Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. He only had 3 short periods of formal schooling throughout his childhood, as he had to work constantly to support his family. When he was slightly older, he moved to New Salem, Illinois. Here, he became involved in local politics as a supporter of the Whig Party, winning an election to the Illinois state legislature in 1834.
Lincoln taught himself law, passing the bar examination in 1863. The following year, he moved to the new state capital of Springfield. For the next couple years, he worked there as a lawyer. He met Mary Todd and married her.
Lincoln got elected to the house of representatives in 1846. He hadn’t been popular with voter in Illinois for his stance against the U.S. war with Mexico, but he began his term the following year. After his term was over, promising not to seek reelection, he moved back to Springfield in 1849.
However, certain events pushed him back towards politics. Stephen Douglas, a democrat in congress, pushed the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, which declared that the voters of each territory had the right to chose whether the territory should have slaves or be free, instead of the federal government choosing that.
October 16, 1854, Lincoln gave a speech in front of a large crowd in Peoria to debate the Kansas-Nebraska act. During the speech, he denounced slavery and its extension, calling it a violation of the most basic rights of the Declaration of Ind...
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...ech, and one of the most widely quoted speeches of all time.
In 1864, Lincoln was in for a tough reelection battle against the Democratic nominee, the former Union General George McClellan. Union victories brought many votes the president’s way. In his second inaugural address, on March 4th 1865, Lincoln addressed the need to reconstruct the south, “with malice towards none; with charity for all”. (Lincoln, source 1, pg 5)
Union victory was near, and Lincoln gave a speech on the White House lawn on April 11, asking his audience to welcome the southern states back into the fold. Sadly, Lincoln wouldn’t live to help carry out his dreams of reconstruction. April 14th, only 3 days after his speech, he was shot in the back of the head by actor/ Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth, who had slipped into the presidents box at Fords Theatre in Washington.
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