America has got so many presidents, the 16th is Abraham Lincoln born February 12, 1809 and died on the 15th of April, 1865. He moved to Indiana in 1816 and lived there the rest of his youth. His mother died when he was nine but he was very close to his stepmother who urged him to read.
Lincoln himself stated that he had about one year of formal education. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis.In so doing he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the economy.
In 1832, at age 23, Lincoln and a partner bought a small general store on credit in New Salem, Illinois. Although the economy was booming in the region, the business struggled and Lincoln eventually sold his share. That March he began his political career with his first campaign for the Illinois General Assembly.
In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term. He was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation, but he showed his party loyalty by participating in almost all votes and making speeches that echoed the party line. He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity.
In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.
As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This was an order that freed the slaves in the Confederate States.
Although not all the slaves were immediately set free, it paved the way for the 13th Amendment which would free all slaves in the United States a few years later.
The Republicans, now the National Union Party, had some concern that Lincoln wouldn’t win but still re-nominated him with Andrew Johnson as his Vice President. Their platform demanded unconditional surrender and the official end to slavery.
His opponent, George McClellan, had been relieved as the head of the Union armies by Lincoln. His platform was that the war was a failure, and Lincoln had taken away too many civil liberties.
On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South. On April 26th, Booth was found hiding in a barn which was set on fire. He was then shot and killed. Eight conspirators were punished for their roles.
Lincoln is often remembered for a short speech he gave at Gettysburg on November 1, 1863. It’s called the Gettysburg Address. It was only a few minutes long, but is considered one of the great speeches in American history. Abraham Lincoln is considered by many scholars to have been the best President.