President of the United States Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States
March 4, 1861 - April 15, 1865
Vice President(s) Hannibal Hamlin (1861 - 1865)
Andrew Johnson (1865)
Preceded by James Buchanan
Succeeded by Andrew Johnson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 7th district
March 4, 1847 - March 3, 1849
Preceded by John Henry
Succeeded by Thomas L. Harris
Born February 12, 1809
Hardin County, Kentucky
Died April 15, 1865 (aged 56)
Political party Whig, Republican
Spouse Mary Todd Lincoln
Religion raised by Hard-shell Baptists; rented a pew in the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church; never officially acquired membership in a church
1 Lincoln 1809 to 1854
1.1 Early life
1.2 Early career
1.4 Legislative activity
1.5 Prairie lawyer
2 Republican politics 1854-1860
3 Election of 1860
4 Civil War
4.1 Secession winter 1860-1861
4.2 Fighting begins: 1861-1862
4.3 Emancipation Proclamation
4.4 Domestic measures
4.5 1864 election and second inauguration
4.6 Conducting the war effort
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 - April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1861 until his death on April 15, 1865. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery, he won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was elected president later that year. During his term, he helped preserve the United States by leading the defeat of the secessionist Confederate States of America in the American Civil War. He introduced measures that resulted in the abolition of slavery, issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoting the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1865.
Lincoln's leadership qualities were evident in his close supervision of the victorious war effort, especially in his selection of Ulysses S. Grant and other top generals. Historians conclude that he handled the factions of the Republican Party brilliantly by bringing its leaders into his cabinet and forcing them to cooperate. In crisis management, he defused a war scare with the United Kingdom (1861), he outmaneuvered the Confederacy and took control of the border slave states in 1861 - 1862, and he managed his own landslide reelection in the 1864 presidential election.
Antiwar "Copperheads" criticized him for refusing to compromise on the slavery issue. In contrast, the Radical Republicans, a strongly Abolitionist faction of the Republican Party, criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery. Lincoln successfully rallied public opinion through the powerful rhetoric of his messages and speeches; his Gettysburg Address is remembered as a prime example of this. At the close of the war, Lincoln took a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to speedily re-unite the nation through a policy of generous reconciliation. His assassination in 1865 was the first in U.S. history and made him a martyr for the ideal of national unity.
Scholars rank Lincoln among the top three U.S. Presidents, with the highest of those surveyed placing him at number one. He is noted for his lasting influence on U.S. politics, including a redefinition of republican values.
Lincoln 1809 to 1854
Main article: Abraham Lincoln's early life and career
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, two uneducated farmers. He was born in a one-room log cabin on the 348 acre (1.4 km?) Sinking Spring Farm, in Nolin Creek, three miles (5 km) south of Hodgenville, in southeast Hardin County, Kentucky (now part of LaRue County), an area which, at that time, was considered the "frontier." The name Abraham was chosen to commemorate his grandfather, who was killed in an American Indian raid in 1786. His elder sister, Sarah Lincoln, was born in 1807; a younger brother, Thomas Jr, died in infancy. It is sometimes debated whether Abraham Lincoln had Marfan syndrome, an autosomal dominant disorder of the connective tissue characterized by long limbs and great physical stature.
Symbolic log cabin at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
For some time, Thomas Lincoln was a respected and relatively affluent citizen of the Kentucky back country. He had purchased Sinking Spring Farm in December 1808 for $200 cash and assumption of a debt. The family belonged to a Baptist church that had seceded from a larger church over the issue of slavery. While exposed to his parents' anti-slavery sentiment from a very young age, Lincoln never joined their church, or any other, and as a youth he ridiculed religion.
In 1816, when Lincoln was just seven years old, the family was forced to make a new start in Perry County (now in Spencer County), Indiana. He later noted that this move was "partly on account of slavery," and partly because of difficulties with land deeds in Kentucky: Unlike land in the Northwest Territory, Kentucky never had a proper U.S. survey, and farmers often had difficulties proving title to their property. In 1818, Lincoln's mother, then thirty-four years old, died of milk sickness: Lincoln was only nine at the time. Soon afterwards, his father remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston. Sarah Lincoln raised young Lincoln like one of her own children. Years later she compared Lincoln to her own son, saying "Both were good boys, but I must say - both now being dead that Abe was the best boy I ever saw or ever expect to see." Lincoln was affectionate toward his step-mother, whom he would call "Mother" for the rest of his life, but he was distant from his father.
In 1830, after more economic and land-title difficulties in Indiana, the family settled on public land in Macon County, Illinois, 10 miles (16 km) west of Decatur. Some scholars believe that it was his father's repeated land-title difficulties and ensuing financial hardships that led young Lincoln to study law. The following winter was desolate and especially brutal, and the family nearly moved back to Indiana. The following year, when his father relocated the family to a new homestead in Coles County, Illinois, twenty-two-year-old Lincoln struck out on his own, canoing down the Sangamon River to the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. Later that year, hired by New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods from New Salem to New Orleans via flatboat on the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers. While in New Orleans, he may havewitnessed a slave auction, though as a frequent visitor to Kentucky, he would have had several earlier opportunities to witness similar sales.
Lincoln's formal education consisted of about 18 months of schooling. Largely self-educated, he read every book he