Category: US President
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) was the 16th President. He presided over the American Civil War, in which over 600,000 people died.
About the President
Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky. He had around a year and a half of formal schooling and was otherwise home-schooled by his mother. Abraham Lincoln served briefly in the Illinois Militia, but not in the Mexican American War.
Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln had four sons together. Only Robert Todd Lincoln survived to adulthood.
Abraham Lincoln was elected to the Illinois legislature in 1834. Abraham Lincoln was originally a Whig Party leader. He became a Republican in 1854.
Abraham Lincoln’s business and political life was a mixture of successes and failures. Abraham Lincoln failed as a Republican Vice Presidential candidate in 1856. He lost a Senate race to Stephen Douglas in 1858. Abraham Lincoln won the Presidential Election in 1860 with 180 electoral votes. He won re-election in 1864 with 212 electoral votes. His opponent in the 1864 election was George McClellan.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865 by then-famous actor John Wilkes Booth.
Major Policies and Actions
Abraham Lincoln was not an abolitionist, though he thought slavery was wrong. He wanted to work within the Constitution, which permitted slavery by not expressly address the matter. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in states that had seceded but were not under northern control. This proclamation was not done on moral grounds but to help the Union. The thousands of slaves who had fled the South to the North or simply made it across Union lines were now free. The fugitive slave laws were no longer applicable. Abraham Lincoln hoped to recruit these newly freed individuals into the Union, as well as intended to weaken the Confederacy by undermining the institution of slavery.
The Proclamation did have the desired military effect. By the end of the Civil War, 200,000 black men had joined the Union Army and Navy. A much smaller number of blacks served in the Confederate armed forces, some promised freedom for service while others saw themselves as defending their states from an invading army. This helped turn the tide of the war. The Civil War did impact the states versus national debate in favor of the national.
Another impact of the Emancipation Proclamation was shifting the goals of the war. It was not just a fight of states rights versus nationalism, regional interests (and trade conflicts) over national interests, but a broader fight for freedom.
The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to seceded states not under Northern control. This meant that the Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to southern states that had stayed loyal to the Union: Delaware, Maryland, Missouri and Kentucky. The proclamation also did not apply in areas in the South that were under Union control, so some slave owners who cooperated with the Union were not affected by the order.
It was the 13th Amendment, ratified on December 18, 1865, which abolished slavery throughout the entire country.
Historical Events during His Presidency
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) is best known for presiding over the American Civil War. The Confederacy (CSA) was formed on February 9, 1861 with Jefferson Davis as President. Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on March 9, 1861. The capitals of these two presidents were less than a hundred miles apart.
The war started on April 12, 1861 when the Confederates opened fire on Fort Sumter. On April 15, Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 militiamen. When the war began
eleven states ceded. Robert E. Lee declined the command of the Union Army and took up command of the forces of Virginia, his home state.
Robert Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln, was not present when his father was assassinated but there when his father died. Robert Lincoln witnessed the assassination of President Garfield. Robert Lincoln was invited to an event with President McKinley; McKinley had been shot by the time Lincoln arrived. When Theodore Roosevelt invited Robert Lincoln to the White House, he declined, stating that there is a certain fatality of presidential functions when I am present.
Young Robert Todd Lincoln’s life was saved by actor Edwin Booth, the brother of his father Abraham Lincoln’s assassin.
Lincoln was the only president to have a patent.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) made Thanksgiving a national holiday.