As a self-made politician from humble origins, Lincoln struggled in his early political life to define his identity. He described his childhood as "The short and simple annals of the poor. That's my life, and that's all you or any one else can make of it" (Oates 4). Lincoln felt extremely embarrassed about his background and worked his entire life to overcome the limitations he faced. He made himself a "literate and professional man who commanded the respect of his colleagues" (Oates 4). It is difficult to assess Lincoln's early views on slavery and race because they were constantly changing in an effort to achieve... [continues]
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