Abraham Lincoln Life
After slavery had started, there were people on both sides; supporting slavery and against slavery. The people in the South wanted slaves because their economy was agriculture, and all of the hard work could be handled by slaves. Meanwhile, the people in the North recognized that slavery was not necessary to make a living, and their opinion was that slavery was wrong. Each side supported their side with strong opinions, causing America to split into two sides. Abraham Lincoln, a person who realized that slavery was wrong, decided to take action to end it. Lincoln decided to express his views on slavery during his acceptance speech. He said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free’ (O’Brien). This man is known as a famous president in the past that changed the United States forever by having a strong opinion on anti-slavery and being the president during the Civil War. But there is more he had to deal with than that. He had such strong opinions, even in his childhood, and he started to build upon it as he got older and older. And it wasn’t easy for him at all; he didn’t just sit there and relax as the Civil War unfolded in front of him, and it wasn’t easy for him to manage everything. And it wasn’t always the Civil War that was on top of his agenda; he had so many other things to deal with, including personal problems. Much of the research on Abraham Lincoln focuses on his childhood and what caused him to do many great things in the future, his presidency and all of the hard things he faced, what he did after his presidency, and how he is remembered for his great acts today.
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The Childhood of Abraham Lincoln On February 12, 1809, Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky. A couple of years after he was born, his father decided to move and Abraham Lincoln helped them to move. Since his parents were farmers and didn’t have much success in their old home, they decided to move to the Indiana Territory, where it would be much easier to farm with better land, for cheap. They also moved because Kentucky was a huge slavery state, and they were anti-slavery and wanted to move to an anti-slavery state. Lincoln helped his parents on the farm because his dad needed help with all of the hard work (Waugh). Abraham Lincoln did a lot of work during his childhood, and some jobs that he did weren’t jobs that normal children do or should be doing because it is hard work, like chopping wood, plowing fields, and other hard jobs. But he had to work in order to help his family to survive (Stone 12).
Abraham’s father, Thomas, was a farmer and carpenter. He was a hardworking man. He also was a favorite among people because he was an open man and funny. His mother, however, was a silent woman, and she grew sad as her second son, Thomas, died. Both Thomas and Nancy were anti-slavery, doing everything they could to protest against it. Their old church which was led by a minister who wasn’t anti-slavery, and they decided to go to one which was led by an anti-slavery minister.
Lincoln also had a sister named Sarah, and together, they received their education through the Bible, which their mother taught them. They also went to school whenever they had completed their work for the day; Abraham, his farm work, and Sarah, the cooking and cleaning of the house. His mother encouraged his education (Stone 9-10). Because Abraham Lincoln loved to read and receive an education, his father disapproved how he chose education over farming, and Lincoln and his father weren’t as close as Abraham Lincoln and his mother (Stone 17).
Sadly, his mom, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died in 1818, and 9-year-old Abraham Lincoln was obviously devastated. As his children were left motherless, his father decided to remarry. He remarried Sarah Bush Johnston, and she and her three children joined Abraham Lincoln, his father, and his sister Sarah. He immediately felt comfortable with his new mother, who kept encouraging him to study like his old mother, unlike his father. He actually went to school for a couple of months again, encouraged by his stepmother, but it was only for few months.
So he received his education through books that he had borrowed from people who had them (Waugh). He mostly studied reading books that he had got after he couldn’t go to school and loved reading them and learning about the things that he read (O’Brien). Then Lincoln started to grow up, becoming independent and deciding how to live his own life without depending on his family. “Calculating and ambitious, Lincoln earned money in a variety of working-class jobs, including taking a flatboat loaded with produce down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to sell in the market at New Orleans… In 1830 the 21-year-old Lincoln moved with his family to central Illinois. Anxious to be on his own, he set out for New Salem, Illinois, a small commercial river town… boarding with various families and working as a clerk in a store, a partner in a general store…, and a postmaster,… In New Salem, Lincoln continued his program of self-education, studying mathematics and literature (he especially loved Shakespeare) with the local schoolmaster” (Waugh). He never seemed to get enough of an education.
When he was 19, Abraham Lincoln moved out after his sister died giving birth. He returned to help his father move to Illinois, but he, his cousin, and stepbrother decided to help a man named Denton Offutt take a load of goods to New Orleans because he wanted to start a new business (Stone 20). When Denton Offutt opened his store, Abraham Lincoln moved there because Denton Offutt offered him a job. He continued with his education there at school (Stone 19-22). Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency during the Civil War Abraham Lincoln’s career in politics began on March 1832. “Abraham joined the Whig Party and began to campaign. His main goals were improving the river to increase traffic and gaining a positive reputation as a politician” (Stone 26-17). He lost that time because when the Black Hawk War broke out, he went to volunteer, coming back too late to convince the right amount of people to vote for him in order to win (Stone 26-27).
