Abraham Lincoln Rough Draft
Without question, Abraham Lincoln is one of the most celebrated figures in American history. Like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson before him, Lincoln is almost universally thought of today as a man of rare ability and character who shaped the United States in his image, to the lasting benefit of all Americans who followed in his consequences. Being the sixteenth president, Lincoln ascended to office during a time of uproar, turmoil, and disorder. With the secession of many southern states, the duty to preserve the Union fell to Lincoln. During Lincoln's presidency he found himself engaged in the Civil War, fighting a battle over the emancipation of southern slaves. His leadership and skills as president have found him an everlasting home among some of America's greatest minds.
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. His mother and father were Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln. Thomas was a migratory carpenter and farmer who was nearly always poverty-stricken. “He was also a religious Baptist and was outspoken in his beliefs against slavery. While this humanistic anti-slavery attitude influenced Abraham from birth, he did not share in his father's religious beliefs. It is believed that a combination of Thomas's refusal to support slavery and in increasing amount of debt led to the family leaving Abraham's birthplace in 1816 (Abraham was 7 years old) to what is now known as Spencer County in Indiana” (Anonymous). This was only one of many different situations Lincoln faced in his life.
By the age of 10, Abraham lost both his mother and younger brother. His mother died of “milk sickness,” a form of poisoning caused by cows ingesting a plant known as white snakeroot, which goes through to their milk, causing some who ingest it to become sick and die from it, and his brother died in infancy. Not long after the death of his wife and young son, Thomas Lincoln married Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow who was a kind and affectionate stepmother to who encouraged him to do the best he could in school and life.
Lincoln’s education consisted of little more than a total of 18 months throughout his early life, mainly due to frequent moving. Despite this, he was an avid reader. Neighbors recalled Lincoln walking for miles to borrow a book. His first glimpse of the wider world came in a voyage downriver to New Orleans on a flatboat in 1828, but little is known of that journey. In 1830 the Lincolns moved once more, this time to Macon County, Illinois. After another visit to New Orleans, Lincoln Decided to stay. At the age of 22, Abe packed his few belongings and moved to New Salem, Illinois where he began working in a store and managing a mill. He was a tall 6 ft 4 in., rawboned young man, who won much popularity among the inhabitants of the frontier town by his great strength and his flair for storytelling, but most of all by his strength of character. His sincerity and capability won respect that was strengthened by his ability to hold his own in the roughest society. It was in New Salem he earned the title of “Honest Abe”. He was chosen captain of a volunteer company gathered for the Black Hawk War in 1832, but the company did not see battle. Upon returning to New Salem, Lincoln became a partner in a grocery store that failed, leaving him with a heavy burden of debt. In order to pay this debt, he became a surveyor for a time, a village postmaster, as well as various odd jobs, including rail splitting. All the while he sought to improve his education and studied law. This education led him to politics. Lincoln began by being elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. He supported the Whig politics of government, sponsored infrastructure and protective tariffs. 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...
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