Abraham Lincoln was the 16thPresident of the United States of America born on 12th February 1809 to Nancy and Thomas Lincoln in Hodgenville, Kentucky. His other popular names in his law and political names were; The Great Emancipator, Honest Abe and The Rail-Splitter. His family later moved to Indiana in 1816.He also lived a good part of his youth in Illinois where he worked on a farm.This is because he was born and raised in a poor family. His mother died after drinking poisoned milk from her cows when he was ten years old, and he found himself under a stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnstone. Sadly, he was assassinated in 14th April 1865 before finishing his second presidential term.
He was only attended school for one year due to the poor status of his family.Even under poverty, Abraham opted to spend the rest of the years educating himself and satisfy his great desire for knowledge. As a teenager, he borrowed and read every book he could find. He moved to New Salem where he made more friends, studied mathematics and literature, and even joined a debating society. He never attended college, but he retained a lifetime interest in learning.
Abraham decided to attempt a law career after a failed store in Illinois and surveying in the western part of the United States of America. Instead of going to a law school, he was self-taught andin 1834, he received a lot of encouragement from John T Stuart who was then the Springfield attorney. He lent the necessary books to understand law. In 1836, at a young age of 25, he obtained his law license. He started with doing simple cases and writing legal forms. In his career as a lawyer, he had four partners who were; John Stuart, Stephen T. Logan and William Herndon in that order.
We could say that his greatest asset as a lawyer was his ability to simplify cases. He made complex cases look simple and in few key points. He had a gift for brevity and clarity. He had a special skill in logical oral argument and not legal research which gave him the ability to convince juries and influence them with his persuasive arguments. His flexibility in that he accepted all cases made him popular. In his law life, he handled over 5000 cases. Somenoticeable cases that Abraham addressed include; the Chicken Bone, the Almanac Arial and the Effie Affton cases.
Abraham started his political career and life at the age of 23, a time when he had literally no real qualifications and very little formal education.His first political office to chase was in Illinois, but he failed in that campaign for the state legislature. He had very little time left for him to popularize himself across the large district. This is because he had volunteered to participate in the Black Hawk War which took most of his campaign time.in 1834, he ran for the same position and won the seat. This marked the beginning of his political success. In 1846, he won a nomination seat with Whig political party. His silence about the America-Mexico war made him win the seat. In 1848, he campaigned for the then Whig presidential candidate, Zachary Tylor, but they lost. Abraham later joined the New Republican Party that had many former Whigs. He even had the opportunity to be nominated to vie for the US senate. This happened two years later after he had lost the nomination for vice president. He lost the senate seat but got lucky to gain popularity across the country and gained the leadership position for the Republican Party.
His presidency started on 4th March 1861 under the Republican Party. He had won the election without even a single support from the southern states. His entire presidency was marked by civil war. He felt it was his duty to preserve the unity of the states despite the continuous desire for the southern states to secede. His first speech was to address the seven already seceded states to rejoin the nation. During his reign, he struggled to find capable generals for his army. He promoted and demoted some, tested his army weapons and exercised his authority through strategic planning.He ran again for the presidential seat in 1864 but with a lot of fear. He actually feared that he would not win the election, but he won the election as his army started to bore fruits.
In his reign, he had many accomplishments that have led the United States of America to what it is today. In 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This was a strong and decorated decision that led to the end of the barbaric act of slavery. The Proclamation enabled African-American fighters to join the army and fight for the state. The African- Americans were happy to join the army and fight for their nation. To them it, they saw as recognition as members of the nation. He also signed the Revenue act of 1862 that brought about uniformity in tax collection under the office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. Abraham brought reforms in the Agricultural sector, the banking sector and enabled poor Americans secure land. He presented the Gettysburg Address during the dedication of soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 19th November 1893. Irrespective of the great resistance from the southern part of the USA, he was able to win the civil war and unite the states of America into one nation again.
On 14th April 1865_, a well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated him while attending the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. Abraham died on the following day. The attack came just five days after the end of American Civil War. Being the first American to be assassinated, his funeral and burial was extended for mourning as a sign of honor. He is greatly remembered for his great achievements in uniting the Americans irrespective of the fact that he had come from a very humble background.
- Gannett, Lewis(winter 2005) “overwhelming evidence” of a Lincoln-Ann Rutledge Romance? Reexamining Rutledge Family Reminiscences” _ journal of Abraham Lincoln Association. Springfield, IL: The Abraham Lincoln Association pp28-42