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Abraham Lincoln Biography

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, in Nolin Creek , Kentucky. His father was Thomas Lincoln from virginia born january 6, 1778,and Nancy Hanks born February 5, 1784, they were married June 12, 1806. He developed into a tall angular man had developed terrific stenghth he could hold an ax by the handle and raising his arm to horizontal hold the ax out straight. He was quick whited and liked to mimic often-imitating preachers and politicians he had heard. He was very kind had a since of fair play always helping others, loved of animals and had a great ambition to excel. His neighbors remembered him plowing, hoeing, grubbing, and making a fence held little attraction to him. Although he was a hard worker when he was plowing fields he would have a book with him, when the horses would rest at the end of a row, Abraham would read.

After Lincoln left his family his need for self-improvement increased, he aspired to improve his eduction. he studied English grammar and mathematics. He taught himself for the most part, whenever he needed help he consulted a local schoolmaster, Mentor Graham. Lincoln developed a fondness for the writings of Shakespeare and Robert Burns that would last his lifetime. He became a regular attendant of the new Salem Debating Society, where he met a more intellectual group of people. The intellectual citizens of New Salem welcomed Lincoln who turned out to be a very good speaker with passion and well versed onhis subjects.

The president of the society remarked that all he lacked was culture. Lincoln decided to take a turn to politics and in 1832 declared himself a candidate for the office of State Legislature. His platform was internal improvements, better educational facilities, and a law to limit interest rates. Governor John Reynolds called for volunteers for the state militia to fight Black Hawk, the war leader to the Sauks and Foxed, who were dissatisfied with the land allotted them (Black Hawk War of 1832). His job as a shopkeeper was coming to an end, he enlisted for thirty days, borrowed a horse and suppplied his own gun and ammunition.

His company consisted mainly of friends. He was elected captain they became part of mounted brigade. After the enlistment was over most of his men left for home. Lincoln enlisted for twenty days additional service a a private in the mounted company of Elijah Iles. The command was largely made up of former colonels, captains, lieutenants, and Lieutenant Robert Anderson, later to command Fort Sumter. After his enlistment was expired, he chose to enlist again this time in a spy battalion.

All told he was in the service for about eighty days was paid $125. and saw no fighting. Going home after the service, he started campaigning for the legislature in earnest. He would go out, talk and work along side the voters. His first major speech was improving the navigation on the Sangamon River. He lost the election running eighth among thirteen candidates. On August 4, 1834, at the age of 24 he is elected to the Illinois General Assembly runing as a member of the Whig party. He now begins to study the law. 1836 Lincoln is reelected to the General Assembly and was by then a leader of the Whig party.

He suffered a bout of severe depression leading historians to this date thinking he suffered from Manic Depression. He helped move the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. In 1838 he is reelected to the General Assembly and becomes Whig Floor Leader. Lincoln finally feels he has enough schooling and takes the bar exam, much to his surprise he passes. He enrolls for the Clerk of the Supreme Court, (this must be a formality) within two days after Lincoln receives his law license he participated in his first case in Springfield.

Docketed as Hawthorne v. Wooldridge. As a lawyer Lincoln traveled through several counties in central and eastern Illinois on the 8th Judicial Circuit. Lincoln argued several cases in court and won a major murder case of Henry Truett. He even argued a case before the Illinois Supreme Court. Lincoln became engaged in the fall of 1840 to Mary Todd. He broke off the engagement six months later. He suffers another bout of depression. He resumed the courtship and married her November 4, 1842. Their first son Robert Todd was born.

Mary and Abraham bought a home in Springfield. A second son Edward Baker was born 1846. Lincoln was nominated for the U. S. Congress and elected to the house of Representatives. He moves the family to Washington D. C. into a boarding house. Lincoln left politics to practice law moving back to Springfield in 1849. He resumes his travels in the 8th Judicial Circuit covering over 400 miles in 14 counties. He gains a reputation as an outstanding lawyer. He does not re-enter politics until 1854 opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

He is elected to the legislature but declines the seat to try for U. S. Senator. After his defeat for Senator, he helps organize the new Republican Party he gained national attention at the convention receiving enough votes to gain him the vice-presidential nomination for the presidential candidate John C. Fremont. Lincoln was again nominated under the Republican Party for senator from Illinois opposing the Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas, whom he has earlier been in the State Legislature with. He had several debates with Douglas he lost the election by eight votes.

In may of 1860 Lincoln was nominated to be the Republican candidate for President, ran against Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas and Democrat, John C. Breckinridge. He was elected our 16th president November 6, 1860, the first Republican receiving 180 of the 303 possible electoral votes. One month later South Carolina suceded from the Union followed by Misissippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. He starts his presidency March 4, 1861 under these conditions. April 12, 1861 the confederates have opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston. The Civil War Begins.

Viginia sucedes from the Union followed by North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas now the Confederacy has been formed with 11 states. President Lincoln issues a proclamation calling militia and convening Congress April 15, 1861. April 27th a Proclamation of Blocade against southern ports is issued. After the defeat at Bull Run in July, the president realized the war would be long. He appointed George B. McClelland as commander of the Department of the Potomac. They have different opinions on how the war should be conducted. McClelland built up a very well trained army but was slow to use them.

He would later replace mcClelland as commander. Lincoln writes the Proclamatin of Emancipation he was advised to wait until the Union has won a major battle. September 22, 1862, five days after the battle of Antietam he issues the proclamation to go into efect january 1, 1863. Historians have labeled this a major turning point in teh war as it lifted moral of the North. Lincoln was nomiated for his second term of presidency June, 3 1864, he wins the election November 8, 1864 defeating George B. McClelland a Democrat by 212 of 233 electoral votes and 55 percent of the popular vote.

April 14, 1865 Lincoln and his wife Mary along with guest Major Rathbone and Miss Harris are at Fords Theater to see the comedy “Our American Cousin”. A muffled shot is heard. John Wilks Booth hurtled from the President’s box and landed on the stage, breaking his leg. Booth shot the President in the back of the head. The bullet entered the left side and lodged near the right eye. Lincoln slumped toward Mary, after she realized what happened she starts to scream and goes into shock the theater goes into a frantic disorganization.

A doctor from the audience and security move Lincoln accross the street to the boarding house of William Peterson. Other doctors are summoned they can only make him comfortable, give him stimulants and remove blood pressure from the brain, there is nothing else that can be done. Lincoln dies at 7:22 a. m. , April 15, 1865. His body lay in state in the White House then he was moved back to Illinois in a sable shrouded funderal car. It followed the same route he had taken to Washington when he was first elected. He became immortal. “Honest Abe”, “The Great Emancipator”. He is made a symbol of freedom.

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