A historical figure in history – Abraham Lincoln
In my United States history class we got an assignment to write about a historical figure in history. I decided to pick Abraham Lincoln who is a well known president. He was the 16th president of the United States. Lincoln was the one who ended slavery and led the United States through the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th, 1809 in Hardin county, Kentucky. His family moved to southern Indiana in 1816. Lincoln’s schooling was limited to three brief periods in local schools. He had to work constantly to be able to support his family.
In 1830, his family moved to Macon County in southern Illinois. Lincoln got a job on a river flatboat hauling freight down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. After moving to the town of New Salem, where he worked as a shopkeeper and postmaster, Lincoln got involved in politics as a supporter of the Whig Party. He won the election to the Illinois state legislature in 1834.
Lincoln opposed the spread of slavery to the territories and had a goal of expanding United States. He taught himself law passing the bar of examination in 1836. Lincoln decided to moved to the state capital of Springfield. He worked as a lawyer, earning the title of Honest Abe. He served clients from individual residents of small towns to national railroad lines. Lincoln also met Mary Todd, who he married in 1842.
Lincoln won the election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846. He began serving his term the following year. Lincoln was unpopular with most of the Illinois voters for his strong stance against the U.S. war with Mexico. He promised not to seek reelection and returned to Springfield in 1849.
On October 16, 1854, Lincoln went in front of a large crowd in Peoria to debate the merits of the Kansas-Nebraska Act with Fredrick Douglas. Which denounced slavery and called the institution a violation of the most basic tenets of the Declaration of Independence. With the Whig Party gone, Lincoln joined the new Republican Party which formed largely in opposition to slavery’s extension into the territories in 1858.
That year Lincoln ran for the Senate again. Then Lincoln delivered his famous house divided speech. he quoted this speech from the Gospels to illustrate that this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. Lincoln went against Douglas in a series of famous debates. He lost the Senate election, but Lincoln’s performance made his reputation national.
His profile rose even more in 1860, after delivering another rousing speech at New York City’s Cooper Union. In May, Republicans chose Lincoln as their candidate for president, passing over powerful contenders in favor of the Illinois lawyer with only one undistinguished congressional term under his belt.
In the general election, Lincoln faced Fredrick Douglas again. Douglas represented the northern Democrats. The southern Democrats were for John C. Breckenridge of Kentucky. John Bell ran for the Constitutional Union Party. Breckenridge and Bell split the vote in the South so Lincoln won most of the North and the Electoral College to win the election.
After many years of sectional tensions, the election of an antislavery northerner as the 16th president of the United States drove many southerners mad. By the time Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States in March of 1861, seven southern states seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. Lincoln ordered a fleet of Union ships to supply South Carolina’s Fort Sumter. the Confederates fired on the fort and the Union fleet which started the Civil War.
Lincoln called for 500,000 more troops. Both sides of the fight prepared for a long battle. Confederate leader Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate, A Mexican War hero and former secretary of war, Lincoln surprised many people when he proved to be a capable leader, learning quickly about strategy and tactics. General George McClellan continuously frustrated Lincoln because he wanted to keep advancing. Then McClellan failed to pursue Robert E. Lee’s retreating Confederate Army after the Union victory at Antietam in September 1862. Lincoln decided to removed him from his command.
Abraham Lincoln died on April 15th, 1865. He was assassinated by an actor named John Wilks Booth. He was attending a play called Our American Cousins at Fords Theatre in Washington D.C.. Booth preformed there so he had access to where Lincoln was watching the show from. Booth snuck behind Lincoln unnoticed. He had a gun on him and he pulled it out and shot the president in the back of the head.
In conclusion, Lincoln was one of the best presidents we ever had in my opinion. He lead the United States through the Civil War. He ended slavery which was a very wrong thing that was happening in our country. I also think it’s really sad that he went out the way he did. That was my essay on the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
- Battlefields.org, https://www.battlefields.org/learn/biographies/abraham-lincoln
- Whitehouse.gov, https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/abraham-lincoln/
- Historyplace.com, https://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/index.html
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