decades of white-hot partisan politics, was especially onerous. From all directions, Lincoln faced disparagement and defiance. He was often at odds with his generals, his Cabinet, his party and a majority of the American people.
The Union Army's first year and a half of battlefield defeats made it especially difficult to keep morale up and support strong for a reunification the nation. With the hopeful, but by no means conclusive Union victory at Antietam on September 22, 1862, Abraham felt confident enough to reshape the cause of the war from "union" to abolishing slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which stated that all individuals who were held as slaves "henceforward shall be free."
Gradually, the war effort improved for the North, though more by attrition then by brilliant military victories. But by 1864, the Confederacy had hunkered down to a guerilla war and Lincoln was convinced he'd be a one-term president. His nemesis, George B. McClellan, the former commander of the Army of the Potomac, challenged him for the presidency, but the contest wasn't even close. Lincoln received 55 percent of the popular vote and 212 of 243 Electoral votes. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Virginia, surrendered his forces to Union General Ulysses S. Grant and the war for all intents and purposes was over.
Reconstruction began during the war as early as 1863 in areas firmly under Union military control. Abraham Lincoln favored a policy of quick reunification with a minimum of retribution. But he was confronted by a radical group of Republicans in the Senate and House that wanted complete allegiance and repentance from former Confederates. Before a political battle had a chance to firmly develop, Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, by well-known actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln was taken from the theater to a Petersen House across the street and laid in a coma for nine hours before dying the next morning. His body lay in state at the Capitol before a funeral train took him back to his final resting place in Springfield, Illinois.
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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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