#16 Abraham Lincoln
Born: February 12, 1809 in
Parents: Thomas and
Stepmother, Sarah Bush
Wife: Mary (Todd) Lincoln
Children: Robert, Edward,
William, and Thomas
Abraham Lincoln was born to illiterate farmers on the
Abraham‟s father was moderately successful and owned
a several farms, but he was by no means successful.
His family chose to move from Kentucky to Indiana to
avoid a court battle over land rights.
When he was nine years old, his mother Nancy died.
Thomas remarried Sarah Bush shortly thereafter and
young Abe came to care for her deeply.
The Lincoln‟s were against slavery.
Lincoln‟s family moved again to Illinois, when he was 19.
After a second move a few years later, Abe decided to
move out on his own to New Salem Illinois.
As a young man Lincoln worked on his father‟s farm, and
he hired himself out to neighbors for work as well. He
was said to be extremely handy with an axe, and split
hundreds of rails for fences.
Lincoln attended school for about 18 months in his life.
He was, however, a serious reader, and borrowed books
from anyone he could.
In 1831, Abe was hired to build a flatboat and
take it and a load of produce to New Orleans.
In New Salem, Lincoln split rails, worked at a
store, and developed and interest in politics.
He enlisted in the state militia as a private during
the Black Hawk War, and was elected captain by
his fellow soldiers. He commanded a company,
but never saw action. He was mustered out of
service as a private again.
Marriage in 1842
Marriage and Mary Todd
Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd in 1842, when she
was 23 and he was 33.
Mary Todd Lincoln was the daughter of a wealthy
slaveholding family in Lexington, Kentucky.
She was well educated and was thought to have a
vibrant attitude, quick wit.
Their relationship was thought to be good, but they
experienced much sadness due to the loss of two son‟s.
For some time she practiced spiritualism.
Mary Todd was institutionalized by her son Robert due to
her increased mental instability.
Early Public Life
Lincoln ran for the Illinois General Assembly and
lost when he was only 23 years old.
Was admitted to the Bar in 1837. Lincoln taught
himself law, and was an able lawyer, and expert
Lincoln served four consecutive terms in the
Illinois House of Representatives. It was here
that he first spoke out against slavery (although
he did support a law granting suffrage to whites
Lincoln was elected to
the U.S. House of
1846 and served 2
He questioned the
justness of the
Mexican War, and
lost support. He did
not run again in 1848.
Prairie Lawyer (with a patent)
From 1848 to 1854, Lincoln went back to
practicing law, traveling widely, appearing
before the Illinois Supreme Court 175
times and the U.S Supreme Court once.
Lincoln also received a patent for a device
he designed to stabilize river craft.
Return to the National Stage
In 1854 Lincoln ran for
the U.S. Senate as a
Whig and lost.
In 1856 Lincoln helped
form the Republican
The party was made up
The Most Famous Debate in
In 1858 Lincoln Ran against Stephen Douglas for
Senate. He did not win.
During the campaign there were 7 debates.
The format was that the first speaker had 60 minutes,
the second had 90 minutes, and the the first speaker got
30 minute “rejoinder”. Douglas spoke first in 4 of the
debates, Lincoln in 3.
The key issue was slavery, and Douglas appealed to
white prejudices, while Lincoln discussed the hypocrisy
of slavery, while dodging abolitionist charges.
Lincoln vs. Douglas
Running For President
Lincoln won the Republican Nomination for
president in 1860, in part due to his moderate
views on slavery. His Republican opponents at
the convention were more zealous abolitionists.
Lincoln did not make one speech during the
campaign, but the Republican Party members
produced posters, made speeches, and ran an
Election of 1860: The Most
In the election of 1860, there were 4 major candidates:
Rep. Lincoln, Dem. Stephen Douglas, Dem. John
Breckinridge, and John Bell of the Union Party.
Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, Douglas 1,376,959,
Breckinridge 849,781, and Bell 588,789. In all, 2,815,527
people voted against Lincoln in the popular vote, but not
for the same candidate. Lincoln was not even on the
ballot in 10 Southern states.
In the electoral college, Lincoln won 180-123.
Election of 1860
To the White House
(and that beard)
Lincoln left Illinois
believing that the task
ahead of him was greater
even than his hero
George Washington (he
was heavily guarded.
Before the election,
Lincoln received a letter
from a little girl from New
York, Grace Bedell,
asking that he grow a
beard. He did.
Lincoln was known as a man with a great sense
of humor, who loved to tell funny stories, and
pull practical jokes.
Lincoln worked hard all his life, and had great
admiration for self-made men such as himself.
He had a tough relationship with his father in
part because of this.
Lincoln was prone to “melancholy” for much of
his life. Most psychologists believe he probably
suffered from clinical depression.
As a young man Lincoln was quite strong and
engaged in wrestling matches against many
opponents, winning some and losing some.
