Honest Abe (Abe Lincoln)

Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, is one of the greatest American Presidents. He is known today for his Presidency in which he fought the Confederacy during the Civil War and abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation and later the Thirteenth Amendment. He was an intelligent, honest, and just leader who governed at a critical time in American history.
Lincoln was born on the twelfth of February 1809 in a cabin three miles outside of Hodgenville, Kentucky. He was later forced to move to Indiana. As a child Lincoln worked on his family’s farm clearing fields and tending crops. He liked to read but unfortunately received hardly any formal education. In fact, his entire schooling only amounted to about one year of attendance. (Brit. 23) In 1830 Lincoln’s family moved to Illinois. Lincoln didn’t want to be a farmer, so he tried other professions: rail-splitter, flatboat man, storekeeper, postmaster, surveyor, an army man, and a profession in Law.
In 1932 Lincoln, at twenty-three years old, decided to run for the Illinois State legislature. Lincoln was to campaign for local improvements such as better roads and canals. However, a war with the Indians broke out before Lincoln’s campaign could get going. In response, he joined the Army. After his short wartime, Lincoln returned to politics and lost the race of Illinois Legislature. In 1834 he ran again and was elected- second of thirteen. At the age of 25 Lincoln was a member of the Illinois Legislature.
After his term in the legislature, Lincoln found he needed more money. So, he started studying law on his own. He accepted a job in Springfield at John Todd Stuart’s practice.
In the late 1830’s Lincoln found the love of his life, Mary Ann Todd, the daughter of a rich banker. She got engaged to Abe in 1840 and the two were married in 1842. They had thee children together, Willie and Tad Lincoln.
In 1946 Lincoln won the Whig nomination for a seat in the House of Representatives for Illinois and sat in Congress in 1847. The major issues of the time were the Mexican-American war, which Lincoln opposed, and slavery. Lincoln was not an anti-slavery crusader. However, he did vote in Congress to stop it from spreading. Morally, Lincoln hated slavery and said slaver was “founded on both injustice and bad policy.” He wanted to abolish slavery over time because he thought dramatic actions to end slavery would lead to violence. Lincoln felt that Congress should not interfere with slavery in states in which it already existed. After his term in Congress, Lincoln left politics again for a full time law practice.
In the early 1850’s Senator Stephen Douglas opened the issue of slavery in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska act, allowing the issue of slavery in Kansas and Nebraska to be decided by popular sovereignty. Lincoln was “thunderstruck and stunned.” This act brought him back into politics. He felt obligated to speak out against the Kansas-Nebraska act. So, after Lincoln left law he traveled across Illinois campaigning for anti-slavery Whigs. In his campaigning Lincoln called slavery a “cancer” and a “monstrous injustice.” He said he believed in the Declaration of Independence, which states “all men are created equal.” However, he wasn’t sure of what to do with slavery in the states where it already existed in.
In 1856, Lincoln switched from the Whig Party to the Republican Party because the Whigs were weak and could never unite against slavery. Lincoln felt that if he wanted to make a point he would have to be with a strong party.
In 1858, Lincoln won the Republican Nomination for the Illinois Senate seat. He wanted the seat of his long time rival, Senator Stephen Douglas. In Lincoln’s first speech for his Senate campaign Lincoln said, “I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.” Lincoln warned his opponents that the spread of slavery must be stopped or else it would become “lawful in all the states; old as well as new- north as well as south.”
In July of 1958, Lincoln challenged Senator Douglas to a series of seven three-hour, public debates. Thousands of people showed up to watch the Little Giant (Douglas) vs. Long Abe. Douglas fought for white supremacy.