Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address

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Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address

History remembers Abraham Lincoln as one of the greatest leaders. He has made many significant contributions to the history of the United States and is considered one of the greatest presidents. He sacrificed himself for what he believed in, even if it meant starting a war against his own country. He believed in equality for everyone and that all men were created equal. As president he is best remembered for leading the Union through the Civil War and freeing Confederate slaves with the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and for delivering the Gettysburg Address, the most famous oration in American history, on 19 November 1863. But out of all of them, his greatest contribution was the Gettysburg address. It is one of the most famous and most quoted speeches in United States history. In only about two minutes, he gave his speech and most of the people there didn’t even notice he had spoken, but nobody knew that those two minutes would have such a powerful impact on history. As time has passed - it has come to be known as probably the most effective, straight from the heart, eulogy ever delivered. Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Hardin County , Kentucky in 1809, to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, who were uneducated farmers. Most of the day was spent hunting, farming, fishing, and doing chores. After becoming impoverished and losing their home, the family lost their farm and moved to Spencer County, Indiana to make a new start. At the age of eight, Abraham already was chopping wood for the home. When he was only 9 years old, his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died of milk sickness. The next year his father, remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston, whom he became close to, but became distant from his father as he grew older. His father put very little emphasis on schooling and he only received 18 months of formal education but his stepmother encouraged his quest for knowledge. He was self-educated and got most of his knowledge from books. In 1842 he married Mary Todd, a daughter of a slave-owning family in Kentucky , and they moved to a house in Springfield Illinois . Together they had four sons, but only one of them, Robert, made it to adulthood; the rest of them died during their childhood or adolescent years. His wife Mary suffered from a long history of mental illness and instability. His political career began at the age of 23, when he ran an unsuccessful campaign as member of the Whig Party. Later he served as a captain in a company of an Illinois militia during the Blackhawk war. His attempts at getting into politics finally paid off when he won an election to the state legislature in 1834. Soon after, he taught himself law and opened a law office with John T. Stuart. In 1860, he ran as a Republican candidate for presidency and was elected as the 16th president. As a member of the Republican party, Lincoln was against slavery and campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond the Southern states. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the freedom of all slaves in any of the Confederate States, and specified the ten states which would be free states . One month after his inauguration, the Union of the Northern States were attacked by the Confederates. This would mark the beginning of the Civil War, a battle to protect the union and free the Southern Slaves. But not everyone was happy with Lincoln ’s presidency. John Wilkes Booth, a popular actor and a Confederate, blamed Lincoln for the war and all of the South’s troubles. At first he plotted to kidnap Lincoln in exchange for the release of the Confederate Army prisoners. But after he heard Lincoln ’s speech in which he promoted voting rights for blacks, he decided to assassinate him instead. On April 14, 1865, while Lincoln attended a play Our American Cousin, Booth crept up to his balcony, shot a bullet to his head and killed him. Even though his...
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