Compare & Contrast: Lincoln and Jfk

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Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. Much of his childhood was a struggle; his mother dying when he was just ten years old, and with his father being a frontiersman, money was scarce. He had to strive for a comfortable living, and he spent his days working on a farm and keeping a store. Education was also something of limited resources, but because of his hunger for knowledge, he was able to read, write, and cipher.

Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846 where he played part of the Illinois legislature for eight years, and for many years he also rode the circuit of courts. "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest," stated one of his law partners. He ran for the position of senator in 1858, his competitor being Stephen A. Douglas. Though he lost the election, his debates against Douglas gave him national recognition. In one debate he expressed his opinion that the nation would either be all slavery or all free, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." In 1860, Lincoln ran for president against Northern Democrat Douglas, Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell. He defeated the three, declaring him the sixteenth president of the United States of America. Lincoln was a Republican who was directly concerned with Civil Rights. He was not an abolitionist, but was determined to prevent slavery from spreading to states in which it previously didn't exist. He built a strong national party out of the Republicans and brought many northern democrats to the Union. However, South Carolina was particularly against Lincoln as a leader, and because he was elected and because of their stubborn pride, they seceded from the Union. Following their secession was Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Louisiana; this all being before his inaugural address. In act against this, Lincoln sent provisions to Fort Sumter, which was conspicuously located in South Carolina. Then, on April 12, 1861, South Carolina attacked the fort, and so began the Civil War. Lincoln served as commander in chief in the war and was notable for his vigorous measures. The war required massive amounts of men, so for military purposes, Lincoln decided to abolish slavery. To take this stand, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which liberated all slaves within the Confederacy. On November 19, 1863 while dedicating a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Lincoln stated, "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." However, he felt he needed to invest more time in strategizing against his presidential rival, George B. McClellan. To accomplish this, he assumed a less direct role in military planning. To replace his spot, he desired a general who would fight, despite his politics. This ideal general was found in a man named Ulysses S. Grant, who took overall control in 1864. Lincoln was then re-elected to office on March 4,1865. His second election symbolized the end of war. In his second inaugural address, he stated, "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds."

Lincoln and his family went to the Ford Theatre to see the play Our American Cousin on April 14, 1865. During the play, a southerner named John Wilkes Booth entered the state box, and shot Lincoln in the back of the head. He passed away the next day at 7:22 a.m., marking him the first president to be assassinated. Booth was murdered before ever going to trial. Abraham Lincoln was succeeded by the southerner, Andrew Johnson.

John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He lived a very privileged...
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