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Abraham Lincoln's Life

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Abraham Lincoln began life as a farm boy. He did not come from a family who believed in education. Despite this, Abraham Lincoln read books and done whatever he could to educate himself. He was a man that believed in honesty and caring for other people. After learning many lessons in life and climbing the ladder of success, his fine qualities landed him as the United States of America's 16th President. He was successful in doing many great things for people and his community and eventually the United States. Abraham Lincoln was a self made man that rose mythically from humble beginnings to national greatness. (Gienapp, 2002). (Jenness, 2007).

He was embarrassed of his family background. He came from a poor family that was farmers. His life as a farm boy was spent doing chores, such as hauling water and chopping wood, and helping in the fields. His mother died when Abraham Lincoln was 9. His father eventually married and he was very close to his stepmother. Unlike his father, she encouraged Abraham Lincoln to continue on with his education and reading. His father considered Abraham to be lazy because of his reading. Abraham's father notably favored his stepson and was known to be mean to Abraham Lincoln. Abraham read even more as a form of rebellion to his father. He hated farm work and his father resented him for this. Abraham Lincoln's hatred for this type of work and his father's attitude towards him influenced him to work even harder to learn to read and to educate himself so he could have a different life. This also made Abraham aware of how important education is. (Gienapp, 2002).

Abraham Lincoln went on in life bettering himself and learning from his mistakes and others. He became a lawyer which led him in the direction of politics. During this time, Lincoln came to the conclusion that his main interest was politics. He pretty much practiced law to restore his finances to run for political office. (Gienapp, 2002).

Surprisingly to me," Abraham Lincoln was high tempered. In his day drinking and fighting was normal. Lincoln's great physical strength and courage were decided physical assets. Abraham Lincoln embarrassed himself a few times before learning to have patience. He performed "the famous "skinning of Jesse Thomas" which actually made the man break out in tears and he wrote an anonymous letter to the Sangamo Journal skewering James Shields, the Democratic state auditor, for his policies toward the State Bank's badly depreciated currency (which in this time was apparently against the law). This made Shields angry and even caused him to challenge Lincoln to a duel. Lincoln learned not to be so quick to judge his adversaries' motives or take offense to what others had to say. At this time he even began to show patience and good will, which was a lesson much needed for a man that eventually became the President of the United States. (Gienapp. 2002).

After many lessons learned and many more to be learned, Abraham Lincoln took on his last job in life. He became President in a country united by law; however, separated by political, social and economic differences (United States of America). After Abraham won the election and took over the office as President, he had to deal with the issue of the Southern states seceding which led to the outbreak of the Civil War. Lincoln did not walk into office of President knowing the right things to do and making all the right decisions. It took time for him to grow into the office and display firm leadership. He later admitted that he entered the presidency ignorant of the duties and of the manner of doing the business of the office. Lincoln realized his inexperience as an executive leader; therefore, was slow making some decisions. When Abraham Lincoln was our President, he was not viewed as the great figure he is today. He was ridiculed, made fun of and challenged in his choices he made as President. Lincoln was wonderful with words and gave many great speeches that remain famous today. Unfortunately his life was threatened and eventually taken from him, his family and his country. (Gienapp, 2002). (Lincoln, 1992).

Abraham Lincoln did not issue any statements from November 1860 until his inauguration. He gave his first inauguration on March 4, 1861 and it was directed at the States in the South. He let the people know that he would not compromise at all on extending slavery. He felt a compromise of any sort would destroy the Republican Party because it was the party's opposition to extension that had led them to victory in the North. On the other hand, he added that he would not interfere with slavery in the States where it already existed, just as he had promised in a previous speech. He reassured that one State's "property, peace and security" will be just as protected as the next State (Lincoln p. 285). He also let it be known that if a slave runs from one state to the next that the slave "shall be delivered up" (Lincoln, p. 285). He promised that "all members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution"; therefore, they will uphold these laws (Lincoln p. 285). Additionally, he stated that a free man will not be surrendered as a slave. Abraham Lincoln spoke with a tone that was very firm and very determined that the Union would survive. He expressed his feelings of the Union by saying the Union is older than the Constitution. No state could lawfully withdraw from the Union on its own and added that the Union is unbroken. Lincoln mentioned his concern about a Civil War. He stated that when it is over, a lot of people will be dead and the same problems will exist. There was a lot of knowledge and truth spoken in his first inauguration. (Gienapp, 2002).

Abraham Lincoln really believed in the Union with all his heart. He looked at the Union as the last hope. Lincoln felt as if the Union was there to offer people a better chance in life. He proved this when he stated "the object of the Union is to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all-to afford all, an unfettered start, and a fair chance in the race of life". (Gienapp, p. 84). Abraham Lincoln thought the States that had seceded would return fairly quickly. He thought it was just a way for the South to get their way on extending slavery. Even though they said they had left the Union, Lincoln said the Southern States had not left the Union because they could not lawfully withdraw from the Union on its own. He stated that the Confederate government did not legally



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