Born in Kentucky on February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest heroes in America. He had an incredible impact on the nation and his honesty and resolve has never been seen in politics since.
Lincoln taught himself to read and write and he learned to work hard at a young age. He moved to Coles County, Illinois where Lincoln set out on his own. Lincoln was six feet four inches and physically strong. He migrated to New Salem, Illinois where he was a shopkeeper, postmaster, and general store owner. He was adept at telling stories which made him highly popular.
Lincoln gained good political contacts during the Black Hawk War and after the war Lincoln began his political career. He was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. This political part rounded out Lincoln's aversion to slavery. He began to teach himself law, passed the bar in 1937 and moved to Springfield, Illinois.
He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1846 to 1849 and then returned to Springfield to practice law. Lincoln represented the railroad as a lobbyist and other clients included banks, manufacturing firms and insurance companies.
Lincoln married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842 and they had four children. Only one, Robert survived to be an adult. In 1854 Lincoln joined the Republican Party and he gave wonderful debates on states' rights issues to western expansion plus slavery. He was supported for the presidency in 1960 and ran against William Seward of New York. He won the primary and ran for president against Stephan Douglas.
Lincoln's cabinet was strong and included many of his enemies including William Seward. Before Lincoln's inauguration in 1861, Civil War would break out. He used his presidential power to distribute money from the Treasury for war materials and called volunteers into military service without Congressional approval. The Union forces were defeated in most of its battles during the first 18 months of the war. With the Union victory at Antietam in 1862, Lincoln felt compelled to issue the Emancipation Proclamation to free all slaves.
Lincoln won a second term as president and saw Civil War end on April 9, 1865. Reconstruction began in areas under Union military control and Lincoln favored quick reunification with little retribution. Battles were beginning to ensue in Congress over reconstruction, but before they could go far Lincoln was assassinated by a Confederate sympathizer on April 14, 1865.