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Abraham Lincoln

Something of Interest

Biographers have rejected numerous false rumors that circulated about Lincoln. According to historian William E. Barton, there was a rumor "current in various forms in several sections of the South" that his biological father was Abraham Enloe - an African-American. Barton dismisses the rumors (which began in 1861, the same year Enloe died) as "false from beginning to end." Enloe publicly denied this connection to Lincoln but is reported to have privately confirmed it. A particularly strong case has been made by the town of Bostic, North Carolina, which has set up an entire museum to support the claims that Lincoln was born an illegitimate child from that town.

Mail received by Lincoln called him "a negro" and a "mulatto". According to Lincoln's law partner William H. Herndon, Lincoln had "very dark skin" and "his hair was dark, almost black". Abraham Lincoln described himself as "black" and his "complexion" in 1859 as "dark" but whether he meant either in an ancestral sense is unknown. During the Civil War the Charleston Mercury described him as being "of ... the dirtiest complexion" and asked "Faugh! After him what white man would be President?"

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. While Lincoln is depicted clutching the flag after being shot, it is also possible that he just simply pushed the flag aside to watch the performance.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War - its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. In so doing he preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the national government and modernized the economy.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky, on a farm near Hodgenville. Lincoln was named after his grandfather, who died in 1786 when he was ambushed and shot by a Native American while clearing a field.

Lincoln lived in Kentucky, until a land dispute forced his father to move to Indiana, when Lincoln was a boy. There Lincoln lost his mother at age 9, and gained a new step-mother. As was common on the frontier, Lincoln received little formal education. In his young adulthood, he moved with his family to Illinois, where he worked as a boatman, store clerk, surveyor, militia soldier, and ultimately a lawyer. He was elected to the Illinois Legislature, and to the United States Congress from Illinois. In 1842, he married Mary Todd; they had four sons.

In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term. He was the only Whig (a political party active in the early 19th century in the United States) in the Illinois delegation, but he showed his party loyalty by participating in almost all votes and making speeches that echoed the party line. Lincoln, in collaboration with abolitionist (a movement to end slavery) Congressman Joshua R. Giddings, wrote a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia with compensation for the owners. He abandoned the bill when it failed to garner sufficient Whig supporters. On foreign and military policy, Lincoln spoke out against the Mexican–American War, which he attributed to President Polk's desire for "military glory". Lincoln also supported the Wilmot Proviso, which, if it had been adopted, would have banned slavery in any U.S. territory won from Mexico.

Lincoln returned to practicing law in Springfield, handling every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer. Lincoln handled many transportation cases in the midst of the nation's western expansion, particularly the conflicts arising from the operation of river barges under the many new railroad bridges.

Abraham Lincoln's position on slavery was one of the central issues in American history. Lincoln often expressed moral opposition to slavery in public and private. Initially, he expected to bring about the eventual extinction of slavery by stopping its further expansion into any U.S. territory, and by proposing compensated emancipation (an offer Congress applied to Washington, D.C.) in his early presidency. Lincoln stood by the Republican Party platform in 1860, which stated that slavery should not be allowed to expand into any more territories. Lincoln believed that the extension of slavery in the South, Mid-west, and Western lands would inhibit "free labor on free soil". In the 1850s, Lincoln was politically attacked as an abolitionist, but he did not consider himself one; he did not call for the immediate end of slavery everywhere in the U.S. until the proposed 13th Amendment became part of his party platform for the 1864 election.

Something of interest: In 1842, Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd, who was a daughter of a prominent slave-owning family from Kentucky.

The United States presidential election of 1860 was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860 and served as the immediate impetus for the outbreak of the American Civil War. The United States had been divided during the 1850s on questions surrounding the expansion of slavery and the rights of slave owners. In 1860, these issues broke the Democratic Party into Northern and Southern factions, and a new Constitutional Union Party appeared. In the face of a divided opposition, the Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a majority of the electoral votes, putting Abraham Lincoln in the White House with almost no support from the South.

Lincoln ran on a political platform opposing policies that would have preserved slavery for the foreseeable future. While acknowledging that only a state could outlaw slavery within its own borders, the Republican insistence on keeping slavery out of all territories would ultimately lead to the end of slavery in the entire nation since, in the minds of both most Northerners and most Southerners, the survival of slavery depended on its ability to expand. By his nature, Lincoln was open to political compromises, but, from his election to his assumption of office, he led his party in standing firm against any compromise on the territorial issues. After being sworn in as President he likewise refused to accept any resolution that would accept Southern secession from the Union.

The American Civil War was a civil war fought from 1861 to 1865 in the United States after several Southern slave states declared their secession and formed the Confederate States of America (the "Confederacy" or the "South"). The states that remained were known as the "Union" or the "North" and were led by president Lincoln. The war had its origin in the fractious issue of slavery, especially the extension of slavery into the western territories. Foreign powers did not intervene. After four years of bloody combat that left over 600,000 soldiers dead and destroyed much of the South's infrastructure, the Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, and the difficult Reconstruction process of restoring national unity and guaranteeing rights to the freed slaves began.

The United States presidential election of 1864 was held on Tuesday, November 8, 1864. Abraham Lincoln ran as the Republican (National Union Party) nominee against Democratic candidate George B. McClellan, who ran as the "peace candidate" without personally believing in his party's platform.

Lincoln was re-elected president. Electoral College votes were counted from 25 states. As the American Civil War was still raging, no electoral votes were counted from any of the eleven Southern states. Lincoln won by more than 400,000 popular votes on the strength of the soldier vote and military successes such as the Battle of Atlanta. Lincoln was the first president to be re-elected since Andrew Jackson in 1832.

Abraham Lincoln was shot on Good Friday (a religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death), April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, General Robert E. Lee, surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was the first American president to be assassinated. The assassination of Lincoln was planned and carried out by the well-known stage actor John Wilkes Booth, as part of a larger conspiracy in a bid to revive the Confederate cause.

Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, an American stage actor while watching the play Our American Cousin with his wife Mary Todd Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.. He died early the next morning.

Following his death by assassination, the body of Abraham Lincoln was brought from Washington, D.C. to its final resting place in Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Illinois, by funeral train, accompanied by dignitaries.

Abraham Lincoln's religious beliefs are a matter of debate. Lincoln grew up in a highly religious family, but never joined any church. As a young man he was a skeptic. He frequently referenced God and quoted the Bible; he attended Protestant church services with his wife and children, and after the deaths of two children became more intensely concerned with God's plan for mankind. He was private about his beliefs and respected the beliefs of others. Lincoln never made a clear profession of standard Christian beliefs; he did believe in an all-powerful God that shaped events and, by 1865, was expressing those beliefs in major speeches.

Lincoln's portrait appears on two denominations of United States currency, the penny and the $5 bill. His likeness also appears on many postage stamps and has been memorialized in many town, city, and county names, including the capital of Nebraska.

The most famous and most visited memorials are the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; Lincoln's sculpture on Mount Rushmore; Ford's Theatre and Petersen House (where he died) in Washington and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, located in Springfield, Illinois, not far from Lincoln's home and his tomb.

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Wikipedia article Abraham Lincoln

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Last updated: January 2018
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