Abraham Lincoln
1809 - 1865

U.S. President

President Lincoln fought a war to hold the Union together. Without him two hostile nations would have emerged sharing the same continent.

Born in a log cabin to a modest farm family near Hodgenville, Kentucky. Lincoln studied law on his own and in 1837 begun a law practice in Springfield, the capital of Illinois. He briefly served first in the Illinois state legislature and then in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1858 Lincoln run for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas, who led the Democratic accommodation to slave interests. The historic debates between the two men secured Lincoln a national following, which led to his becoming the presidential nominee of the new anti-slavery Republican Party in 1860.

Shortly after his election as the 16th President of the U.S. the Southern States seceded and Civil War erupted. Under his leadership the Northern States prevailed and the American Union was preserved.

This success was achieved because Lincoln proved to be a leader with extraordinary political skill. He was at first defining the war as being fought over secession rather than slavery. Later when the time was right, Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, thereby interpreting the war as a crusade against slavery.

With his immortal Gettysburg Address, Lincoln further defined the war as the struggle for preservation of the democratic idea, which he called 'government of the people, by the people, for the people.'

Having seen the victory of the Union forces in April 1865, Lincoln sought to heal the wounds of war but was assassinated a few days after victory.

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First Inaugural Address, 1861

Second Inaugural Address, 1865

Civil War Timeline