Abraham Lincoln Essay 24

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Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin on a 348 acre (1.4 km²) Sinking Spring Farm in the Southeast part of Hardin County, Kentucky, then considered the frontier (now part of LaRue Co., in Nolin Creek, three miles (5 km) south of Hodgenville), to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks. Lincoln was named after his deceased grandfather, who was scalped in 1786 in an Indian raid. He had no middle name. Lincoln's parents were uneducated, illiterate farmers. When Lincoln became famous, reporters and storytellers often exaggerated the poverty and obscurity of his birth. However Lincoln's father Thomas was a respected and relatively affluent citizen of the Kentucky backcountry. He had purchased the Sinking Spring Farm in December 1808 for $200 cash and assumption of a debt. His parents belonged to a Baptist church that had pulled away from a larger church because they refused to support slavery. From a very young age, Lincoln was exposed to anti-slavery sentiment. However he never joined his parents' church, or any other church, and as a youth ridiculed religion. Three years after purchasing the property, a prior land claim filed in Hardin Circuit Court forced the Lincolns to move. Thomas continued legal action until he lost the case in 1815. Legal expenses contributed to family difficulties. In 1811, they were able to lease 30 acres (0.1 km²) of a 230 acre (0.9 km²) farm on Knob Creek a few miles away, where they then moved. In a valley of the Rolling Fork River, this was some of the best farmland in the area. At this time, Lincoln's father was a respected community member and a successful farmer and carpenter. Lincoln's earliest recollections are from this farm. In 1815, another claimant sought to eject the family from the Knob Creek farm. Frustrated with litigation and lack of security provided by Kentucky courts, Thomas decided to move to Indiana, which had been surveyed by the federal government, making land titles more secure. It is possible that these episodes motivated Abraham to later learn surveying and become an attorney. In 1816, when Lincoln was seven years old, he and his parents moved to Spencer County, Indiana, he would state "partly on account of slavery" and partly because of economic difficulties in Kentucky. In 1818 Lincoln's mother died of "milk sickness" at age thirty four, when Abe was nine. Soon afterwards, Lincoln's father remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston. Sarah Lincoln raised young Lincoln like one of her own children. Years later she compared Lincoln to her own son, saying "Both were good boys, but I must say both now being dead that Abe was the best boy I ever saw or ever expect to see." (Lincoln, by David Herbert Donald, 1995)In 1830, after more economic and land-title difficulties in Indiana, the family settled on government land on a site selected by Lincoln's father in Macon County, Illinois. The following winter was especially brutal, and the family nearly moved back to Indiana. When his father relocated the family to a nearby site the following year, the 22-year-old Lincoln struck out on his own, canoeing down the Sangamon to Sangamon County, Illinois (now in Menard County), in the village of New Salem. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers. While in New Orleans, he may have witnessed a slave auction that left an indelible impression on him for the rest of his life. Whether he actually witnessed a slave auction at that time or not, living in a country with a considerable slave presence, he probably saw similar atrocities from time to time.His formal education consisted of perhaps 18 months of schooling from itinerant teachers. In effect he was self-educated, studying every book he could borrow. He mastered the Bible, Shakespeare, English history and American history, and developed a plain style that puzzled audiences...
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