Abraham Lincoln is recognized by many Americans as one of the greatest presidents in our nation’s history. His unwavering courage and integrity through the Civil War that eventually led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of slavery will forever be regarded as one of America’s greatest triumphs. It was his bravery in the face of relentless adversity that truly defined his character and ultimately led to a free nation. The man who would become the sixteenth president of the United States was born to a modest family in a small, single room farmhouse in Hardin County, Kentucky; the second child to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. “At age nine he lost his mother to milk sickness and the family relocated to Coles County, Illinois.”(Thomas 11) At twenty-two, Lincoln set out on his own canoeing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem where he took work transporting goods by flatboat to New Orleans. “Upon his arrival he witnessed slavery first hand which prompted him to walk back to Illinois.”(Thomas 25) The sight of slavery sparked his political involvement, and ultimately his campaign for the presidency. “In 1832 at the young age of twenty-three, Lincoln began his political career with his first campaign at the Illinois General Assembly.”(Anastaplo 14) In 1834 he was elected to the state legislature, though he ran as a Whig, many democrats favored him over a more powerful Whig opponent. In 1846 Lincoln was elected to the U.S House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term. In 1847 Lincoln returned to practicing law in Springfield, handling numerous transportation cases while the nation was in the midst of western expansion. By the 1850s, slavery was still legal in the southern United States, but had been generally outlawed in the northern states, such as Illinois. Lincoln disapproved of slavery, and the spread of slavery to new territory in the west. “He returned to politics to oppose the pro-slavery Kansas–Nebraska Act;...
Cited: Anastaplo, George. Abraham Lincoln: A constitutional biography. Rowman & Littlefield Pub Incorporated, 1999.
Thomas, Benjamin P. Abraham Lincoln: a biography. Southern Illinois University Press, 2008.
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