Abraham Lincoln, born on February 12, 1809, and living for 56 years, was a truly great man of his time. He led America during the Civil War which started at 1861. The Civil War was the worst war in U.S. history. Lincoln helped end slavery in the southern states and kept America together when they almost split into two different countries.
As a young boy, Lincoln and his family were somewhat poor. His father was a carpenter and could hardly write his name. His mother stayed at home and watched over Abraham. As he got older, Abe helped his father with cutting lumber. He also loved to read. Abe would sometimes walk up to 50 miles to borrow books from the library!
Since slavery was popular then, Abe saw many slaves and the selling of them. His family despised slavery, and that's one thing that probably got him into politics.
Then one day, Abe's mother became very sick. Soon after, she died. But all wasn't lost. Though no one could replace Abe's mom, his dad remarried a widow named Sally. She had three children of her own. They all lived together in the log cabin, accompanied by Abe's cousin, Dennis, an orphan. The cabin was busy with 7 people but the more the merrier!
He continued to live in the crowded cabin until he became an adult. Then he moved to New Salem and opened a shop. His shop was a favorite of neighboring people because Abe was so open and honest with his customers.
Then one day, Abe decided to study politics, law, and the past. Soon he wanted to run for the Illinois State Legislature. Abe lost that election due to the Black Hawk War.
After working as Salem's postmaster, he chose to campaign again. This time Abe concentrated more on his election and told more people to vote for him. Abe won the election. Abe thought color of skin didn't matter and tried to get people to stop mistreating colored people.
Abraham was the big 3-0 when he met Mary Todd. Despite the differences between Abe and Mary (Abe was tall and skinny and Mary was short), they loved each other and decided to get married.
Soon Mary and Abe Lincoln had 3 kids, Robert, William, and Thomas.
Abe was then elected to congress, so the Lincoln family moved to Washington D.C. Abe kept trying to get rid of slavery, but most of America wouldn't listen.
That's when Abe was invited into the 8th Circuit Court. This was a traveling court that kept life fair and just. Abe was the judge.
Soon Abraham ran for senate. His opponent was Stephen A. Douglas. Stephen was just fine with slavery. After a lot of campaigning, Abe lost the election.
Two years later, in 1860, Republicans wanted Abe to run for president. Abe won the election and became the president of the United States. He got no votes from the southern states because they wanted to keep slavery. Then America prepared for war with itself. If the south won, slavery stayed, if the north won slavery goes.
Then that February, William died from an illness. The Lincoln family was melancholy, but they had to keep fighting for American rights.
On September 17, 1862, nearly 5,000 men died from fighting and over 20,000 were hurt. At a cemetery on November 19, 1863, Abe gave his most famous speech. It was called the Gettysburg Address. It was shorter than most CD songs, but was very powerful. Its topic was America's government.
Abe kept pushing to make the U.S.A. a whole country again. He ran for president again and was re-elected in 1864. Then finally slavery was banned and all of Abe's hard work paid off.
Now Abraham could actually relax. He went to the Ford Theater for a play. But then John Wilkes Booth, a man who didn't like Abe, shot him in the head and he died.
Many people went to his funeral. There was a 9 car funeral train that stopped in 11 cities as it made its way across the nation.
You can visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The statue of Abe is 20 feet tall and is entirely made of white marble.
Abraham Lincoln was a very inspiring man and will keep on inspiring for years to come.
Fontes, Justine and Ron Fontes. Abraham Lincoln, Lawyer, Leader, Legend. Great Britain: Andrew Berkhut 2001.
Fradin, Dennis B. Lincoln's Birthday. Hillside New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 1990.
Image of slave of picture of Lincoln sitting down from "Microsoft Office Design Gallery Live" <http://dgl.microsoft.com/?CAG=1> Images free for non-profit and personal use. (December-March, 2003).
Images of the Lincoln Memorial, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Abraham Lincoln from "ArtToday.com" <http://members.clipart.com/en/index> (2003).
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