Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He was known for his opposition of the expansion of slavery. He was born on February 12th, 1809 and died on April 15th, 1865 – while he was still the President. He won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was elected president in 1861.
He was instrumental in preserving the United States as a country by defeating the Confederate States of America – the secessionists. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 – effectively abolishing slavery. He promoted and supported the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865, which abolished and prohibited slavery.
Lincoln’s leadership qualities were seen during the American Civil war. He selected Ulysses S. Grant and other top generals. He put the leaders of various factions of the Republican party into his cabinet – forcing them to cooperate with him. In 1861, he defused a potential war with the United Kingdom. He helped take control of the border slave states between 1861 and 1862, outmaneuvering the Confederacy.
He managed his own landslide reelection in the 1864 presidential election with powerful rhetoric. Abraham Lincoln was known for his messages and speeches. The Gettysburg Address is one of the many speeches that people still remember him by. His assassination in 1865 made him the first martyr for the ideal of national unity in US history. Lincoln is usually ranked as one of the top three US Presidents by academics – most of them placed him as number one.
Abraham Lincoln was born to two uneducated farmers – Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln in a one room log cabin southeast of Hardin County, Kentucky. He was named after his grandfather who was killed by an Indian raid in 1786. Experts still debate that Lincoln might have had Marfan syndrome, which is an autosomal dominant disorder of the connective tissue, giving the person long limbs and great physical stature.
Abraham Lincoln had only 18 months of formal schooling. He educated himself by reading every book he could get his hands on. His favorite book was “The Life of George Washington”. He developed a writing style that was plain compared to the grandiloquent rhetoric at the time.
At the age of 23, Lincoln began is political career. He was unsuccessful in his campaign for the Illinois General Assembly. In 1834, he won election to the state legislature. He read the “Commentaries on the Laws of England” and began to teach himself law. He was admitted to the bar in 1837 and moved to Springfield, Illinois. He began to practice law with John T. Stuart and gained a reputation of a formidable adversary during cross-examinations and his closing arguments. He became one of the most respected and successful lawyers in Illinois and steadily grew more prosperous.
On November 6, 1860, Lincoln won the election and became the 16th President of the United States. He was the first Republican to be elected as president. He was not even on the ballot in the nine states of the South and won only 2 of the 996 counties in the other Southern states. His support mainly came from the North vote.