Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) became the sixteenth president of the United States in 1861. He led the United States during the Civil War (1861-1865).


Lincoln was born in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky. He went to school for less than a year, but he learned to read, and he loved books. He started a store in New Salem, Illinois, but it failed. He studied law, became a lawyer, and moved to Springfield.


In 1858, Lincoln ran for Congress against Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas. He and Douglas debated, or argued, about slavery. In some states, people kept slaves. In others, slavery was against the law. Lincoln said that slavery was evil. He wanted to end slavery. Douglas said that people should vote on whether or not there should be slavery. Douglas won the election, but Lincoln became well known.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
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Abraham Lincoln


In 1860, Lincoln ran for president. He won easily, but several Southern States left the Union—the United States. The Civil War broke out early in 1861. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln said that slaves in states that had left the Union were free. In 1863, Lincoln also spoke at a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. His short speech, known as Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, became famous.


In 1864, Union troops were winning. Lincoln was elected again. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered. The Civil War was over.


On April 14, only five days after the war ended, Lincoln went to see a play. He was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor. Lincoln died the following day and was buried in Springfield, Illinois.