He is called by a couple of names, such as ‘Honest Abe’ and ‘The Great Emancipator’. But he is most known as Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. Lovingly remembered for his abolition of slavery, Lincoln’s kind and gentle persona continues to set an example to this day.
Born into humble roots, he mostly taught himself and showed an ardent love for learning and reading. Abraham Lincoln suffered much loss during his lifetime. However, that did not deter his spirit nor did it cast doubt upon his beliefs. That’s why he is considered to be the savior of the Union – as well as one of the great American heroes.
Abraham Lincoln: Younger Years
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 to parents Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln in a simple log cabin in Kentucky. He had two other siblings: Sarah, his older sister, and a younger brother Thomas, who died during the early years of infancy. A land dispute forced the family to move from Kentucky to Indiana when Abe was only seven.
In 1816, they settled in Hurricane Township, Perry County. Abe’s father, Thomas, tried different trades including working as a farmer, cabinetmaker, and carpenter. He was also able to secure acres of land, despite obvious financial struggles faced by the family. It was in Indiana that Abraham Lincoln would experience one of the first hardships in his life.
In 1818, his mother Nancy died of milk sickness, also known as tremetol poisoning. Milk sickness is a type of poisoning that happens when an individual consumes milk (or other dairy products) contaminated with tremetol that comes from the white snakeroot plant. About a year later, Abe’s father married the widow, Sarah “Sally” Bush Johnston, with three children of her own.
As she was an affectionate woman, Abe grew fond of her, even calling her ‘Mother’. It was she who encouraged Abraham Lincoln’s love for reading. Though neighbors would criticize Abe for being ‘lazy’ because he preferred reading and writing, he persevered. A few of the books he had read in his youth included the King James Bible, Aesop’s Fables, Pilgrim’s Progress, Robinson Crusoe, and The Life of Washington.
As he grew to be rather tall and athletic, Abe also participated in wrestling matches. In fact, out of 300 matches, he was only defeated once. When the family moved to Illinois in 1830, he was able to get by on his own by making a living in manual labor. Eventually, Abraham Lincoln moved to New Salem where he worked as a shopkeeper, postmaster, and even general store owner.
Abraham Lincoln: Later Life
Working with different jobs and different people, Abraham Lincoln was able to practice his storytelling skills, making him popular to local folk. By the time that the Black Hawk War broke out in 1832, he was able to make important political connections. When he was elected to the Illinois state legislature, in 1834, he decided to become a lawyer and eventually practiced in the John T. Stuart law firm when he moved to Springfield, Illinois.
Abe had quite a few romantic relations in his younger years, but married Mary Todd in November 1842. She was a high-spirited woman from a wealthy Kentucky family. They had four children – but only one survived into adulthood: Robert Todd Lincoln.
When the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed in 1854, Abraham Lincoln’s stand on slavery was awakened once more. He joined the Republican Party in 1856. Despite some challenges in his political career, he was eventually elected president on November 6, 1860.
Unfortunately, his service to the country was cut short when he was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth. He was shot while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre. Abraham Lincoln was pronounced dead on the morning of April 15, 1865.
Honest Abe’s principles and strength of character is a great inspiration to anyone at any age. Through these powerful Abraham Lincoln quotes, may you find the same strength to withstand hardships and rise above challenges in life.
30 Powerful Abraham Lincoln Quotes on Democracy and Success