The future President Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on February 12, 1809.
Lincoln, one of America’s most admired presidents, grew up in a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He only attended school for a year, but then read on his own in an ongoing effort to improve his mind. As an adult, he lived in Illinois and worked in a variety of jobs, including postmaster, surveyor, and trader, before entering politics. He served in the Illinois legislature from 1834 to 1842 and in Congress from 1847 to 1849, then became a lawyer. In 1842 Lincoln married Mary Todd; together, the couple raised four sons.
Lincoln returned to politics in the 1850s, a time when the nation’s long-standing division over slavery was exploding, especially in the new territories added to the Union. As leader of the new Republican Party, Lincoln was seen as politically moderate, even on the issue of slavery. He advocated the restriction of slavery to states in which it already existed and described the practice in a letter as a minor problem until 1854. In a senatorial race of 1858, as secessionist sentiment developed among the states from the south, he warned, a house divided against himself can not stand. It did not win the Senate seat, but gained national recognition as a strong political force. Lincoln’s inspiring oratory calmed a population worried about secessionist threats from the southern states and bolstered its popularity.
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As a candidate for the presidential election of 1860, Lincoln attempted to reassure the interests of the slavers that, although he favored abolition, he had no intention of ending the practice in the States where it already existed and gave priority to the rescue of the Union rather than the liberation of slaves. When he won the presidency by about 400,000 popular votes and won the Electoral College, he was in fact given a time bomb. His concessions to slavers did not stop South Carolina from leading other states in an exodus from the Union that began shortly after his election. By February 1, 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas also seceded. Shortly after, the civil war began. As the war progressed, Lincoln moved closer to engaging himself and the nation in the abolitionist movement and, in 1863, finally signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The document freed slaves from Confederate states, but did not address the legality of slavery in Missouri, Kansas, or Arkansas, or what was then the territory of Nebraska.
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Lincoln was the tallest president at 6 ′ 4. As a young man, he impressed others with his sheer physical strength – he was a legendary wrestler in Illinois – and entertained friends and strangers with his dry, folksy wit. , which was still in evidence years later. Exasperated with one Civil War military defeat after another, Lincoln wrote to a lethargic general if you’re not using the military I’d like to borrow him for a while. An animal lover, Lincoln once said, “I don’t care about the religion of a man whose dog and cat are no better for her. Fittingly, a variety of pets have made the Lincoln White House their home, including a pet turkey named Jack and a goat named Nanko. Lincoln’s son Tad frequently hitched Nanko to a small wagon and toured White House grounds.
Lincoln’s sense of humor may have helped him hide recurring bouts of depression. He admitted to his friends and colleagues that he suffered from intense melancholy and hypochondria most of his adult life. Perhaps to deal with it, Lincoln engaged in self-effacing humor, even poking fun at his familiar appearance. When an opponent in a Senate race debate in 1858 called him two-sided, he replied: If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?
Lincoln is remembered as the great emancipator. Although he hesitated on the subject of slavery in the early years of his presidency, his greatest legacy was his work to preserve the Union and his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. For Confederate sympathizers, however, Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation reinforced his image as a hated bully and ultimately led to John Wilkes Booth’s murder on April 14, 1865. His favorite horse, Old Bob, drew his funeral hearse.
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