Lincoln was known as a sly politician, and for his
Lincoln‟s reputation for honesty began with a
story that he had borrowed a book from a
neighbor that he had put in a knothole of his
boyhood home. The book was soaked after a
rain, and so he worked for weeks to pay for it.
After Lincoln was elected, South Carolina seceded from
the Union on December 20, 1860. Florida, Mississippi,
Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas did so by
February 1, 1861.
When Confederate troops fired on Ft. Sumter, and
Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers, Virginia, North
Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas also seceded,
bringing the total of seceding states to 11. Kentucky,
Delaware, Missouri, and Maryland did not secede,
despite their status as slave states.
Civil War President
Lincoln‟s entire presidency was spent dealing
with the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Immediately Lincoln had problems with his
generals. Throughout the war he had as
commanders: Irvin McDowell, George
McClellan, John Pope, McClellan again,
Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, George
Meade, and Ulysses S. Grant. None was
effective except for Grant, who did not take
complete command until 1864.
Civil War President
Lincoln worked diligently to familiarize himself
with military tactics and technology.
Union forces fared poorly in the war at first, with
disastrous losses at both Battles of Bull Run,
Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville.
Even when the Union troops did well, they could
not capitalize on their success in the Peninsula
Campaign, Antietam, and Gettysburg.
Civil War President
Union troops were successful though, in the Western
Campaigns at Shiloh and Vicksburg, the latter of which
gave them control of the Mississippi.
Eventually Lincoln realized that Grant is the right general
to lead the whole Union Army.
Grant adopts Winfield Scott‟s Anaconda Plan, which he
first put into place by capturing Vicksburg. He next sent
William Tecumseh Sherman to capture Atlanta and then
march to the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, he attacks Robert
E. Lee in the vicious campaign of 1864. This campaign
ended in the siege of Petersburg that summer.
Civil War President
Sherman captured Atlanta and marched to Savannah,
and was in the process of invading the Carolinas by the
Spring of 1865, using “total warfare”.
Phillip Sheridan laid waste to the Shenandoah Valley,
destroying much valuable farmland, again using „total
The Army of the Potomac finally ended the siege of
Petersburg, and eventually forced the Army of Northern
Virginia to surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April
9, 1865. The rest of the Confederates surrendered within
a short while.
The Hardships of Civil War
The Civil War was the bloodiest war in U.S. history, and
one of the bloodiest in all of history. It literally pitted
families against one another, including the family of
Lincoln‟s own wife.
The casualties in the Civil War were especially ghastly
and Lincoln spent a great deal of time with the wounded.
This effected him tremendously (Not to mention the
death of his beloved son Willie, which occurred during
Lincoln had many important domestic policies that often go
overlooked, such as:
The Revenue Act of 1861, which established the first tax,
and the reworking of the same act in 1862.
Legal Tender Act of 1862 (first paper money)
Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 &1864, which eventually
would lead to the Transcontinental Railroad.
Homestead Act of 1862, granting 160 acres of land to
anyone willing to live on it and cultivate it for 5 years.
National Banking Acts, which strengthen federal banks.
Suspending Habeas Corpus
Habeas Corpus is a writ of law that protects
people from unlawful detention or arrest.
President Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus in
1862, in accordance with the suspension clause
located in Article I of the Constitution.
Lincoln was initially hesitant to attempt to emancipate the
slaves, fearing any such measure would turn the border
states against the union and that Northerners who fought
for sustaining the Union only, would also turn against
After the Union “victory” at Antietam, Lincoln felt he had
enough political capital to do it.
The proclamation was made on September 22, 1862,
and was put in effect on January 1, 1863.
It only freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion,
thus they were not actually free until Union troops got to
“Let em‟ up easy.”
Lincoln favored an easy reconciliation with the South and
wanted generous terms.
He made the Amnesty Proclamation, which gave
amnesty to anyone who had not held civil office in the
C.S.A., had not harmed Union P.O.W‟s, and would sign
a pledge of allegiance.
Lincoln vetoed a measure that would make it harder for a
state to rejoin the Union.
In regards to the free slaves, Lincoln suggested
colonization, but it was never seriously pursued due to
President Lincoln attended a play called “Our American
Cousin” at Ford‟s Theater in Washington on April 14,
He was killed there by John Wilkes Booth, a well known
actor and Confederate spy.
Lincoln was pronounced dead the next day.
The assassination was part of the plot to kill not only
Lincoln but also Secretary of State William Seward and
Vice President Andrew Johnson.
Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated.
Lincoln is considered to be one of the top presidents of all time. His
is one of four faces on Mt. Rushmore.
Lincoln is known for his able presidency during the worst war in our
history and the Emancipation Proclamation. He also supported the
13th Amendment, but did not live to see it ratified.
Some historians have minimized Lincoln‟s freeing of the slaves,
indicating that the slaves freed themselves by fleeing to the Union
lines and then joining the Union Army.
The establishment of the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railways
Act were critical actions that helped extend America to the west.
Lincoln is also remembered by historians as a shrewd politician.
Lincoln is Lunsford‟s second favorite president.