LINCOLN, Abraham

Born: February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky, United States

Died: April 15, 1865, in Washington, D.C., United States

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States. He was responsible for legally abolishing slavery and led the Union to victory during the Civil War.

He was the son of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, who were both illiterate. He was born in a log cabin, typical of the pioneer days. His father was an unsuccessful carpenter and farmer. His mother died when he was very young, but he became very close to the woman his father remarried.

Lincoln was given very little formal education. However, his hard-working character and thirst for knowledge created in Lincoln an eloquent orator, as seen in the speech for which he is famous, the Gettysburg Address.

After leaving home, Lincoln took up various forms of employment, from rail splitting to postmaster. He went into partnership as a storekeeper, but the business venture failed when his partner died. Lincoln's dedication to paying off the business debts earned him a reputation as an honest man.

After completing law studies, Lincoln developed a successful law practice and launched his political career. He married Mary Todd and, together, they had four children.

He became president in 1860 at the height of the Confederacy conflict. During his presidency, he ended the Civil War and put an end to legalized slavery. He was a clear, concise, poetic speaker whose words appealed to a diversity of audiences.

His life ended when John Wilkes Booth assassinated him just days after the end of the Civil War.