Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States. He served in this position from 1861 to 1865. His presidency is considered one of the most important in American history. This is because the American Civil War began and concluded during his presidency.
He was the leader of the northern states, known as the Union, during the Civil War. And he played an instrumental role in securing a victory for the Union.
Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky but his family later moved to Indiana. His family was poor and illiterate but his parents encouraged him to read. He became so fond of reading that he would walk many miles to borrow books. He went on to become a politician and a lawyer, although he quit politics for a time.
He was staunchly opposed to slavery. So when the American government allowed slavery in the new lands towards the west, he became angry and rejoined politics to put a stop to it.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln ran for the office of the President. At the time, slavery was a hot issue and Lincoln made it clear that he was opposed to slavery. Although the southern states opposed him, he was able to gain a majority in the northern states and became President.
At this, the southern states grew angry and decide to secede from the Union. They also attacked a U.S. fort in Texas. In response, Abraham Lincoln decided to fight back. This led to the outbreak of the American Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln’s leadership was critical during the American Civil War. He rallied the northern states to volunteer troops and resources while spearheading the war effort. He also kept opposition at bay while picking generals who knew how to fight. His Gettysburg Address became one of the most iconic proclamations of the Civil War and the most remembered speech in the American history.
On November 19, 1863, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. This address was delivered at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. In this address, Lincoln uttered these lines which have since become immensely famous and well-known:
“this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth”.
The American Civil War began as an attempt to save the Union. However, as the war continued, Abraham Lincoln chose a greater goal. He decided that this conflict should also put an end to slavery once and for all. To this end, he made the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.
In this proclamation, he said that all the slaves held in the rebellious states were not considered free. With this single proclamation, he effectively granted freedom to nearly 3.5 million slaves in the South. Although he didn’t yet the control of the south to ensure this, the proclamation gave a fresh hope to the slaves who then rallied in great numbers to the Union’s side.
In March, 1865, Abraham Lincoln started his second term as President after being re-elected. In early April, the last of the major Confederate armies under General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Lincoln’s commander, General Grant. Five days later, on April 14, 1865, he was assassinated while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre. He was buried with great honors and remains one of the greatest leaders in American history.