Abraham Lincoln 4 Essay, Research Paper
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Kentucky. When
he was two, the Lincoln s moved a few miles to another farm on the old
Cumberland Trail. A year later, his mother gave birth to another boy,
Thomas, but he died a few days later. When Lincoln was seven his family
moved to Indiana. In 1818, Lincoln s mother died from a deadly disease
called the milk-sick. Then ten years later his sister died and left him with
only his father and stepmother.
Lincoln traveled to New Salem in April 1831 and settled there the
following July. In the fall of 1836 he and Mrs. Bennett Abell had a deal
that if she brought her single sister to New Salem he had to promise to
marry her. When she arrived he was not to pleased with her because her
skin was full of fat. Around seven months later he asked Mrs. Orville
Browning to marry him but she said no. Lincoln met his wife to be, Mary
Todd, at the grand cotillion in honor of the completion of the new capital
building in 1839. They got engaged and a while later he broke off the
engagement because she was seeing other men. Around a year later in
Springfield on November 4, 1842 Abraham and Mary got married. In 1844,
Abraham and his wife were able to purchase their own house in
Springfield. It was a one-and-a-half story frame cottage. In May 1843,
the Lincoln s had a son and named him Robert, after the addition to the
family they made the house a full two story house. Lincoln had three
more sons Edward Baker, William Wallace, and Thomas. Edward died at
the age of three, the cause of death was either consumption or
In 1832 Lincoln announced himself a candidate for the state
legislature but he was defeated. Then a year later he was appointed
postmaster of New Salem and in the fall he became deputy county
surveyor. He really wanted a seat in the Illinois legislature so he ran again
and was elected with bipartisan support.
Lincoln was very interested in being a lawyer, he would walk fifteen
miles just to watch the court cases in Boonville, Indiana. Lincoln got a
license to practice law after several hard years of teaching himself. By
the early 1850s, the Lincoln-Herndon law office had become a leading
Chairman of the Senate s Committee on Territories, Stephen A.
Douglas of Illinois came out with a new congressional act. Lincoln
thought the Kansas-Nebraska Act was just wrong. In the summer of 1854
Lincoln decided to campaign for a position in the Illinois State Assembly.
In November he won but resigned because he wanted a seat in the
United States Senate, where he thought he could make a real difference.
He was defeated by Lyman Trumbull but in 1856, Lincoln was helping to
create a new political party in Illinois called the Republicans. The new
party s first and primary goal was to prevent Democrat James Buchanan
from winning the Presidency, it failed. Then two days after Buchanan s
inauguration the Supreme Court ruled the Missouri Compromise
unconstitutional and denied that Negros could never be considered
American citizens. On June 16, 1858 the Illinois State Republican
Convention nominated Lincoln to run against Stephen Douglas for the
United States Senate. The seven Lincoln-Douglas debates during the late
summer and fall of 1858 were the highlight of the campaign, in towns all
over the state. Ten thousand people attended the opening three-hour
debate in Ottawa, Illinois, and there were fifteen thousand at the second
in Freeport. Douglas won the Senate race, but the debates launched
Lincoln on his own path to presidency.
In 1861, on March 4 Lincoln was inaugurated as President. Lincoln s
first official act was the appointment of John G. Nicolay as his private
secretary. One month after he had taken office he got word that the 6th
Massachusetts Infantry was on its way to defend Washington, which had
been attacked by a Baltimore mob leaving thirteen people dead.
In May of 1861 Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas joined the
Confederacy. The first important battle of the war takes place near
Manassas along a sluggish creek called Bull Run, 20 miles southwest of
Washington. The battle killed 847 people and more than 2,500 were
Lincoln felt for the slaves and tried to do alot to help them out by
signing a law giving freedom to slaves who are being used by
Confederates to help in the war effort.
On February 20, 1862 the Lincoln s eleven-year-old son, Willie died
of bilious fever. He died in the Prince of Wales Room in the White House.
The first White House funeral for a child was conducted in the East Room,
he was buried in a borrowed vault at Georgetown s Oak Hill Cemetery.
Lincoln was so heart broken he went to the cemetery twice the week
after he died and opened the coffin and looked at his son.
On July 11, 1862 paper currency was approved. Secretary of the
Treasurer Chase, put his own picture on it instead of Lincoln s. A day later
Lincoln signed a bill creating the Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Battle of Antietam happened on September 17, 1862 and it
was fought in the countryside near the small Maryland town of
Sharpsburg and along the Antietam Creek. It killed and wounded 26,000
men, it was and still is the single bloodiest day in all of American History.
The Sioux Indians were starving and mad that they were taken from
their land and killed more than 200 settlers in one day. They held trials for
two months to decide upon the fate of the Indians. They decided to
execute 303 Indians. Lincoln disliked most of the death sentences and
cut the number of Indians being executed down to the thirty-nine he
thought were the most guilty, but on December 26 in Mankato, Minnesota
thirty-eight Indians were hung.
