Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He was also a well-taught lawyer and statesman. Through the civil war, he led the country and worked tirelessly towards ending slavery, strengthening the Federal Government, and modernizing the US economy.
Nicknamed as ‘Honest Abe’ or the ‘Great Emancipator,’ Abraham Lincoln has lived on in people’s minds even after his death. He is remembered as one of the greatest leaders of the American political fraternity. His commitment to republican ideals, combined with his staunch views and oratory skills, makes him one of American history’s most iconic names.
Abraham Lincoln, for kids, is a great role model, as is he for young adults across the nation.
Abraham Lincoln’s Early Life
Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809. His parents –Nancy and Thomas Lincoln, were uneducated farmers who could neither read nor write. His mother died when he was merely nine years old.
His father later remarried Sarah Johnston, a widow from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, who had three children of her own. Lincoln eventually grew close to his stepmother and is known to have had an affectionate relationship with her.
In the years that followed, Abraham Lincoln’s family moved farther west to Southern Indiana before settling down in Illinois.
What Was Abraham Lincoln Like As A Child?
Abraham Lincoln was an avid reader as a child. He helped his father on the farm, although he disliked the hard labor associated with it. His family termed him ‘lazy’ and said that he was only interested in “reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, and writing poetry.” Books kept Lincoln engrossed into the wee hours of the night. Those who knew Abraham Lincoln as a child would recall him as someone with a ‘manic’ intellect (1).
What Did Abraham Lincoln Do In His Childhood?
Abraham Lincoln’s childhood, though full of hardships, is known to be his defining age. He was a bright kid who loved his books but did not attend school for more than one year.
As his law partner rightly said, “his ambition was a little engine that knew no rest (2).” This is what helped him achieve much success in his later years.
Abraham Lincoln’s Life Growing Up
As a young adult, Abraham Lincoln continued to learn and study by himself. As recalled by his family, friends, and colleagues, he frequently took to books and read the likes of the King James Bible, Aesop’s Fables, John Bunyan‘s The Pilgrim’s Progress, Daniel Defoe‘s Robinson Crusoe, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Lincoln educated himself and worked several odd jobs while growing up. He worked as a flatboat navigator, storekeeper, soldier, surveyor, and postmaster to make ends meet. At the age of 22, he left home and moved to New Salem, Illinois, where he worked at a general store.
Although he never went to law school, Abe Lincoln came to be known as the most reputed lawyer of his time. He joined the Independent Spy Corp. a few years later. Initially, he was a member of the Whig Party but soon became a Republican.
Abraham Lincoln’s Wife and Children
Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842. She was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd, a wealthy Lawyer and Businessman from Kentucky. Lincoln was an affectionate husband and is believed to have had a blissful married life with Mary.
Did Abraham Lincoln Have Any Kids?
Although Lincoln was a busy man, he was a devoted husband and father. He had four children with Mary Todd — Robert Todd Lincoln, Edward Baker Lincoln, ‘Willie’ Lincoln, and Thomas Lincoln. Lincoln was very fond of his children and has suffered immensely after his children Edward and Willie died due to tuberculosis and fever (respectively) in their early years. Lincoln’s fourth child Thomas also died due to heart failure at a young age. Only his eldest son, Robert, is said to have survived.
Lincoln’s Political Career
In 1834, Abraham Lincoln won the first of four consecutive elections to the Illinois State Legislature and was elected to the local government at 25 years. Lincoln served a single term in the US House of Representatives in 1858 and ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate.
Although he remained unsuccessful at the Senate race, his debates against his political opponent Stephan Douglas won him great accolades. The Republican Party thereafter nominated him for the Presidential election of 1860.
Lincoln’s candidature for the 1860 elections can be accorded to several reasons. His views on slavery, which were less extreme than those of his opponents, were believed to a big force behind his election by the Republican Party.
Abraham Lincoln: Presidency
After Lincoln’s election, seven states, including South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana, formed the Confederate States of America. When the United States refused to give up Fort Sumter, the Confederates attacked it, leading to the American Civil War.
In his term as President, Lincoln rebuilt the Union with military force. He played a major role during the war and liaised closely with the War Department. Although Lincoln did not achieve much success, the war turned in favor of the union army during the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. In his famous Gettysburg Address, Lincoln displayed exemplary oratory skills and urged Northerners to fight with valor.
The Emancipation Proclamation
With the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Lincoln showcased true leadership and ordered the freedom of slaves in the states in rebellion during the American Civil War. The proclamation, however, did not free the slaves in the states that had remained loyal to the Union.
Until the Thirteenth Amendment of the US Constitution in 1865, the states could end slavery only within their borders. Lincoln used the proclamation as a military strategy, and the thirteenth Amendment was passed eight months after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, making slavery illegal everywhere in the United States.
The Proclamation’s goal was not just to unite the states, but also to eradicate slavery in all the states. It also prevented the European nations from interfering in the war. Following that, France and Great Britain demanded an independent status for the Confederacy.
Lincoln’s Second Term and Assassination
Abraham Lincoln was re-elected as the president in 1864. Around the same time, the Union was going strong and was expected to win the war. The leading Confederate General Robert. E. Lee finally surrendered his armies on April 9, 1865, bringing an end to the civil war.
On April 14, 1865, five days after the confederate forces had surrendered and the American Civil War was drawn to a close, Lincoln attended a play with his wife at his cousin Ford’s theatre. As he watched the play, John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland, entered the presidential box and shot Lincoln dead.
Lincoln was the first United States President to be assassinated. His assassination is marked as one of the saddest days of American history.
President Lincoln lived a life of bravery and pride. There are several interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln’s childhood to inspire you. Through his life, you can learn that success always favors the ones who work hard. Abraham Lincoln’s grit towards his work and his love for the motherland are also worth cherishing.
At the same time, his devotion towards his wife and kids is equally agreeable. Although long gone, Abraham Lincoln continues to be a beacon of dedication and hope to many!
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