Preserver of the Union
|Age||56 At death|
|Office||Former US House of Representatives|
|Party||Republican Previously Whig|
|Greatest Accomplishments||Keeping the Union together during the Civil War; uniting the USA even more than before, ending slavery|
Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, who served from March 1861 until his abrupt assassination by the Confederate John Wilkes Booth in April 1865, shortly into his second term. He was the first Republican President, and had a strong hand in the formation of the party itself from the anti-slavery elements of the now-defunct Whig Party and from former Free-Soil Democrats, rising against the Kansas-Nebraska act submitted to Congress by and the basic "popular sovereignty" principle of his long-time rival Stephen A. Douglass. Though his emphasis was always on the perpetuity of the Union, Lincoln refused to yield on the free-soil doctrine that slavery must not be allowed to extend to further U.S. territories, which eventually drove eleven Southern States to secede from the nation and thereby brought forth the American Civil War. His efforts toward the abolition of slavery include issuing his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, encouraging the border states to outlaw slavery, and helping push through Congress the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which finally ended all slavery in December 1865. An exceptionally astute politician deeply involved with power issues in each state, he reached out to War Democrats (those who were not inclined to side with the Confederates) and managed his own re-election in the 1864 presidential election in the midst of the worst sectional conflict the U.S. ever experienced. He was largely a self-educated and self-made man, and thus a fitting icon for the republicanism of future generations.
In the 1840s Lincoln subscribed to the "Doctrine of Necessity", a belief that asserted the human mind was controlled by some higher power.In the 1850s, Lincoln acknowledged "providence" in a general way, and rarely used the language or imagery of the evangelicals; he regarded the republicanism of the Founding Fathers with an almost religious reverence. When he suffered the death of his son Edward, Lincoln more frequently acknowledged his own need to depend on God. The death of his son Willie in February 1862 may have caused Lincoln to look toward religion for answers and solace. This shift towards a religious outlook on life is reflected upon in his famous Gettysburg address and in his Second Inaugural Address. However, he was not a member of any Christian church during his adult life, because he was put off by their traditional forms and their dogmatism, and thus was never a "technical Christian". On the day he was assassinated, Lincoln reportedly told his wife at Ford's Theater he desired to visit the Holy Land, with his last words being, "There is no place I so much desire to see as Jerusalem.".
Abraham Lincoln was the president during the Civil War. At some points, he was very unpopular because of the horrible defeats the Union was suffering.
Lincoln had a plan to help the South, which involved 10% of each states voters to swear loyalty to the US for that particular state to form a new government. But the Republicans in Congress, later called the Radical Republicans, had a different plan in which the majority of votes would pledge allegiance to the USA. However, the President never had the chance to officially propose this to Congress, for he was assassinated just five days after General Robert E. Lee surrended, ending the Civil War. In his final speech before his assassination, Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks; "It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers."
- Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky.
- He sailed down the Mississipi as a child.
- Lincoln suffered long bouts of depression throughout his life and suffered an apparent breakdown after the death of Ann Rutledge, to whom he was very close. He pulled himself together, though, to serve his country.