On September 22, 1862 Lincoln announced his preliminary
Emancipation Proclamation to his entire Cabinet. The proclamation
promised that on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord, one
thousand-eight hundred and sixty three, all persons held as slaves shall be
then, thenceforth and forever free. Then on January 1, 1863 Lincoln
signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it did not only declare slaves free
but also that blacks will be received into the armed services of the
The eighty-seventh anniversary of the Declaration of
Independence was a mournful holiday for some but a sigh of relief for
others. In a terrible three day battle between the Union and
Confederate Armies a total of 51,000 men were killed. At the funeral for
the men that had died in the battle, he gave the Gettysburg Address.
On the morning of April 14, 1865 Lincoln woke up in the best mood
he had been in for four months. The President was happy his son was
home and that the war was finally over. He usually had his hair flying in
every direction possible but that morning it was neatly combed. Lincoln
usually has a solitary egg but instead he and his family had a enjoyable
breakfast. What Lincoln did not know is that his assassination was being
planned on this joyous day.
John Wilkes Booth s hatred of Lincoln and the North grew so intense
he couldn t handle it any more, he had to do something about it. He
believed the country was for the white man not for the black. The first
idea he had was to kidnap the President but he needed help. The first to
join him in the kidnapping were his old friends, Sam Arnold and Michael
O Laughlin. He then added John Surratt to his team, whose mother was
keeping a Washington boardinghouse. Then David Herold and George
Atzerodt joined Booth in his quest to kidnap Lincoln. The most brutal to join
Booth was Lewis Powell. Once Booth spoke a word of murdering Lincoln,
Arnold and O Laughlin did not want to be a part of this any more. Booth
just replaced them with Mary Surratt, she was going to run errands and
messages for him and John Lloyd, he was going to supply the rifles for him
and his clan, Edman Spangler was a scene-shifter at Ford s Theater, and
Dr. Samuel Mudd. Booth s plan was to capture and then smuggle Lincoln
across the Potomac River into Confederate hands and they would use
him to blackmail the North into coming to terms. On the day the war
ended Booth was angry and found out Lincoln was to be attending the
theater and his was out to murder. During the afternoon he went to
Ford s Theater, climbed up to the President s box, made a peephole, then
fashioned a simple wooden doorjamb that would lock the box from the
inside. Booth had planned not only to assassinate the President but also
to have Secretary of State Seward and Vice President Johnson killed.
On the evening of April 14, 1865 Lincoln accompanied his wife and
their guests, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancee, Clara Harris, to Ford s
Theater to see the comedy Our American Cousin. Shortly after 10 P.M.
John Wilkes Booth entered the Presidential box and fired a pistol at the
left side of Lincoln s head as he was looking to his left. Booth then
stabbed Rathbone and then leaped onto the stage, shouting Sic
semper tyrannis . He broke a small bone in his leg from the jump but still
made an escape. Lincoln was fatally wounded and was taken to a
house across the street. Seward was stabbed by Lewis Paine but
recovered and Johnson s intended assassin, George A. Atzerodt made no
attempt on the Vice President s life. Lincoln s family and members of the
cabinet gathered in the room around the President, he never regained
consciousness and died at 7:22 the next morning. Private funeral
ceremonies were held in the East Room of the White House on April 19.
They put his body in the U.S. Capital were the public could come and pay
their last respects. On April 21, a special funeral train began the journey
back to Springfield, making stops in several cities along the way. The train
arrived in Springfield on May 3, 1865, and Lincoln was buried there in a
hillside tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
On April 26, 1865, Booth was shot and killed by federal troops who
cornered him in a burning barn near Port Royal, Virginia. Seven men and
one woman were arrested as accomplices to Booth. Herold, Paine, and
Atzerodt were the most active accomplices and were sentenced to
death by hanging. O Laughlin, Arnold, Dr. Mudd were unjustly accused
with helping plan the murder, but got life sentences. Edman Spangler got
six years and Mary Surratt was sentenced to death for having Booth s riffle
waiting for him that night. On July 7, the three men and one woman
Lincoln did not stay buried at the Oak Ridge Cemetery. His body
was kidnapped by a band of ransom-hungry grave robbers, therefore, his
body was moved around for the next 36 years. Lincoln was then buried
at a spacious memorial of eight acres but grave robbers struck again and
as the coffin was half out the police showed up. Under Robert Lincoln s
instructions a hole thirteen feet deep was dug below the main catacomb
floor, a four-foot base of cement was laid and an iron cage sunk into it.
The coffin would be lowered into the cage and cement poured, creating
a block eight feet deep. Finally, Abraham Lincoln can rest in peace.