“In 1834, Lincoln won the first of his four two-year terms to the Illinois state assembly. As a state legislator, he generally supported internal improvements and the development of the nation’s resources and was soon the leader of the Whig minority. In addition to his work in the assembly, Lincoln began to study law” (O’Brien). He studied hard and well, learning as much as he can to help him in the future with his dreams of having a political career. “On March 1, 1837, the self-taught Lincoln was officially licensed to practice law. Stuart hired him as a junior partner in his law firm. This job included being a traveling lawyer for his district, or ‘riding the circuit’ on horseback. Lincoln loved his work, and traveling the circuit gave him exposure to voters in the Springfield area” (Stone 27). During the middle of all of that, Lincoln still found time for love. He fell in love with a woman but was confused with his feelings. But, “On the night of November 4, 1842, rain fell against the windowpanes. But inside the Edwards house, Abraham and Mary were married by the light of beautiful oil lamps and a cozy fire” (Stone 37).
Again he started politics again and in 1846, Lincoln won the Whig nomination again and fought hard against anti-slavery. The next year, he didn’t run for reelection. He instead chose to campaign for Zachary Taylor, hoping that Taylor would recognize his hard works for him and give him an important role if he got elected. But when Taylor won, he didn’t give Lincoln any role, and Lincoln was very disappointed and felt that all of his work for Taylor was not useful and not appreciated. He joined politics again during the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Whigs supporting him in everything. After the Whigs split, Lincoln joined the Republican party. Meanwhile, Douglas was running for Senator, so the Whigs decided to nominate Abraham Lincoln to run against him, saying that he would be the perfect match for Douglas, but Douglas won (Wilson). But in 1856, he decided he wanted to go back to politics and started campaigning when the Illinois Republican Party choose him. He started running for Senate against the opponent, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas (O’Brien).
“To fight for what he held true, Lincoln decided to run for the Senate. In part because of the splintering of the parties, he lost his first time out, in 1855. But he won the Republican Party nomination in 1858” (Stone 52). Although Lincoln was running against a person who he strongly disagreed with, he was still respectful and told people that Douglas was a hard man to beat and that he still respects him no matter what (Stone 55). In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was finally elected president. He had told everyone that he wouldn’t try to do anything with slavery in the South. However, a little time after he became president, the Confederate States of America formed with seven slave states, and soon the Civil War began. “The following morning, Lincoln got word that Fort Sumter, in South Carolina, was surrounded by the Confederacy and running out of supplies. William Seward, the secretary of state, advised Lincoln to abandon the fort, but he would not…But upon hearing the news from the governor, Jefferson Davis demanded surrender of Fort Sumter. In command of the fort, Major Robert Anderson refused. Confederate forces opened fire on April 12 at 4:30 AM. The Civil War had begun” (Stone 67).
After trying to take hold of military operations and failing to do all of his jobs, he began to elect generals, like Ulysses S. Grant (O’Brien). “Thus, as late as August, he still spoke of preserving the Union as the only goal. Then, on September 22, 1862, after interpreting the bloody Battle of Antietam as a victory, Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. (He signed the final version on January 1, 1863.) He described the proclamation as ‘an act of justice as well as a fit and necessary war measure. . . . ‘ The Emancipation Proclamation freed only the slaves in the Southern states that had seceded from the Union, leaving the system intact in those states that fought with the Union” (O’Brien). He had many problems down the line, some of them personal. Lincoln had several problems during the war.
His wife often wanted to spend time with him when Lincoln didn’t really have time, and some of his sons were falling sick and even dying. There were many critics out there, criticizing Lincoln’s moves and saying he wasn’t making the right choices. He also had some people who didn’t do their jobs, and people who quit when he depended on them the most (Wilson). However, “As Lincoln gained more experience as commander-in-chief, his comfort level with making war decisions rose…he had turned to his advisors for guidance…But he trusted his instincts even then, and by late 1862, he realized he must look to himself for the answers…he started reading up on military strategy to educate himself” (Stone 73). Abraham Lincoln’s Life during the End of Presidency Lincoln went through a lot during the Civil War. He had his failures, and he had his successes. There were many lives lost, and it always hurt Lincoln to see how many lives were lost, on both sides. But finally, it appeared that the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, and the Civil War was coming to an end.
