Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States of America, serving from March 1861 until his death in the year April 1865.
Abraham Lincoln was born in February 12, 1809, in a log cabin in Kentucky, to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. The family moved to Indiana and 8 year old Abraham helped his father build another log house. When young Abraham was nine years old, his mother died at 34 and the event was devastating on him. The nine-year-old Abraham grew more alienated from his father and quietly resented the hard work placed on him at such an early age. Abraham got blessed with his second mother Sarah Bush. Though both his parents were most likely illiterate, Sarah encouraged Abraham to read. Lincoln had less than a year of schooling. Books were scarce and so was paper. He worked his arithmetic problems on a board and cleaned the board with a knife so he could use it again.
The family owned a Bible and he spent many hours reading it. He would copy parts of it in order to memorize it. Sometimes he would walk for miles to borrow a book. One of his favorite books was "The Life of George Washington". By the time he was 17, he knew he wanted to be a lawyer. He would walk 17 miles to the county courthouse in order to watch the lawyers work. He sat in the back of the courtroom and watched them as they shook their fists and became red in the face. Then he would go home and think about what he had seen. When he was 21 years old he moved to Illinois and spent a year laboring on a farm. It is said that he and his fellow-laborer split 3,000 rails in that year 1830. He also managed a flat-boat on the Ohio River.
Every time he got a new job he would try to work on a skill which would help him when he became a lawyer.
1) When he was a shopkeeper he tried to be honest and fair. Once he shortchanged a woman by 6 cents, and he followed her home so he could give the money back to her.
2) When he was a postmaster, he tried to learn how to get along with people well.
3) When he was a surveyor; a person who measured land, he tried to always be accurate in his measurements. It was here that Lincoln, working with the public, acquired social skills and honed story-telling talent that made him popular with the locals.
He still wanted to be a lawyer. He would go without sleep in order to study. He would borrow books from a neighbor in the evening, read them by the light of the fireplace, and take them back in the morning. After years of hard work & dedication he passed the test and became a lawyer in 1836.
After the Black Hawk War, Abraham Lincoln began his political career and was 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 development. After being admitted to the bar in 1837, he moved to Springfield, Illinois and began to practice in the John T. Stuart law firm as a lawyer.
An infuriated officer once approached Lincoln. Using abusive language he was giving vent to his anger, when Lincoln stopped him mid – sentence saying, “Instead of telling me about your grievances, why don’t you write a strong letter to that person? Here take this paper.” The officer did as instructed and put it all on paper. Feeling relaxed for having given vent to his anger, he then handed over the letter to Lincoln asking him to go through it. After reading the letter Lincoln praised him, “I would never be able to write such a letter.” Feeling elated for the compliment he then awaited further action. When Lincoln didn’t say anything he asked, “Now what?” With a grin, Lincoln exclaimed, “Now what….nothing!” Unable to grasp the situation the officer could only gape blankly at Lincoln. Just then Lincoln stated, “Go, throw the letter in a gas stove. I do the same thing when I am annoyed or upset. This helps me vent to my anger and cool down things.
Abraham Lincoln served a single term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847-1849. His foray into national politics seems to be as unremarkable as it was brief. He was the lone Whig from the state of Illinois, showing party loyalty, but finding few political allies.
He was inaugurated president in March of 1861. Five weeks later the Civil War began. It was a fight about slavery. Lincoln wanted the United States to remain one nation. It was in danger of being divided into two nations; the North and the South.
Two years later, President Lincoln wrote: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.
He quoted from the Bible, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." He was able to realize both of his goals. In 1863 he issued the Emancipation, Proclamation freeing the slaves in the Southern states, and the country was able to remain a united nation. Eventually all the slaves in the United States became free.
Abraham Lincoln is one of America’s greatest heroes because of his unique appeal. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land; then, a sudden and tragic death at a time when his country needed him most to complete the great task remaining before the nation. His distinctively human and humane personality and historical role as savior of the Union and emancipator of the slaves creates a legacy that endures.
"I walk slowly, but I never walk backward." – Abraham Lincoln