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Abraham Lincoln - with Periodic Presidents 

No other president, other than George Washington, has achieved the level of popularity and admiration from the American people and scholars as Lincoln. The self-taught attorney was born into poverty in a cabin in Kentucky in 1809, and began his political career as a member of the Whig party. Lincoln’s political resume before becoming President is not extraordinary. His only political experience before getting elected president in 1860 was serving in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1834-1842, and then getting elected to a single term to the US House of Representatives in 1847.  Lincoln’s political stock rose greatly after running against famed senator, “the little giant” Stephen Douglas, for an Illinois senate seat in 1858. Although he did not win the election, the Lincoln/Douglas debates that took place during the campaign helped to establish Lincoln as a national figure, and paved the way to the Republican nomination in 1860


The 1860 presidential election was one of the most important elections in History, and Lincoln won the presidency despite not even appearing on ballots in the deep south. Lincoln came into the presidency in the worst position imaginable, as seven southern states seceded from the Union prior to his inauguration. After Confederate forces attacked Union forces at Fort Sumter in April of 1861, four more states, including Virginia seceded, and the Civil War was started. Lincoln’s first term was dominated by managing the Civil War and shuffling Union leadership, and political complexities brought on by the war. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 which declared all people held in slavery in Confederate territory to be free, and shifted the Northern focus of the war. Following the bloodiest battle in American History, The Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Lincoln gave one of the most famous speeches in History , the Gettysburg Address. The battle of Gettysburg was also the turning point of the war, and helped by Northern momentum, Lincoln easily defeated former Union General George McClellan in 1864. 


The Civil War was effectively over following Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox in April of 1865. Tragically, days later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth on April 15, 1865. Lincoln was the first president in history to be murdered, and the second president to die in office. Lincoln was seen as a martyr, and transcended from president, to a national hero.

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