Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Kentucky. Whenhe was two, the Lincoln’s moved a few miles to another farm on the oldCumberland Trail. A year later, his mother gave birth to another boy,Thomas, but he died a few days later. When Lincoln was seven his familymoved to Indiana. In 1818, Lincoln’s mother died from a deadly diseasecalled the “milk-sick.” Then ten years later his sister died and left him withonly his father and stepmother. Lincoln traveled to New Salem in April 1831 and settled there thefollowing July.
In the fall of 1836 he and Mrs. Bennett Abell had a dealthat if she brought her single sister to New Salem he had to promise tomarry her. When she arrived he was not to pleased with her because herskin was full of fat. Around seven months later he asked Mrs. OrvilleBrowning to marry him but she said no. Lincoln met his wife to be, MaryTodd, at the grand cotillion in honor of the completion of the new capitalbuilding in 1839.
They got engaged and a while later he broke off theengagement because she was seeing other men. Around a year later inSpringfield on November 4, 1842 Abraham and Mary got married. In 1844,Abraham and his wife were able to purchase their own house inSpringfield. 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 thefamily they made the house a full two story house. Lincoln had threemore sons Edward Baker, William Wallace, and Thomas. Edward died atthe age of three, the cause of death was either consumption orpulmonary tuberculosis. In 1832 Lincoln announced himself a candidate for the statelegislature but he was defeated. Then a year later he was appointedpostmaster of New Salem and in the fall he became deputy countysurveyor. He really wanted a seat in the Illinois legislature so he ran againand was elected with bipartisan support. Lincoln was very interested in being a lawyer, he would walk fifteenmiles just to watch the court cases in Boonville, Indiana. Lincoln got alicense to practice law after several hard years of teaching himself. Bythe early 1850s, the Lincoln-Herndon law office had become a leadingSpringfield firm. Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Territories, Stephen A.
Douglas of Illinois came out with a new congressional act. Lincolnthought the Kansas-Nebraska Act was just wrong. In the summer of 1854Lincoln decided to campaign for a position in the Illinois State Assembly. In November he won but resigned because he wanted a seat in theUnited States Senate, where he thought he could make a real difference. He was defeated by Lyman Trumbull but in 1856, Lincoln was helping tocreate a new political party in Illinois called the Republicans. The newparty’s first and primary goal was to prevent Democrat James Buchananfrom winning the Presidency, it failed. Then two days after Buchanan’sinauguration the Supreme Court ruled the Missouri Compromise“unconstitutional” and denied that Negros could never be consideredAmerican citizens. On June 16, 1858 the Illinois State RepublicanConvention nominated Lincoln to run against Stephen Douglas for theUnited States Senate. The seven Lincoln-Douglas debates during the latesummer and fall of 1858 were the highlight of the campaign, in towns allover the state. Ten thousand people attended the opening three-hourdebate in Ottawa, Illinois, and there were fifteen thousand at the secondin Freeport. Douglas won the Senate race, but the debates launchedLincoln on his own path to presidency.
In 1861, on March 4 Lincoln was inaugurated as President. Lincoln’sfirst official act was the appointment of John G. Nicolay as his privatesecretary. One month after he had taken office he got word that the 6thMassachusetts Infantry was on its way to defend Washington, which hadbeen attacked by a Baltimore mob leaving thirteen people dead. In May of 1861 Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas joined theConfederacy. The first important battle of the war takes place nearManassas along a sluggish creek called Bull Run, 20 miles southwest ofWashington. The battle killed 847 people and more than 2,500 werewounded. Lincoln felt for the slaves and tried to do alot to help them out bysigning a law giving freedom to slaves who are being used byConfederates to help in the war effort. On February 20, 1862 the Lincoln’s eleven-year-old son, Willie diedof 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 weekafter he died and opened the coffin and looked at his son.
