About 16. Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.
- President: 1861–1865
- Vice Presidents: Hannibal Hamlin, Andrew Johnson
- Political party: Republican
- Age at inauguration: 52
- Born: February 12, 1809, in Hodgenville, Hardin County, Kentucky
- Died: April 15, 1865. Lincoln died the morning after being shot at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.
- Married: Mary Todd Lincoln
- Children: Robert, Edward, William, Thomas
- Nickname: Honest Abe
Abraham Lincoln as a Boy
Abraham Lincoln grew up in a small, one-room log cabin in Kentucky. He was the son of two farmers who were illiterate, which means they did not know how to read. He had a brother and a sister who both died when they were babies. His life as a young boy was hard. His family was very poor. His father farmed and hunted for food. One time, Abraham Lincoln went out onto their land and shot a wild turkey, but killing the bird made him so sad that he never hunted again.
Abraham Lincoln taught himself to read. He would often walk miles and miles to borrow books from his friends and neighbors. He went to school sometimes, but mostly, he taught himself. He would do odd jobs in town and on other people’s farms to earn money.
Before He Became President
When Lincoln was 21, his family moved to Illinois. This is where he spent most of his time until he became president. Lincoln did many things. He worked for the railroad. He owned two stores, but they both went out of business. After the failure of his businesses, he became a successful lawyer. He then became a politician where he held many political positions. Eventually, he became a member of the United States Congress. This is a branch of our government. In 1860, he became the 16th president of the United States.
Lincoln and the Civil War
The United States was in turmoil. The Southern states were unhappy with how the government was being run. One of the biggest issues of the time was slavery. Many people in the country wanted slavery to be outlawed, and many others wanted slavery to continue. This divided the country. Finally, the states in the South seceded (they left) the United States and formed their own government. They called the new government the Confederacy of America.
This division in the country caused a war. The Southern states formed the Confederacy, and the Northern states were the Union. This was called the Civil War. It was a terrible war with many bloody battles. Many people died in the war. The Union, which was led by Abraham Lincoln, won the war. The country was at peace again.
Abraham Lincoln is most famous for ending slavery in the United States. During the war, he gave an order called the Emancipation Proclamation. This order freed the slaves in the Confederate states that were fighting in the Civil War. Slaves were not free in all U.S. states until Congress voted on and passed the 13th Amendment. An amendment is when our leaders in Congress are trying to change a law. The 13th Amendment would outlaw slavery. Congress did pass the 13th ammendment, and after that, slavery in the United States was officially against the law.
Even though Congress outlawed slavery, there would still be more work to do to ensure that black people in the U.S. had equal rights.
There were still many people unhappy about the outlawing of slavery and the loss of the war. One of these people was a man named John Wilkes Booth. One night in 1865, while Abraham Lincoln was at a theater watching a play, Booth snuck up behind him and shot him in the back of the head. Lincoln died the next day. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be killed in office.
How Lincoln Is Remembered Today
Many people think that Abraham Lincoln was our best president. He led the country through a very difficult time. He did great things as president, but the most important was freeing the slaves.
Lincoln is still remembered. You can see his face on the penny, the $5 bill, stamps, and statues. One of the most famous statues in Washington, D.C., is the Lincoln Memorial. He is even in the movies.
Abraham Lincoln stood for honesty, hard work, and doing the right thing. He is a good role model for all of us.
Facts about Abraham Lincoln
- Lincoln was the tallest U.S. president. He stood 6 feet 4 inches tall.
- The tall hat that he wore was called a "stovepipe" hat. It was so tall that he would keep notes, letters, even money in it.
- It was Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a national holiday.
- Abraham Lincoln was the first president to have a beard.
- Lincoln was like most of us. He hated to go to the dentist.
- Abraham was very funny. He would tell jokes all the time.