Abraham Lincoln - A Biography

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His administration was hampered by the incompetence of many Union generals, the inexperience of the troops, and the harassing political tactics both of the Republican Radicals, who favored a hard policy toward the South, and the Democratic Copperheads, who desired a negotiated peace.

The Gettysburg Address of Nov.

Abraham Lincoln Biography | American Battlefield Trust

Lincoln's long search for a winning combination finally brought generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T.


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Sherman to the top; and their series of victories in dispelled the mutterings from both Radicals and Peace Democrats that at one time seemed to threaten Lincoln's reelection. He was reelected in , defeating Gen. George B. McClellan, the Democratic candidate. He died the next morning. Lincoln's marriage to Mary Todd in was often unhappy and turbulent, in part because of his wife's pronounced instability. See also Encyclopedia: Abraham Lincoln. Presidents Cite Abraham Lincoln Biography.

Watch this video to learn about Abraham Lincoln as a man and president. Hear about Lincoln's stand against slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, and more. Meanwhile, Lincoln's father had again moved his family to a new home in Illinois, where he built a cabin on the Sangamon River. At the end of the first summer in Illinois, disease swept through the region and put the Lincolns on the move once again.

This time it was to Coles County. Abraham, who was now a grown man, did not go along. Instead he moved to the growing town of New Salem, where he was placed in charge of a mill and store. Life in New Salem was a turning point for Lincoln, and the great man of history began to emerge. To the store came people of all kinds to talk and trade and to enjoy the stories told by this unique and popular man. The members of the New Salem Debating Society welcomed him, and Lincoln began to develop his skills as a passionate and persuasive speaker.

When the Black Hawk War erupted between the United States and hostile Native Americans, the volunteers of the region quickly elected Lincoln to be their captain. After the war he announced himself as a candidate for the Illinois legislature. He was not elected, but he did receive of the votes cast in the New Salem precinct.

Biography of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

In , after another attempt, Lincoln was finally elected to the state legislature. Lincoln's campaign skills greatly impressed John Todd Stuart — , a leader of the Whigs, one of two major political parties in the country at the time.

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Stuart was also an Abraham Lincoln. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. Lincoln served four straight terms in the legislature and soon emerged as a party leader. Meanwhile, he mastered the law books he could buy or borrow. In September Lincoln began practicing law and played an important part in having the Illinois state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. In Lincoln himself moved to Springfield to become Stuart's law partner. He did not, however, forget politics. In Lincoln was elected to the U.

During these years Lincoln had become engaged to Mary Todd — , a cultured and well-educated Kentucky woman. They were married on November 2, When Congress met in December , Lincoln expressed his disapproval with the Mexican War —48 , in which American and Mexican forces clashed over land in the Southwest.

These views, together with his wish to abolish, or end, slavery in the District of Columbia, brought sharp criticism from the people back in Illinois. They believed Lincoln was "not a patriot" and had not correctly represented his state in Congress. Although the Whigs won the presidency in , Lincoln could not even control the support in his own district. His political career seemed to be coming to a close just as it was beginning. His only reward for party service was an offer of the governorship of far-off Oregon, which he refused.

Lincoln then returned to Illinois and resumed practicing law. During the next twelve years, while Lincoln rebuilt his legal career, the nation was becoming divided.

Abraham Lincoln Biography PBS Lincoln The Making of a President 1860 1862 1 4

While victory in the Mexican War added vast western territory to the United States, then came the issue of slavery in those new territories. To Southerners, the issue involved the security and rights of slavery everywhere.

What Are Some Interesting Facts About Abraham Lincoln?

To Northerners, it was a matter of morals and justice. A national crisis soon developed. With the compromise, a temporary truce was reached between the states favoring slavery and those opposed to it. The basic issues, however, were not eliminated. Four years later the struggle was reopened. Lincoln's passionate opposition to slavery was enough to draw him back into the world of politics.

He had always viewed slavery as a "moral, social and political wrong" and looked forward to its eventual abolition.

Read and watch to learn more about our 16th president

Although willing to let it alone for the present in the states where it existed, he would not see it extended one inch. At the same time, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas — drafted the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would leave the decision of slavery up to the new territories. Lincoln thought the bill ignored the growing Northern determination to rid the nation of slavery. Soon, in opposition to the expansion of slavery, the Republican party was born.

When Douglas returned to Illinois to defend his position, Lincoln seized every opportunity to point out the weakness in it. Lincoln's failure to receive the nomination as senator in convinced him that the Whig party was dead. By summer he became a member of the new Republicans. Lincoln quickly emerged as the outstanding leader of the new party.

At the party's first national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he received votes for vice president on the first ballot. Although he was not chosen, he had been recognized as an important national figure. National attention began turning toward the violence in Kansas and the Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case, which debated the issue of slavery in the new territories. Meanwhile, Douglas had returned to Illinois to wage his fight for reelection to the Senate.

But unlike in earlier elections, Illinois had grown rapidly and the population majority had shifted from the southern part of the state to the central and northern areas. In these growing areas the Republican party had gained a growing popularity—as had Abraham Lincoln. As Lincoln challenged Douglas for his seat in the Senate, the two engaged in legendary debates.

During the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln delivered his famous "house divided" speech, stating "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. In the Republican National Convention met and chose Lincoln as their candidate for president of the United States.

With a divided Democratic party and the recent formation of the Constitutional Union party, Lincoln's election was certain.

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After Lincoln's election victory, parts of the country reacted harshly against the new president's stand on slavery. Seven Southern states then seceded, or withdrew, from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. In his inaugural address he clarified his position on the national situation.

Secession, he said, was wrong, and the Union could not legally be broken apart. He would not interfere with slavery in the states, but he would "hold, occupy, and possess" all property and places owned by the federal government. By now there was no avoiding the outbreak of the Civil War. From this time on, Lincoln's life was shaped by the problems and fortunes of civil war. As president, he was the head of all agencies in government and also acted as commander in chief, or supreme commander, of the armies.

Lincoln was heavily criticized for early failures. Radicals in Congress were soon demanding a reorganization of his cabinet, or official advisors, and a new set of generals to lead his armies. To combat this, Lincoln himself studied military books. He correctly evaluated General Ulysses S. Grant — and General William T. Sherman — and the importance of the western campaign. Thanks, in part, to Lincoln's reshuffling of his military leaders, the Union forces would soon capture victory over the Confederates.

Afterward, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation called for the freeing of all slaves in territories still at war with the Union.


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