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Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on Sunday, February 12, 1809. His parents were Tom and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. When he was seven, he and his family moved to southern Indiana. His mother had died recently of a disease and his father eventually remarried. While growing up, his nature was that of someone who wanted to learn and read rather than help with the farm. Even at an early age he showed signs of being an intelligent person with insight into the world around him. Later on, he moved to New Salem, Illinois, where he lived until he was about 28 years old. He worked several odd jobs during his time here and even earned the famous nickname "Honest Abe" during his stay. Eventually he made a run for the Illinois legislature and lost the first time he tried. However, he won the next four times after that first one. At first, Lincoln was a member of the Whig party, but later changed to Republican. Another endeavor during his time there included studying in his spare time and he eventually became a certified lawyer.

In Springfield, Illinois, he met his future wife, Mary Todd. They became fast friends and about three years later, they wed. During the next eleven years, they had four children, all boys. Sadly, all but one died before the age of 18. Lincoln himself had to go through the misery of burying two of them. He became a very successful attorney and grew to be very wealthy. It was in the year of 1846 that Lincoln decided to continue his political career and decided to run for the United States House of Representatives. To no one's surprise, he won. He was widely known for his advocacy against slavery. Lincoln felt that slavery was a great evil within a great nation. "For him, slavery and freedom were incompatible; for one to live, the other must die." (History Book, 512). He also strongly opposed The Mexican War. After his term was over, he decided to go home and continue with his law practice. In 1850, he decided to join the Republican Party and ran against Stephen A. Douglas for his spot in the Senate. In 1858, at one of his speeches in Illinois, he made a quite informative speech about his and the Republican party's point of view on slavery. "We have in this nation the element of domestic slavery. The Republican Party thinks it wrong - we think it is a moral, a social, and a political wrong. We think it is wrong not confining itself merely to the persons of the States where it exists, but that it is a wrong which in its tendency, to say the least, affects the existence of the whole nation. Because we think it wrong, we propose a course of policy that shall deal with it as a wrong. We deal with it as with any other wrong, insofar as we can prevent it growing any larger, and so deal with it that in the run of time there may be some promise of an end to it."(spartucus.net).

Now while Lincoln was against slavery, he was not against abolitionist rights. Later on, it was he and not William Seward, who became the Republican presidential candidate, along with his running mate, Hannibal Hammlin. He defeated three other candidates to get to the presidency: Stephen Douglas, John Bell and John Breckinridge.

This is when trouble in the United States started to form, because there were a few states that were less united then others. Fearing Republican control in the government, many southern states decide to secede from the Union. Until that time, no other president had to face this kind of domestic trouble. Being in firm control and taking the entire country through a bloody civil war is surely one of the many reasons he is remembered as one of our greatest presidents ever. So after learning of the southern states that seceded, the Fall of Fort Sumter followed, like the proverbial first shot in a war. Lincolns' response to this was quick and to the point. Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.... You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it."(whitehouse.gov) Confederate soldiers took the fort over and held it for the duration of the war, when finally; Union soldiers reduced it to a pile of rubble. After the Fort Sumter debacle, Lincoln really had no choice but to raise an army to combat the ever growing Southern military that was threatening the very fabric of America. The many horrors of war were never more apparent that they were in this war. More American soldiers lost their lives in this war then all other wars that the United States fought. Truly this was a trying time for any man, much less one who was trying to keep the integrity of an entire nation together.

All through the war, Lincoln was said to have stuck to his pro-union policy, despite many obstacles that seemed to follow. Several assassination threats followed him throughout the war, keeping him on edge; not to mention the enormous loss of American life that would surely take its toll. On January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation was started. The Emancipation Proclamation was Lincolns' answer to the slavery issue that was probably one of the biggest reasons as to why The Civil War was started in the first place. What it said, or better yet, what it declared, was that all slaves in The Confederate States were to be freed, if they were not under Union control already. A problem he had with this was that "The Constitution protected slavery in peace, but in war, Lincoln came to believe, the commander in chief could abolish slavery as a military necessity. The preliminary Emancipation Proclamation of Sept. 22, 1862, bore this military justification, as did all of Lincoln's racial measures, including his decision in the final proclamation of Jan. 1, 1863, to accept blacks in the army. By 1864, Democrats and Republicans differed clearly in their platforms on the race issue: Lincoln's endorsed the 13TH Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery, whereas McClellan's pledged to return to the South the rights it had had in 1860." (ameslab.gov) Obviously, The Confederacy did not take hold of this at all and saying that they ignored it would be an understatement. Nonetheless, Lincoln held fast to this and officially in The United States, slavery had finally been abolished and it was only a matter of time before The Confederacy was dismantled.

The war continued on as it had been going, with the end slowly appearing over the horizon, as The South started to show signs of weakening. They only had about two major factories all together and needless to say, they were hard pressed to provide for the entire Confederate States. Later on in that same year, Lincoln

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