On July 11, 1862 paper currency was approved. Secretary of theTreasurer Chase, put his own picture on it instead of Lincoln’s. A day laterLincoln signed a bill creating the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Battle of Antietam happened on September 17, 1862 and itwas fought in the countryside near the small Maryland town ofSharpsburg and along the Antietam Creek. It killed and wounded 26,000men, 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 fromtheir land and killed more than 200 settlers in one day. They held trials fortwo months to decide upon the fate of the Indians. They decided toexecute 303 Indians. Lincoln disliked most of the death sentences andcut the number of Indians being executed down to the thirty-nine hethought were the most guilty, but on December 26 in Mankato, Minnesotathirty-eight Indians were hung. On September 22, 1862 Lincoln announced his preliminaryEmancipation Proclamation to his entire Cabinet. The proclamationpromised “that on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord, onethousand-eight hundred and sixty three, all persons held as slaves shall bethen, thenceforth and forever free.” Then on January 1, 1863 Lincolnsigned the Emancipation Proclamation, it did not only declare slaves freebut also that blacks “will be received into the armed services of theUnited States.”The eighty-seventh anniversary of the Declaration ofIndependence was a mournful holiday for some but a sigh of relief forothers. In a terrible three day battle between the Union andConfederate Armies a total of 51,000 men were killed. At the funeral forthe 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 moodhe had been in for four months. The President was happy his son washome and that the war was finally over. He usually had his hair flying inevery direction possible but that morning it was neatly combed. Lincolnusually has a solitary egg but instead he and his family had a enjoyablebreakfast. What Lincoln did not know is that his assassination was beingplanned on this joyous day. John Wilkes Booth’s hatred of Lincoln and the North grew so intensehe couldn’t handle it any more, he had to do something about it. Hebelieved the country was for the white man not for the black. The firstidea he had was to kidnap the President but he needed help. The first tojoin him in the kidnapping were his old friends, Sam Arnold and MichaelO’Laughlin. He then added John Surratt to his team, whose mother waskeeping a Washington boardinghouse. Then David Herold and GeorgeAtzerodt joined Booth in his quest to kidnap Lincoln. The most brutal to joinBooth 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. Boothjust replaced them with Mary Surratt, she was going to run errands andmessages for him and John Lloyd, he was going to supply the rifles for himand his clan, Edman Spangler was a scene-shifter at Ford’s Theater, andDr. Samuel Mudd. Booth’s plan was to capture and then smuggle Lincolnacross the Potomac River into Confederate hands and they would usehim to blackmail the North into coming to terms. On the day the warended Booth was angry and found out Lincoln was to be attending thetheater and his was out to murder. During the afternoon he went toFord’s Theater, climbed up to the President’s box, made a peephole, thenfashioned a simple wooden doorjamb that would lock the box from theinside.Booth had planned not only to assassinate the President but alsoto have Secretary of State Seward and Vice President Johnson killed. On the evening of April 14, 1865 Lincoln accompanied his wife andtheir guests, Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancee, Clara Harris, to Ford’sTheater to see the comedy Our American Cousin. Shortly after 10 P.M.
John Wilkes Booth entered the Presidential box and fired a pistol at theleft side of Lincoln’s head as he was looking to his left. Booth thenstabbed Rathbone and then leaped onto the stage, shouting “Sicsemper tyrannis”. He broke a small bone in his leg from the jump but stillmade an escape. Lincoln was fatally wounded and was taken to ahouse across the street. Seward was stabbed by Lewis Paine butrecovered and Johnson’s intended assassin, George A. Atzerodt made noattempt on the Vice President’s life. Lincoln’s family and members of thecabinet gathered in the room around the President, he never regainedconsciousness and died at 7:22 the next morning. Private funeralceremonies 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 paytheir last respects. On April 21, a special funeral train began the journeyback to Springfield, making stops in several cities along the way. The trainarrived in Springfield on May 3, 1865, and Lincoln was buried there in ahillside tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. On April 26, 1865, Booth was shot and killed by federal troops whocornered him in a burning barn near Port Royal, Virginia. Seven men andone woman were arrested as accomplices to Booth. Herold, Paine, andAtzerodt were the most active accomplices and were sentenced todeath by hanging. O’Laughlin, Arnold, Dr. Mudd were unjustly accusedwith helping plan the murder, but got life sentences. Edman Spangler gotsix years and Mary Surratt was sentenced to death for having Booth’s rifflewaiting for him that night. On July 7, the three men and one womanwere hung. Lincoln did not stay buried at the Oak Ridge Cemetery. His bodywas kidnapped by a band of ransom-hungry grave robbers, therefore, hisbody was moved around for the next 36 years. Lincoln was then buriedat a spacious memorial of eight acres but grave robbers struck again andas the coffin was half out the police showed up. Under Robert Lincoln’sinstructions a hole thirteen feet deep was dug below the main catacombfloor, 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, creatinga block eight feet deep. Finally, Abraham Lincoln can rest in peace.
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