A few weeks after throwing his hat in the ring, the Black Hawk War broke out, and Lincoln volunteered to fight Indians. His fellow volunteers elected him the temporary captain of their company, an honor that he valued more than his nomination for the presidency, and off they marched to war. It was a thirty-day stint, and when it was up, Lincoln—having seen no military action—signed on for another twenty days, and then again for a third term of thirty days. In his last duty, he served as a private in the Independent Spy Corps, which unsuccessfully tried to track down Chief Black Hawk in southern Wisconsin.
As a soldier, Lincoln saw no action in the war, but his tour of duty prevented him from campaigning for office. Back home in New Salem, Lincoln resumed his campaign for the legislature, but there was too little time left before the election for him to make himself known throughout the large district. Although he won of the votes in New Salem, he lost in the county, coming in eighth in a field of thirteen. Thereafter, he refocused his energies on studying law on his own, arguing cases before the local justice of the peace even before passing the state bar exam in , and getting his license in Lincoln also participated in Whig political functions, serving as secretary in the party's meetings.
Despite his political leanings, Abe attracted attention from leaders of the time.
Democrats allowed Lincoln's appointment probably because no local Democrat wanted the job, and, additionally, his determination to avoid partisan posturing made him acceptable to almost everyone in New Salem. In , Lincoln ran again for the state legislature, and this time he won. Even the Democrats supported him.
His strategy had worked: he issued no platform statement, made no promises, and gave few speeches. Instead, he shook hands, told jokes, and visited nearly every family in the county. He ran and won again in , , and Once in office, his Whig leanings came early to the front as he supported internal improvements and the chartering of a state bank. As a young legislator, Lincoln generally voted along Whig Party lines.
In , Lincoln took highly controversial position that foreshadowed his future political path, joining with five other legislators—out of eighty-three—to oppose a resolution condemning abolitionists. In , he responded to the death of the Illinois abolitionist and newspaper editor Elijah Parish Lovejoy, who was killed while defending his printing presses from a mob of pro-slavery citizens in Alton, Illinois.
In a statesmanlike manner, Lincoln gave a cautious speech at the Springfield Young Men's Lyceum, emphasizing the dangers to democracy and the rule of law when citizens use violence instead of votes and reason to have their way. In , with a keen political eye, Lincoln campaigned for the populist war hero and Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. In taking this position, Lincoln clearly appealed to the racism of the overwhelming majority of Illinois voters.
Like many other opponents of slavery, Lincoln, at this point, did not favor citizenship rights for blacks. After four terms in the state legislature, Lincoln left office in but returned to public life in to win the Whig nomination for a seat from the Illinois seventh congressional district to the U. House of Representatives. Ten days after the nomination, America went to war with Mexico.
During the months of the campaign, Lincoln said nothing about the Mexican-American War, which allowed him to win the district by a large majority. Once in office, however, Lincoln voiced his opinion on the conflict. Congressman Lincoln boldly challenged President James Polk's assertion that the Mexicans had started the war by attacking American soldiers on American soil.
In a speech on the House floor, Lincoln scathingly denounced the Polk administration for taking the country to war by misrepresenting the situation to the nation, claiming correctly that the conflict had begun on territory contested by the two sides. It was a blatant and public attack on a popular President by a young unknown congressman from a state that was solidly behind the war. Some of his friends were shocked at Lincoln's bold position, but his stand was common among congressional Whigs.
Lincoln earlier had promised not to run for a second term in order to win the party's nomination over two other aspiring candidates. He also had little chance as a Whig for election as a U. No Whig had ever obtained either position from Illinois. In , intent on keeping his name before the national audience, Lincoln campaigned in Maryland and Massachusetts for Whig presidential candidate Zachary Taylor.
Then he retired to Springfield, where he practiced law from to , becoming one of the more successful lawyers in the state, representing all kinds of clients, including railroad interests. Although elected in again to the state legislature, he promptly resigned to run for the U. Senate, losing on the ninth ballot in the state legislature which in those days chose U. After his defeat, Lincoln abandoned the defunct Whig Party and joined the new Republican Party in This new national party was comprised of many former Whigs who opposed slavery—referred to as "Conscience Whigs"—Free-Soilers, and antislavery Democrats.
The Republicans took a firm stand against slavery. They were dedicated to the repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the prevention of the further extension of slavery westward. The new party also demanded the immediate admission of Kansas into the Union as a free state, denounced the Ostend Manifesto, which called for the annexation of Cuba where slavery was legal , and called for federal support of internal improvements-especially the construction of a railroad to the Pacific.
As a favorite-son candidate from Illinois, Lincoln was placed in nomination for vice president but failed to win at the convention in Philadelphia. He thereafter aggressively stumped the state in support of John C. Although the Democratic candidate James Buchanan won the election and carried Illinois, Lincoln's Republican Party did surprisingly well, winning most of the northern counties and 30 percent of the popular vote. This put him head-to-head in a race with the powerful Senator Stephen A.
Douglas, one of Lincoln's rivals from his days in the Illinois state capital, who was running for a third term as a Democrat. There followed a series of seven debates between Lincoln and Douglas in towns across Illinois over the next seventy days. Several factors helped to attract national attention to the campaign battles. First, Douglas, one of the key figures behind the Compromise of , enjoyed a reputation as the "Little Giant" of the Democratic Party and its best stump speaker.
