The 16th President of the USA
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States of America. He was born February 12, 1809, to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, in a small one-room cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. His family moved to Macon County, Illinois, in 1830, where he got a job hauling freight down the Mississippi River into New Orleans. They settled down in the town of New Salem, Illinois, where Lincoln became involved in local politics as a proud supported of the Whig Party. Like the members of the Whig Party, he too opposed the spread of slavery, he had a grand vision of expanding the United States not with agriculture but with great cities. In 1836 he passed the bar examination and became a lawyer. He moved to the state capital, Springfield, the following year. Over the next few years he practiced as a lawyer and earned the name “Honest Abe. His clientele ranged from individual residents to national railroad lines.
In 1840 he met Mary Todd, a wealthy and well sought after socialite. They fell in love and despite her family’s disapproval she agreed to become his wife. Though they called off the wedding shortly after the engagement they found each other again in the fall of 1842 and were married on November 4th, the same year. In 1846, Lincoln won the election and became one of the United States House of Representatives. He was wildly unpopular with Illinois voters due to his stance against the U.S. war with Mexico. In 1854, Lincoln went before a crowd to debate the merits of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, denouncing slavery and calling it a violation of the Declaration of Independence. Lincoln joined the new Republican Party in 1858 and ran for Senate, though unsuccessful, his now-famous “house divided speech made his reputation known nationally.
In 1860, Lincoln gave another inspiring speech which caused the Republicans to choose him as their presidential candidate. In the election Lincoln won most of the North’s votes and he carried the Electoral College, winning him the Presidency. Although his presidency wasn’t going to be an easy one, it was definitely an important one. By the time Lincoln was inaugurated, in March of 1861, seven states had seceded forming the Confederate States of America. In April, the Confederates took fire at both Union ships and Fort Sumter, thus causing the beginning of the Civil War. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all the slaves in the rebellious states but left those loyal to the Union as slaves. Abraham Lincoln considered the Emancipation Proclamation to be one of his greatest achievements. In July of 1863 the victories at Vicksburg, Mississippi and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania turned the tides of the war in the Unions favor.
November 1863, Lincoln delivered what would become his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln ran once again for president in 1864 and though he had a tough opponent he came out victorious. His second inauguration was on March 4, 1865, where he addressed that our nation needed to heal and reconstruct the South. On April 11th, three days after Lee surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia, Lincoln stood outside the White House urging the people to welcome the South back. Unfortunately Lincoln would never see the reconstruction of his country he loved. On the night of April 14th, a man by the name of John Wilkes Booth snuck into the president’s box at the Ford Theatre and shot Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head. He was carried to a boarding house across the street where he died early the next morning. Lincoln’s time in the White House may have been short but it paved the way for so many others. He was just a poor Kentucky boy who taught himself about law, and had a love for politics and his country. He made a big impact on this country and still does even after his death.