Table of Contents
Page 3 – Introduction
Page 4 – Early Life
Page 5 – Law Career
Page 6 – Entering Politics
Page 7 – Elected President
Page 8 – Emancipation Proclamation - Civil War
Page 9 – Reconstruction - Assassination
Page 10 – Conclusion
Page 11 – Bibliography
Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest heroes and one of its sharpest political minds. Born into frontier obscurity and raised in a log cabin, Lincoln rose quickly in society from a backwoods rail-splitter to a militia captain in the Blackhawk War. Later, his law career led him into politics and he entered the public spotlight in a U.S. Senate race that centered on the future of slavery in America. Lincoln went on to become the first Republican president and his election led to Southern secession and the Civil War. A shrewd politician, Lincoln managed to lead the North to victory and laid the foundation for the abolition of slavery, but he would not live to see his country reunited. He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater just days after the end of the war.
4 Early Life
Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. When young Abraham was 9 years old his mother died of Tremetol (milk sickness) at age 34 and the event was devastating on him. Abraham then grew less fond of his father after his mother died and immediately turned to house labor work to avoid him. A few months after Nancy’s death, Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston, a Kentucky widow with three children of her own and an affectionate woman with whom Abraham quickly bonded. Lincoln had only 18 months of formal school, but he was self-educated and an avid learner. Lincoln was not only a keen reader and excellent writer. Sarah encouraged Abraham to read. Neighbors recalled how Abraham would walk for miles to borrow a book. He read the family Bible and probably other popular books at that time such as Pilgrims Progress and Aesop’s Fables.
5 Law Career
In March, 1830, the family again migrated, this time to Macon County, Illinois. When his father moved the family again to Coles County, 22-year-old Abraham Lincoln struck out on this own, making a living in manual labor. At six feet four inches tall, Lincoln was rawboned and lanky, but muscular and physically strong. He was known for his skill in wielding an ax and early on made a living splitting wood for fire and rail fencing. Young Lincoln eventually migrated to the small community of New Salem, Illinois where over a period of years he worked as a shopkeeper, postmaster, and eventually general store owner. It was here that Lincoln, working with the public, acquired social skills and enhanced story-telling talent that made him popular with the locals. When the Black Hawk War broke out in 1832 the volunteers in the area elected Lincoln to be their captain, but was unable to make several important political connections. After the Black Hawk War, Abraham Lincoln began his political career and was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. This political understanding led him to formulate his early views on slavery, not so much as a moral wrong, but as an impediment to economic development. It was around this time he decided to become a lawyer, teaching him the law by reading Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. In 1844, Abraham Lincoln partnered with William Herndon to...