Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, guided his country through the most devastating experience in its national history--the CIVIL WAR. He is considered by many historians to have been the greatest American president
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, guided his country through the most devastating experience in its national history--the CIVIL WAR. He is considered by many historians to have been the greatest American president.
Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809, in a log cabin in Hardin (now Larue) County, Ky. Indians had killed his grandfather, Lincoln wrote, "when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest" in 1786; this tragedy left his father, Thomas Lincoln, "a wandering laboring boy" who "grew up, literally without education." Thomas, nevertheless, became a skilled carpenter and purchased three farms in Kentucky before the Lincolns left the state.
Little is known about Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
Abraham had an older sister, Sarah, and a younger brother, Thomas, who died in infancy. Lincoln ran unsuccessfully for the Illinois legislature in 1832. Two years later he was elected to the lower house for the first of four successive terms (until 1841) as a Whig. His membership in the Whig Party was natural. Lincoln's father was a Whig, and the party's ambitious program of national economic development was the perfect solution to the problems Lincoln had seen in his rural, hardscrabble Indiana past. His first platform (1832) announced that "Time and experience . . . verified . . . that the poorest and most thinly populated countries would be greatly benefitted by the opening of good roads, and in the clearing of navigable streams. . . . There cannot justly be any objection to having rail roads and canals."
Lincoln vied for the U.S. Senate in 1855 but eventually threw his support to Lyman Trumbull. In 1856 he joined the newly formed Republican Party, and two years later he campaigned for the Senate against Douglas. In his speech at Springfield in acceptance of the Republican senatorial nomination (June 16, 1858) Lincoln suggested that Douglas,
Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, and Democratic presidents Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan had conspired to nationalize slavery.
In the same speech he expressed the view that the nation would become either all slave or all free: "A house divided against itself cannot stand."
The Constitution protected slavery in peace, but in war, Lincoln came to believe, the commander in chief could abolish slavery as a military necessity. The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of Sept. 22, 1862, bore this military justification, as did all of Lincoln's racial measures, including especially his decision in the final proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863, to accept blacks in the army.
By 1864, Democrats and Republicans differed clearly in their platforms on the race issue: Lincoln's endorsed the 13TH Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery, whereas McClellan's pledged to return to the South the rights it had had in 1860.
Abraham Lincoln - ( 1809 - 1865 )
Term of Office: 1861-1865
Admin. Policy: To Preserve the Union
Famous Quote: "I . . . consider . . . the Union is unbroken. . . I shall take care . . . that laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all States."
Political Affiliation: Republican
Achievement: Preserved the Union
Chronology of Abraham Lincoln
1860 - Lincoln Elected
1860 - South Carolina Secedes
1861 - Confederacy Formed
1861 - Fort Sumpter Attacked
1862 - Battle at Antietam
1863 - Emancipation Proclamation
1863 - Gettysburg
1864 - Homestead Act
1865 - Wade Davis Bill
1865 - Lee Surrenders
1865 - Lincoln Assassinated