Biography (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Lincoln is generally considered to have been the outstanding figure responsible for the preservation of the federal Union.
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, on the Sinking Spring Place, a farm three miles south of Hodgenville, Kentucky. His mother was the former Nancy Hanks, and his father was Thomas Lincoln, both natives of Virginia whose parents had taken them into the Kentucky wilderness at an early age. Thomas Lincoln was a farmer and a carpenter. In the spring of 1811, they moved to the nearby Knob Creek Farm.
The future president had a brother, Thomas, who died in infancy. His sister, Sarah (called Sally), was two years older than he. Much has been made in literature of his log-cabin birth and the poverty and degradation of Lincoln’s childhood, but his father—a skilled carpenter—was never abjectly poor. The boy, however, did not aspire to become either a farmer or a carpenter. A highly intelligent and inquisitive youth, he considered many vocations before he decided upon the practice of law.
In Kentucky during his first seven years, and in Indiana until he became an adult, Lincoln received only the rudiments of a formal education, about a year in total. Still, he was able to read, write, and speak effectively, largely through self-education and regular practice. He grew to be approximately six feet, four inches tall and 185 pounds in weight. He...
(The entire section is 2491 words.)
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Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Abraham Lincoln has long been a fascinating subject for biographers and critics; in fact, the sixteenth president of the United States has probably inspired more published comment and analysis than any other American. Yet despite this close scrutiny, which has uncovered many details of his life and character, the investigation of Lincoln’s heritage and training fails to account for his facility in statesmanship or his eloquence as spokesman of a troubled time.
Lincoln was born in a log cabin in what is now Larue County, Kentucky. His pioneer parents were unlettered and undistinguished; it is ironic that their illiteracy should produce one of the most expressive voices of American history. Little is known of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, although a large measure of that mental and spiritual vigor discernible in her son is popularly supposed to have been derived from her. Thomas Lincoln, his father, was an unsuccessful carpenter and farmer with a reputation for instability and indecision.
In 1816 Lincoln’s family moved to Indiana, where life was even more sparse and uncomfortable than it had been in Kentucky. There, when Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died. A year later Thomas Lincoln wed Sarah Bush Johnston, a sensible, energetic widow who brought some order to the chaotic household and inspired in the young Lincoln a warm and lasting affection. During a brief, one-year brush with formal schooling, Lincoln gained an elementary knowledge of...
(The entire section is 1058 words.)
Biography (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: As president of the United States, Lincoln directed the Northern war effort during the American Civil War. His abilities and unshakable commitment to preserving the Union mark him as one of the nation’s greatest leaders.
Abraham Lincoln made full use of his vast war powers as commander in chief throughout the American Civil War (1861-1865), perhaps most notably with the Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863). Recognizing that the war would be a protracted struggle, Lincoln formulated a strategy designed to utilize most effectively the North’s superior resources. Despite his lack of military experience, he had a clearer conception of Union strategy than the officers he commanded. He constantly urged them to use all their men in battle, to advance simultaneously, and to focus on fighting opposing armies rather than capturing places. Most Union military leaders, schooled in Jominian doctrines, ignored his advice.
Early on, Lincoln deferred too readily to his generals; however, by late 1862, he resolved he would change commanders until he had the men who would bring him victories. He still made mistakes in his appointments, but in 1864, he found a man to lead his armies who shared his strategic views and would without complaint...
(The entire section is 312 words.)
IntroductionAbraham Lincoln is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest heroes and one of its sharpest political minds. Born into frontier obscurity and raised in a log cabin, Lincoln rose quickly in society from a backwoods rail-splitter to a militia captain in the Blackhawk War. Later, his law career led him into politics and he entered the public spotlight in a U.S. Senate race that centered on the future of slavery in America. Lincoln went on to become the first Republican president and his election led to Southern secession and the Civil War. A shrewd politician, Lincoln managed to lead the North to victory and laid the foundation for the abolition of slavery, but he would not live to see his country reunited. He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater just days after the end of the war.
- In 1860, Lincoln became the first Republican candidate for U.S. president.
- After the battle of Antietam in 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the states that were still in rebellion on January 1st 1863.
- In November 1863, Lincoln delivered his “Gettysburg Address” at the dedication of the national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
- Lincoln first appeared on the $5 bill in 1914.
- Lincoln lost all but one of his young children during his tenure in office and suffered bouts of deep depression throughout his presidency.
American Civil War (Magill's Guide to Military History)
Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction (Slavery Almanac)
U.S. Civil War