“After Grant defeated the Confederates at Vicksburg and Chattanooga, it was becoming clear that the South would be slowly ground down. Still, Lincoln had to fear defeat at the hands of the Democrats who had regained control of Congress in 1862 and were now promoting former General George B. McClellan for president. Lincoln was so concerned about the Democratic threat that he made changes in his cabinet and replaced his vice presidential running mate with Andrew Johnson, a southerner and the only senator from a seceding state who did not abandon the Union. Only because Grant was able to deliver still more victories in the fall of 1864 was Lincoln reelected” (Wilson). He had got re-elected, and now he could continue to lead the war in his way, instead of allowing someone coming between it and ruining it. He put all of his efforts into the war to show the people that they have re-elected a good president and tried to end the war as soon as possible by making them fight as hard as possible to push the South closer to surrender. He also tried to help as much as possible.
“Lincoln also displayed a keen interest in the newest military technology and was usually on hand to witness the testing of new rapid-fire carbines, rockets, and artillery that took place in the Washington, D.C., area. His approval … demonstrated his farsightedness. Innovations … were hallmarks of his tenure. Lincoln’s willingness to accept new technologies, for whatever advantage they conferred over the Confederacy, helped spur the American military establishment toward modernity and technical proficiency” (Waugh).
Finally, one victorious day, the South decided that it was too much war, and decided to surrender. “By April 7, Union troops led by Sheridan had blocked Lee’s retreat near Appomattox, Virginia. Grant sent word to Lee, asking for his surrender” (Stone 109). “On the evening of April 9, Secretary of War Stanton delivered the victorious telegram. Lee had surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Court House. The war was all but over” (Stone 110). On the day they surrendered, the people of the North were very happy, for the war was over. Many people were rejoicing; playing music, waving flags, and congratulating everyone for their success. Lincoln gave a speech, remembering how many lives were lost in the war, on both sides. He remained calm throughout the speech (Stone 110).
After a couple of days after the Civil War, Lincoln decided to spend a few days to himself and his wife. He and his wife went to a theater to watch a play which was going on there, and Lincoln was having a good time with his wife and laughing. But suddenly, that day took a dark turn. “On the evening of April 14, 1865, Lincoln was fatally shot by the actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth as he watched a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.” (O’Brien). John Wilkes Booth went into the private booth where Lincoln was enjoying the play, and shot him, then running off before people thought to grab him among the confusion (Stone). He died the next day, and the people of America were devastated at the loss of a great president that changed America (Wilson).
How Abraham Lincoln is Remembered Today Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States, and he would always be remembered for all of the great things he has done to make America better for the people. Although the war was over, people were still at loss. Lincoln had died, and many had lost someone dear to them at the war. But Lincoln was remembered for all the great things he had done to make the nation better for everyone. “From the time of his death, Lincoln has been the subject of numerous paintings, books, poems, plays, and, later, movies, documentaries, and websites. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is one of the most visited monuments in the country.
Indeed, more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other historical figure, except Jesus of Nazareth. He stands as a national and international symbol for freedom and democracy” (Waugh). On May 30, 1922, a Memorial Day was dedicated for Lincoln, and on October 31, 1941, Abraham Lincoln’s face on Mount Rushmore was completed (Stone). “The Lincoln Tomb in Springfield, Illinois, is where Abraham Lincoln still rests today, along with his wife Mary and three of their sons – Thomas (called Tad); William (Willie); and Edward (Eddie). A tall obelisk, bronze statues, plaques, and flags also make up this memorial to Abraham Lincoln. Another major memorial – the Lincoln Memorial – is in Washington, D.C. ” (Stone 6).
There are many ways that Lincoln is remembered, but people feel like there will never be enough to remember him properly for everything he has done. “Lincoln’s assassination in Washington, D.C., on Good Friday (April 15) in 1865 made him a martyr and symbolic figure of forgiveness in the public eye. Having suffered immense psychological agony during a struggle in which he sent thousands of young men off to die, he demonstrated his faith in the national cause by laying down his own life at its end. Lincoln had destroyed slavery, preserved the Union, and embodied the nation’s wartime sacrifice” (Shattuck). Conclusion Abraham Lincoln’s importance is often underestimated. But people don’t realize that he has done so much for the country.
Not has he only changed the world for people of color, but he also taught a major lesson to all people on equality. As look back in history, they realize what a huge difference that Abraham Lincoln has made into the world. He has sacrificed much of his time and happiness focusing on the nation, and doing whatever he thought was best to lead them. “Lincoln’s assassination in Washington, D.C., on Good Friday (April 15) in 1865 made him a martyr and symbolic figure of forgiveness in the public eye
Having suffered immense psychological agony during a struggle in which he sent thousands of young men off to die, he demonstrated his faith in the national cause by laying down his own life at its end. Lincoln had destroyed slavery, preserved the Union, and embodied the nation’s wartime sacrifice.” (Shattuck). Overall, Lincoln will always be making a major step at making the world better; for uniting the world and making everyone realize that all men and women are equal, and everyone can work together at making the world a better place.