Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States (1861-1865) who steered the Union to victory in the American Civil War and abolished slavery.

He was born on February 12, 1809, in Kentucky, the son of Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln, pioneer farmers. When he was eight years old, the family moved to Indiana. The following year his mother died. In 1819 his father married Sarah Bush Johnston, a kindly widow, who gained the boy's affection.

Lincoln grew up as a tall strong boy with little formal education. In 1831, after moving to Illinois, he took cargo on a flatboat to New Orleans, Louisiana. He also split rails and clerked in a store. He failed at shopkeeping. He was appointed postmaster, but also worked as a surveyor and at other jobs while he was studying law. He gained a reputation as a very honest man. His nickname was "Honest Abe".

He was defeated in 1832 in a race for the state legislature. Later he was elected and served in the state house from 1834 to 1841. He became one of the leaders of the Whig party and moved to Springfield, Illinois. He became a successful lawyer. He married Mary Todd. They had four children, but all but one died young.

Lincoln always opposed slavery. He thought Congress should keep all territories free. He became famous for his debates on slavery with Stephen Douglas. He lost the election for the Senate to Douglas.

In 1860, he was nominated for President by the Republican party and he promised to stop slavery. When he won the election, six states seceded from the Union. He took office on March 4, 1861. The Confederates fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The Civil War had begun.

He had trouble finding a good general to lead the Union army. Finally he chose Ulysses S. Grant, who brought the war to a close with his many victories agaUSCISt the South.

Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. This freed slaves and said they would be forever free.

When he was elected President for the second time, he said his famous phrase "with malice toward none, with charity for all". He was saying that the country should all come together again and start over. He announced his support for voting rights for the Negroes. This angered many southerners, especially a man named John Wilkes Booth, an actor who had plotted agaUSCISt the president for a long time. On April 14, 1865, he shot Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. The president died the next day.

Lincoln was one of our greatest statesmen. He was a humanitarian, a great speaker and was able to save the union. He is called the Great Emancipator, he was able to abolish slavery and wanted equal rights for blacks who were now free people. It is sad that he did not live to see his plans succeed.

True and False Questions

1. Abraham Lincoln had a college education.


2. He had trouble finding a good general to lead the North.


3. Lincoln worked at many jobs before becoming president.


4. Lincoln had trouble speaking in public.


5. Lincoln was not known as an honest man.


6. He wrote the Emancipation Proclamation.


7. Lincoln was shot and killed.


8. He had five children.


9. Lincoln did not want equal rights for the freed slaves.


10. The Southerners loved Lincoln.