A Biography of Abraham Lincoln

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A Biography of Abraham Lincoln
Education: He was educated formally at a one roomed school.
Family: He married Mary Tod on November 4, 1842 and had 4 kids:
1. Robert Tod Lincoln (August 1, 1843)
2. Edward Baker Lincoln (March 10, 1846)
3. William Wallace Lincoln (December 21, 1850)
4. Thomas Lincoln (April 4, 1853)

Career:Abraham Lincoln was elected to state legislature in the summer of
1834, 1836, 1838, and 1840. In 1842 he left legislature to study law. He was
elected to Congress as Whig on August 3, 1847. On November 6 1860 he was
elected to president. On November 8 1864 he was reelected.
Claim to fame: Abraham was famous because he was president, because he
was assassinated, and because he tried to prohibit slavery.
Impact on life today: He had an impact on life today because there no
longer is slavery.
Impact on people around him: Abe had an impact on people around him
because he was president for eight years straight.
I think Abraham Lincoln is worth recalling in history because he fought
to stop slavery.

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was very
important to the past history of our country. He helped to abolish slavery in
this country and kept the American Union from splitting apart during the Civil
At 22, he moved to New Salem, Illinois. With his gift for swapping
stories and making friends, he became quite popular and was elected to the
Illinois legislature in 1834. In his spare time, he taught himself law and
became a lawyer. In 1847, he was elected to the U.S. Congress, but returned to
his law practice until 1858, when his concern about the spread of slavery
prompted him to return to national politics and run for the U.S. Senate.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

A consummate politician,

Lincoln sought to maintain harmony among the disparate elements of his party by giving them representation in his cabinet. Recognizing former Whigs by the appointment of William H. Seward as secretary of state and Edward Bates as attorney general, he also extended invitations to such former Democrats as Montgomery Blair, who became postmaster general, and Gideon Welles, who became secretary of the navy. He honored local factions by appointing Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania secretary of war and Caleb B. Smith of Indiana secretary of the interior, while satisfying the border states with Bates and Blair. At the same time, he offset the conservative Bates with the radical Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and later with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. Although Lincoln was much closer to the radicals and gradually moved toward ever more radical measures, he did not needlessly offend the conservatives and often collaborated with them. His careful handling of the slavery issue is a case in point, as is his appointment of Democratic generals and his deference to the sensibilities of the border states. In December 1862 he foiled critics demanding the dismissal of the conservative Seward. Refusing to accept Seward’s resignation and inducing the radical Chase to offer to step down as well, he maintained the balance of his cabinet by retaining both secretaries.

Lincoln’s political influence was enhanced by his great gifts as an orator. Able to stress essentials in simple terms, he effectively appealed to the nation in such classical short speeches as the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address. Moreover, he was a capable diplomat. Firmly rejecting Seward’s proposal in April 1861 that the country be united by means of a foreign war, he sought to maintain friendly relations with the nations of Europe, used the Emancipation Proclamation to win friends for the Union, and effectively countered Confederate efforts to gain foreign recognition.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Reelection and Reconstruction

In 1864 a number of disgruntled Republicans sought to prevent Lincoln’s renomination. Adroitly outmaneuvering his opponents, especially the ambitious Chase, he succeeded in obtaining his party’s endorsement at Baltimore, Maryland, even though a few extremists nominated Frémont. Lincoln’s renomination did not end his political problems, however. Unhappy with his Proclamation of Amnesty (December 1863), which called for the restoration of insurgent states if 10 percent of the electorate took an oath of loyalty, Congress in July 1864 passed the Wade-Davis Bill, which provided for more onerous conditions and their acceptance by 50 percent of the voters. When Lincoln used the pocket veto to kill it, some radicals sought to displace him and in the so-called Wade-Davis Manifesto passionately attacked the administration.

The president, nevertheless, prevailed again. His poor prospects in August 1864 improved when the Democrats nominated General McClellan on a peace platform. Subsequent federal victories and the withrawal of Frémont, coupled with the resignation of the conservative Blair, reunited the party, and in November 1864 Lincoln was triumphantly reelected.

The president’s success at the polls enabled him to seek to establish his own Reconstruction policies. To blunt conservative criticism, he met with leading Confederates at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and demonstrated the impossibility of a negotiated peace. The radicals, however, were also dissatisfied. Because of their demand for black suffrage, Lincoln was unable to induce Congress to accept the members-elect of the free state government of Louisiana, which he had organized. In addition, after the fall of Richmond, he alarmed his critics by inviting the Confederate legislature of Virginia to repeal the secession ordinance. His Reconstruction policies, however, had been determined by military necessity. As soon as the Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, Lincoln withdrew the invitation to the Virginians. He again proved how close he was to the radicals by endorsing a limited black franchise.

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

The Assassination

At his second inaugural, Lincoln, attributing the war to the evil consequences of slavery, summed up his attitude in the famous phrase “with malice toward none, with charity for all.” A few weeks later, he publicly announced his support for limited black suffrage in Louisiana. This open defiance of conservative opinion could only have strengthened the resolve of one in his audience, John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor who had long been plotting against the president. Aroused by the prospect of votes for blacks, he determined to carry out his assassination scheme and on April 14, 1865, shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The president died the next day.

The subject of numerous myths, Lincoln ranks with the greatest of American statesmen. His humanitarian instincts, brilliant speeches, and unusual political skill ensured his hold on the electorate and his success in saving the Union. That he also gained fame as the Great Emancipator was due to a large degree to his excellent sense of timing and his open-mindedness. Thus, he was able to bring about the abolition of slavery and to advocate a policy of Reconstruction that envisaged the gradual enfranchisement of the freedmen. It was a disaster for the country that he did not live to carry it out.

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