Abe Lincoln Essay, Research Paper
The Life and Hardships of Abraham Lincoln
In the year 1809, the future sixteenth president and the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks was born, and was named Abraham after his grandfather. He was born into a one room log cabin in Kentucky made form logs and clay, and it sat right on the hard cold earth, with just a fireplace on one wall to keep them warm. In 1811, at the age of two, Abraham and his family moved to Knob Creek, where he first learned to plant, husk corn, hoe, chop wood, and build hearth fires.
Abe’s first schooling came at the age of six, when his older sister, Sarah, brought him to the schoolhouse two miles down the road, where he learned to read, write and do arithmetic. Because there were no close neighbors during his earlier years in life, Abe got used to being alone, though he did not mind because of his fondness of nature and the outdoors. Even his later years as a politician, did he remember his knowledge of nature and of the differences in the trees that he passed by in Washington.
In December of 1816, Thomas Lincoln moved the family to the backwoods of Indiana, but to get there they had to cut a trail themselves out of the wilderness in order to reach their destination. In the autumn of 1818 Abe’s mother Nancy died from “milk sickness”, and so young Sarah, who was only eleven, took over the chores of from her mother. A year later though, Thomas Lincoln found a second wife, in order to help around the house, named Sarah Bush Johnston, whom had three kids of her own. Abe and Sarah quickly grew to love their new stepmother, who kept an immaculate house and even pushed Abe to do his studies.
At age eleven, Abe was to required to go to school regularly when there was a teacher, and whenever this was, Abe got to walk a beautiful four miles each way which he did not mind. Though his lifetime of schooling never amounted to more than a year, he was always reading, which kept him up at the pace of the other kids who went to school all the time. Many called him lazy because of his constant reading and thinking, which just made Abe grin. By the time he was fifteen, he was a tall and strong boy who worked as a hired hand for other farms. But throughout his youth, reading was what inticed and excited Abe, so much so that once he even hiked twenty miles to borrow one book.
Always teaching himself new things, Abe got interested in law, when reading a book on the laws of Indiana. After that he went miles around to hear lawyers try cases, and even went all the way to Kentucky to see one. Every time he became more and more obsessed with law feeding his dreams of becoming a lawyer and a politician. At the age of nineteen, Abe get the chance to go on a boat to New Orleans, wear he first saw the auctioning of slaves. The sight of slaves in chains sickened him and the thought tormented him for the rest of his life.
In 1830 the Lincoln’s packed up their stuff and rode the two hundred mile journey to Illinois, forging rivers and creeks all the way, once Abe even risked his own life to save his dog from drowning. Once in Illinois, he immediately set out o split three thousand rails for fences, which later gave him his political nickname, “rail splitter”. A year later Thomas Lincoln moved again, but his time Abe stayed behind. He was 21 now, and ready to live his own life, so he moved to New Salem in Illinois where he lived for six years.
When the Black Hawk war broke out in 1832, Lincoln enlisted. He was elected leader of his rifle company, and this honor pleased him though he knew very little about military life. Just before the war, Abe had decided to run for the Illinois Legislature, which he continued to strive for after the war had ended. He did not win and in the process lost his store in New Salem, leaving him out of work. After a year of toilsome work, Abe was elected Illinois General Assembly in 1834, and was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. He soon became popular in the legislature, and by the time he was starting his second term, Abe was a skilled politician as well as a Whig party leader in Illinois. Encouraged by his friends in the legislature, Abe became determined to be a lawyer, which he did in 1836.
In 1837, Abe moved to Springfield as he pushed legislature to move the capital of Illinois to Springfield. By 1839 Lincoln had established himself a reputation as a lawyer in Springfield, and it was also at this time that he first met Mary Todd, who would soon become his wife. At the same time that Abraham Lincoln was courting Mary Todd, another prominent lawyer named Stephen Douglas was courting her as well. After a series of clashes between the two lawyers, Abe and Mary Todd were married in 1842, and they had their first child, Robert Todd that following year. Soon after they bought a house and had three other children, Edward, William and Thomas in 1846, ‘50 and ‘53. Sometimes, after a heated argument with his wife, Abe would go into a black and silent mood for hours or even days. Though when he thought of it, he would do anything to please Mary.
During the Mexican War in 1847, Abraham Lincoln went to Washington as a representative from Illinois because he opposed it. His speeches displeased his supporters and he knew they would not reelect him. After his term ended in 1849, Abe returned home to Springfield where he was offered the job of governship of the Oregon Territory, which he refused convinced that he was a failure in politics.
He returned to law for a period of time until the threat of slavery being extended brought him back to politics in 1854. Not wanting to cause another uprising against him by giving speeches against slavery where it already was, he concentrated on the area of Kansas and Nebraska because of the act that passed giving them the choice of slavery. In 1856 he helped develop the Illinois branch of the newly developed Republican Party, formed by people against the idea of slavery. He became the leading Republican in Illinois and was voted into the running for vice-presidency, which brought the attention of the nation onto Abraham Lincoln. This election was lost, but in 1858 Abe was nominated as the senator for Illinois. It was here in front of the state convention at Springfield, that he delivered one of many memorable speeches.
In 1860 Lincoln was nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency, in which he wanted dearly in this time of national crisis. Later that year he was elected the sixteenth president of the United States. This pushed the Southerners over the edge of succession, and then they began succeeding in late December of 1860 when South Carolina withdrew form the Union. Though President Lincoln’s expression of his not wanting to go to war over slavery, Civil War broke out in 1861, and Lincoln was forced to take on the responsibility of bringing the succeeded states back into the Union. Even during the trying times of the war did Lincoln , the good parent he is, talk to his kids and put the m to sleep at night, especially when it involved his favorite son, Tad.
Abe knew, that if the United States were to come together again, he would have to settle the slavery issue. In 1962 he announced the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that all slaves belonging to owners in the succeeded lands would be free as of January first 1962. In 1863 at Gettysburg, the only battle on Northern soil, the Union defeated the Confederacy, and later that year the battlefield was declared a national cemetery for all those that died there. At the dedication of this, President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg address that was awed by even Edward Everett, a noted orator who also spoke there that day.
The year of 1864 exhausted Abe Lincoln exhausted by the burden of the war and the sudden death of his son Willie in the White House. Preparing for his departure from the office of president, he was surprised when reelected, and when he gave his inaugural address in 1865, the end of the war was in sight. Little after his inauguration, Lincoln was assassinated and but a month later on April ninth 1865, did General Robert E. Lee surrender his army to the Union.
The great life of Abraham Lincoln was only polished off by his magnificence in the time of war, and the abolition of slavery. He was a great man in every sense of the word and showed his dignity and grace in everything he did. Not until much later was the legend of him solidified in the Lincoln monument, which now stands proudly in the nation capitol. Forever will he be in hearts, our souls and our lives.