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Lincoln's Early Life

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Lincoln’s Early Life.

Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America is a biography on the 16th President of United States of America by William E. Gienapp, a historian and scholar at Harvard University. The book has 239 pages and was published in 2002. This essay will focus on the first 11 pages since it explores Lincoln’s Birth and early life. Lincoln difficult childhood greatly shaped him as he became an extraordinary war leader and historians consider him the most successful American president.

Abraham was born on February 12, 1909, in Nolin Creek farm to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln. His father later told him that he was named after his grandfather who was killed by Indians when clearing his fields when Thomas was only seven years old. As a result, Thomas never went to school and ended up being a farmer and skilled carpenter. His mother was a homemaker and devoted Christian. When Abraham was two years old, his family relocated to Knob Creek farm which was more fertile than Nolin Creek. Thomas finally bought the land in 1815 and was forced to sell it a year later because of legal issues involving the land title. Also, Kentucky had allowed the institution of slavery and Abraham parents were against it. So the family relocated to Pigeon Creek, Indiana because it was a free state and the government had already surveyed the land. It is here that Abraham helped his father clear and plant the fields and later in 1817 Thomas made the first payment for the farm. Lincoln family lived in Indiana until 1830. Therefore, Abraham was a typical farm boy. He never enjoyed physical labor and he yearned for a different and better life than that of his father. His experiences in the farm largely contributed to his anti-slavery sentiments and finally, he became a member of the anti-slavery Whig Party. It is the Whig Party that enabled him to serve four consecutive terms in the Illinois Assembly. Later, when he became president he championed for the abolishment of slavery.

On October 5, 1918, Abraham who was 9 years old lost his mother to “milk sickness”. Following the death of Nancy, their living conditions worsened making life in Pigeon creek difficult. In late 1819, Thomas left Indiana for Kentucky leaving behind Abraham and her sister Sarah. For about six months Abraham and Sarah were lonely and they honestly believed their father had abandoned them. Thomas finally returned to Indiana with a new wife, Sarah Bush Johnstone, who happened to be a widow with three children. Sarah Bush was a good-hearted person, she loved and cared for Abraham as if he was his own son. Abraham lonely upbringing impacted on his love life. Early marriages were common during Abraham early life but he himself was not interested in girls as he preferred all-male friends. When he finally married Mary Todd later in life, their marriage was difficult and was affected by distance. In addition, losing his mother at a tender age reinforced his melancholic personality (Gienapp, 4).

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