Second, the national debate over slavery was reaching a boiling point. During the four years leading up to these historic debates, Americans had witnessed some incredibly violent and explosive events that were sharply dividing the nation. Responding to the fervor, journalists accompanied the candidates, writing articles detailing the debates and offering editorial commentary that was unprecedented in American political history. The whole country watched the debates unfold. A leader of the Democratic Party, Douglas had made himself politically vulnerable when he broke with Democratic President James Buchanan and Southern Democrats over the issue of Kansas statehood.
Douglas opposed the admission of Kansas as a slave state under the terms of the controversial, proslavery Lecompton constitution. That constitution, which was widely believed to have been the result of voter fraud by Missouri "border ruffians," would have legalized slavery in the new state.
Douglas, hoping to appeal to antislavery Northern Democrats and Republicans, took a popular sovereignty stance and opposed the constitution as unrepresentative of the majority opinion in Kansas. Enraged Southern Democrats accused Douglas of party treason. Lincoln understood that he would have to take a high moral ground to undermine the temptation of some Republicans to vote for Douglas as a means of dividing the national Democratic Party.
Recognized as one of the most important speeches in American history, his powerful message warned that the crisis over slavery would not be resolved until the nation stood either completely slave or totally free. He then turned on Douglas by saying that the threat to the nation's unity came principally from Douglas's popular sovereignty perspective. Lincoln envisioned a dozen "Bleeding Kansas" episodes in which settlers fought over the issue of slavery in order to get the upper hand in the territories. Furthermore, Lincoln charged Douglas with being part of secret cabal to extend slavery to the free states.
Ten Best Abraham Lincoln Biographies
He boldly announced that slavery was simply immoral and had to be dealt with forthrightly by the U. For Lincoln, slavery violated the fundamental assertion of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. He argued that its continued existence and support in the nation ran counter to the wishes of the founding fathers. Ultimately, only the power of the federal government could resolve the issue by extinguishing slavery from the nation.
Although Lincoln contended that there existed no constitutional way of interfering with slavery where it presently existed, he believed that it should not be allowed to expand westward. For him, the matter was a question of right and wrong, with Douglas indifferent to a moral wrong. Douglas met the challenge by trying to portray Lincoln as a radical abolitionist. It is thought that this condition accounted for his height. The first words spoken at Lincoln's bedside after the president expired were "Now he belongs to the ages", spoken by his Secretary of War Edwin M.
Those words are written over Lincoln's grave. Robert Lincoln Beckwith, his last surviving descendant, died in He first spoke out against slavery in to the Illinois state legislature. Did not like the name Abraham or any variations, preferring instead to be called by his last name.
The Lincoln cent, issued in , was the first coin to have the likeness of an American on it. Mary Surratt, one of the conspirators involved in his death, was the first woman to be executed in the United States. His famous hat was often referred to as his "Filing cabinet" as he had a habit of keeping important papers and his mail book in it. Loved attending the theater. Wrote all of his own speeches including his famous "Gettysburg Address".
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He suffered from insomnia and would often roam the halls of the White House when he couldn't sleep. He invited black abolitionist Frederick Douglass to his second inauguration. When Douglass was refused entry by police, the president approached and proclaimed Douglass to be a friend. He was the first major American leader to advocate extending voting rights to women and wrote on the subject in He has more national parks named in his honor than any other President. Gave a speech about wanting to halt the further spread of slavery in July of The Civil War began in April of that year.
In , was on the short list of possible vice presidential nominees to run with John Charles Fremont - the first-ever Republican candidate for President of the United States. The only non-British citizen to have a statue in parliament square in London. Samuel J.
Seymour was in the audience at Ford's Theater when Lincoln was assassinated. Five years old at the time, when he appeared on I've Got a Secret: Episode dated 8 February to tell his story, Seymour was the last living person to have witnessed the assassination. Was a wrestler in his youth. In one fight, He lifted his opponent clear off the ground by the throat and slammed him onto the ground again.
This move would later be known as the "chokeslam". His wife had a long history of mental health issues and spent much time in institutions. She is believed to have suffered from Narcissistic Personality disorder. Queen Victoria wrote a letter of condolence to Lincoln's widow upon learning of his assassination. Ironically, Great Britain backed the southern states, its main trading partners, in the Civil War. Inducted into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in inaugural class.
On the night he was assassination, his vice-president, Andrew Johnson who succeeded him was also a target for assassination as well as it was discovered later. If Booth's conspirator had succeeded to kill Johnson, then the then-President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Lafayette Foster, would've been the one to be sworn in as President As at the time, the position was next-in-line in succession after the Vice-President. It has been my experience that people who have no vices have very few virtues. America will never be destroyed from the outside.
If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was. Everything I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. He will have to learn, I know, that all people are not just- that all men and women are not true.
Teach him that for every scoundrel there is a hero that for every enemy there is a friend. Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest people to lick. I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.
A Brief Biography of Abraham Lincoln
I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know who his grandson will be. No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to men. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book. As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Things may come to those who wait. But only the things left by those who hustle.
That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time. Quarrel not at all.
No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford to take all the consequences, including the vitiating of his temper and loss of self-control. I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.