Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. He was born in a one room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. He had one older sister who died while giving birth, a younger brother named Thomas who died in infancy, and a mother who died of milk sickness when he was only nine. His family was poor, but respected. They had been members of the Separate Baptist Church and even though Lincoln never officially joined, the lessons he learned there shaped his views on honesty and slavery. After his mother died, his father remarried and although he grew distant from his father, he became very close to his new stepmother Sarah. He despised the toil that frontier life offered, however, he did his part. He became a skilled axmen while building rail fences at his job. It was customary in that time to relinquish all income to the father of the house until the age of 21, and that is exactly what he did.
Fearing an outbreak of milk sickness, in 1830 Thomas moved the family to Illinois. At 22, Lincoln being self educated struck out on his own and acquired a job from Denton Offutt. He and others transported goods by boat from New Salem to New Orleans. After arriving in New Orleans and seeing slavery first hand, he walked home.
In 1832 Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War, and that same year he ran for the Illinois legislature. He was defeated. In 1834, he ran for a seat in the lower house and there he served four consecutive terms as a Whig. While in office he supported a couple of banks. He also supported improvements for roads, canals, railroad, and harbors, and protective tariffs. By 1837, he made his constituents aware of his standpoint on the issue of slavery. In 1836, Lincoln became a lawyer and set up a successful practice with John Todd Stuart. Shortly after that he turned his attention to his personal life.
After the death of his first love, and his failed relationship with his second, Lincoln met and married Mary Todd on November 4th,1840. During their marriage, they had four sons, two of which died while Lincoln was alive. This tremendous loss along with his hard life and deep seated hatred of slavery is probably what was responsible for his notorious clinical depression. The fourth son died after Lincoln was assassinated. He was only 18. His wife became so mentally destroyed by so much loss that her only remaining son Robert had to place her in a mental institution.
While he was married to Mary he serve one term in the U.S. House of Representatives. While in office he opposed the Mexican War. He believed that James K. Polk had violated the constitution and that the war was unnecessary and unconstitutional. He opposed any expansion of slavery into any territory gained as a result of the war. After his brief term, he returned to his law practice. Lincoln had lost interest in politics until the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. Lincoln sincerely believe that one of the founder fathers goals was to ultimately exterminate slavery by not allowing it to spread to new regions. He felt as if this Act was not only immoral, but a complete slap in the face to what our founding fathers had intended for our country.
Because a Democratic Senator John A. Douglas sponsored this Act, Lincoln joined the Republican Party. In 1856, he ran against the incumbent for the senatorial seat. He insinuated that Douglas, the Chief Justice, and two Democratic Presidents, Pierce and Buchanan had conspired to nationalize slavery. Relying on this suggestion and winning seven debates against Douglas brought him much needed national attention even though he lost the race.
After addressing a rally in Cooper Union in New York in 1860, he was now a contender as a presidential candidate. At the Republican Convention in Chicago, William H. Seward was the leading candidate, however, he had lost some key states, so Lincoln won the nomination. He went on to win the presidential election, defeating his opponents which included Douglas.
By the time of Lincoln's inauguration in March of 1861, seven states had seceded from the Union including South Carolina. This state had seceded on December 24, 1860. Even though he gave a conciliatory inaugural address, it had no impact on the south. Nevertheless, he sent supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston against the wishes of his cabinet and on April 12, 1861, South Carolina fired at the fort. It was the Confederate artillery that began the Civil War.
President Lincoln led the country through one of the bloodiest and most famous wars in U.S. history. During that time he issued and signed the Emancipation of Proclamation. Later he delivered the famous Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a National Cemetery. He was inaugurated to serve for a second term as President. A month after giving his second inaugural address, he was assassinated in Ford Theatre. After being shot by John Wilkes Booth, he never regained consciousness. He was buried in Oakridge Cemetery outside of Springfield, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th President of the United States, but by many historians he is regarded as the greatest president in U.S. history.
Here are some interesting facts about President Lincoln:
1. His grandfather Thomas was killed by Indians.
2. At the age of 3, his brother Thomas dies in infancy.
3. At the age of 7 he shot a wild turkey and them never hunted again.
4. At the age of 8 he was kicked in the head by a horse, everyone thought he was dead.
5. At the age of 8 his mother dies.
6. At the age of 15 he started being called "Abe" by his friends.
7. At the age of 19 his sister Sarah dies while giving birth.
8. At the age of 21 he gives his first political speech about improving navigation on a river
9. At the age of 22 he worked as a store clerk and slept in the back.
10. At the age of 24 he is appointed Postmaster of New Salem.
11. That same year is he was appointed Deputy County Surveyor.
12. At the age of 26, his girlfriend dies of typhoid fever.
13. At the age of 33 he accepts a challenge to a duel by James Shields. It was averted.
14. At the age of 41 his three year old son Edward dies. His son William is born.
15. At the age of 42 his father dies.
16. At the age of 53 his eleven year old son Willie dies.
17. At the age of 56 he was assassinated.
These facts clearly illustrates how understandable that it is that this man suffered so much from clinical depression.
Some Eerie Comparisons between Lincoln and Kennedy
1. Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846, Kennedy in 1946.
2. Lincoln was elected President in 1860, Kennedy in 1960.
3. Lincoln and Kennedy's names contain seven letters.
4. Both were interested in civil rights.
5. They both lost a child while living in the White House.
6. They were both assassinated while sitting next to their wives.
7. They were both shot in the head
8. They were both shot on a Friday.
9. Lincoln's personal secretary whose first name was John, advised him not to go to the theatre. Kennedy's personal secretary whose last name was Lincoln advised him not to go to Dallas.
10. Both were assassinated and succeeded by southerners. Both successors were named Johnson.
11. Andrew Johnson was born in 1808, and he was Lincoln's successor. Lyndon B. Johnson was born in 1908, and he was Kennedy's successor.
12. John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839, and he assassinated Lincoln. Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939, and he assassinated Kennedy.
13. Both were known by there 3 name, both of which are comprised of 15 letters.
14. Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse, Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.
15. Lincoln was shot in Ford Theater, Kennedy was shot while riding in a Ford Lincoln.