Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, 1861-1865.
Portrait is Oil on Canvas, by William Willard. Smithsonian Institute.
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Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) was an American lawyer
and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861
until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American
Civil War, and succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery,
bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.
Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin and was raised
on the frontier primarily in Indiana. He was self-educated and became a lawyer.
In 1849, he returned to his law practice but became vexed by the opening of
additional lands to slavery as a result of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. He
reentered politics in 1854, becoming a leader in the new Republican Party, and
he reached a national audience in the 1858 debates. Lincoln ran for President in
1860, sweeping the North in victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South equated
his success with the North's rejection of their right to practice slavery, and
southern states began seceding from the Union. To secure its independence, the
new Confederate States fired on Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort in the South, and
Lincoln called up forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union.
He engineered the end to slavery with his Emancipation
Proclamation, including his order that the Army and Navy liberate, protect, and
recruit former slaves. He also promoted the Thirteenth Amendment to the United
States Constitution, which outlawed slavery across the country.
Lincoln managed his own successful re-election campaign. He
sought to heal the war-torn nation through reconciliation. On April 14, 1865,
just days after the war's end at Appomattox, he was attending a play at Ford's
Theater in Washington, D.C., with his wife when he was fatally shot by
Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln is remembered as a martyr
and hero of the United States and is consistently ranked as one of the greatest
presidents in American history.