There is no denying the significant impact Abraham Lincoln has had on the United States of America. Being one of the most studied names in the history of the United States, his widespread fame comes from a lot of his achievements such as modernizing the United States Economy, abolishing slavery, preserving the union and most importantly, leading the United States through her bloodiest war, the American Civil War. In case you are still wondering who exactly the man is, Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer and an American Statesman who served as the 16th President of the United States of America from 1861 to 1865 when he was assassinated.
He is also responsible for the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday. Although the holiday was already a regional holiday in the 17th century in New England, it had no regular or fixed date. Abraham Lincoln in 1863, declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Why is He on the 5 Dollar Bill?
Before his election as president, he had served as the United States House of Representatives from Illinois’s 7th district and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from Sangamon County. Even if you are not aware of the political significance this great man still holds, you should at least know that he is the mind behind the popular definition of democracy as the government of the people, for the people and by the people; a statement he used during the Gettysburg address, the most quoted speech in history.
Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Republican Party and upon his emergence as a leader, he immediately began to speak against slavery. He noted that he hated slavery because of its monstrous injustice. Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President of the United States on the 6th of November, 1860 winning 39.8% of the total votes. He delivered his famous inaugural address in March 1861.
Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be one of, if not the greatest American president. Even though he was a Republican, Democrats still praise him for the direction his leadership took the nation. Through his presidency, the Union was preserved, slavery was abolished, the federal government was strengthened, and the American economy met an era of modernization. He was a strong supporter of egalitarianism and democracy.
Abraham Lincoln’s Early Life and Family History
Abraham Lincoln was born on the 12th of February, 1809 in Sinking Spring Farm. He was born as the second child into a poor family that lived in a one-room cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky. His father was Thomas Lincoln, the grandson of Captain Abraham Lincoln who had relocated the family from Virginia to Kentucky and was killed in an Indian raid in 1780. His father worked as a carpenter, farmer, and other odd jobs. His mother’s name was Nancy Hanks Lincoln and she is assumed to be the daughter of Lucy Hanks, although there is no proof of this. Abraham Lincoln’s parents had three children; Sarah (born 1807), Abraham (1809), and Thomas who died as a baby.
In 1818, Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy died from milk sickness leaving the care of the household to his sister Sarah who herself died 10 years later during childbirth. His father remarried a woman named Sarah Johnston. He was described as a lazy person because of his distaste for physical labor. However, he did enjoy reading and writing and was mainly self-educated. In 1831, he relocated to New Salem and lived independently. He had a failed relationship with a woman named Mary Owens but got married to Mary Todd, the daughter of a wealthy slave trader in 1842. They had 4 children in total but only one, Robert Todd Lincoln reached adulthood and had children. The death of three of their children greatly affected Lincoln and he suffered from Clinical Depression.
Abraham Lincoln died on the 15th of April 1865, after being assassinated by the actor John Wilkes Booth on 14th April 1865. His death brought about widespread shock and mourning across America, although some of his opponents celebrated his death. He is known for his redefinition of republicanism, focusing on the Declaration of Independence of America rather than the constitution.
He is ranked among the top three greatest presidents of the United States alongside George Washington and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His portrait has appeared on the penny and is currently on the 5-dollar bill an honor bestowed on him for his great contributions to his nation. He has also been memorialized in various towns, cities, and county names.