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Abraham Lincoln Quick Facts
- Lincoln was born on February 12th of 1809 in Hodgenville, Kentucky.
- He was elected the 16th President of the United States of America on November 6th of 1860.
- He served as U.S. President from 1861 to his assassination in April of 1865.
- Lincoln's Vice President from 1861 to 1865 was Hannibal Hamlin. When Lincoln started his 2nd term as president in 1865 his Vice President was Andrew Johnson who would become the 17th US President upon Lincoln's assassination later in 1865.
- Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party.
- His wife was Mary Todd Lincoln who he married on November 4th of 1842. She was by his side when he was assassinated.
- The Lincoln's had four sons together Robert Todd, Edward (Eddie) Baker, William (Willie) Wallace, and Thomas (Tad). Robert Todd was the only child to live to adulthood; the other three died young from various diseases.
Abraham Lincoln Early Years Facts
- He spent the early years of his life in Kentucky and Indiana which was then the western frontier of the U.S.
- Abraham Lincoln was very intelligent and mostly self-educated. He was interested in a wide range of subjects and an avid reader.
- In 1832 Abraham Lincoln served as a captain in the militia during the Black Hawk War.
- He became a lawyer in 1836 and practiced law in Illinois; he went on to serve on the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834 to 1846.
- In 1846 Lincoln was elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives where he served one two-year term after which he returned to practicing law in Illinois.
- A little known fact is that Lincoln suffered from clinical depression; largely due to the death of his sons.
- In 1858 he made a bid to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. He participated in seven debates with his rival for the senate seat, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. The Lincoln - Douglas debates of 1858 are considered the most famous political debates in American history.
- Lincoln lost his bid for the U.S. Senate but his campaign gave him national political exposure and a growing number of supporters.
- In 1860 he became the Republican Party presidential nominee and was elected the 16th President of the United States of America later that year.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Facts
- Lincoln took office as president on March 4th of 1861, a little over a month later the American Civil War began at the Battle of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina.
- In 1861 Abraham Lincoln signed the Revenue Act of 1861 which created the United States first income tax.
- In 1862 Lincoln signed the Homestead Act which allowed citizens to purchase government land in the western U.S, at a very low cost; therefore encouraging westward expansion.
- Lincoln approved the Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864. These acts supplied federal funds to build the first transcontinental railroad, which was completed in 1869, four years after Lincoln's death.
- On September 22, 1862 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed slaves in the Confederate states; it took effect on January 1st of 1863. It did not free slaves in the border states loyal to the Union. Lincoln did go on to push Congress to create a constitutional amendment that would free all slaves.
- On November 19th of 1863 Lincoln delivered his famous speech the Gettysburg Address. He gave this speech at a newly built military cemetery near the Gettysburg battlefield just three months after that famous battle. Most historians regard it as the greatest speech in U.S. history. In the short speech, just 272 words, Lincoln summed up the importance of the war in assuring a "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".
- Lincoln easily won the 1864 presidential election and was re-elected as the U.S President. With the American Civil War still being fought the southern states obviously did not take part in the election.
- On February 1st of 1865 Lincoln approved a proposed amendment submitted by the U.S. Congress that would abolish all slavery in the United States. In December of 1865, eight months after Lincoln was assassinated, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted ending all slavery in the US.
Abraham Lincoln Assassination Facts
- Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth who was an actor and a Confederate sympathizer. The assassination took place only five days after General Lee surrendered to General Grant effectively ending the American Civil War.
- While Lincoln was watching the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre" in Washington, D.C. Booth snuck into Lincoln's private box above the stage and shot him in the back of the head.
- After shooting Lincoln John Wilkes Booth stabbed Union officer Henry Rathbone, who lunged at Booth, in the shoulder. He then jumped onto the stage shouting "Sic semper tyrannis", the Virginia state motto meaning "Thus ever to tyrants". Breaking his leg but managing to escape.
- Lincoln was taken to a house across the street from the theatre where he was pronounced dead at 7:22 the next morning.
- One of the largest manhunts in history was organized to hunt down Lincoln's assassin.
- Twelve days after the assassination John Wilkes Booth was found hiding on a farm in Virginia. He was shot dead after refusing to surrender.