Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was President of the United States of America. It decreed the emancipation of slaves. He was considered one of the inspirers of modern democracy and became one of the greatest figures in American history. He defended the cause of the poor and humble.
Childhood and youth
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States, on February 12, 1809. Son of peasants Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln, when he was little he lived in a wooden house on the edge of the forest. He attended school for a year, when in 1816 his family moved to Indiana, in search of better working conditions.
At the age of seven, Abraham was already working in the field. He lost his mother at age of nine. His father marries Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow and mother of three, who is responsible for his education.
Abraham Lincoln had several jobs in his life, he was a lumberjack, worked in a sawmill, was a boatman, clerk and Postmaster at Salem Village in Illinois. As a boatman, in 1831, he sailed along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers carrying goods.
In his spare time, he devoted himself to reading books that he asked his friends and neighbors to do. He participated as a volunteer Captain, in the fight against the Indians in the south of the state. He was head of the post office and worked on demarcating land for the government.
Beginning in Politics
Associated with the conservative party (Whig), between 1834 and 1840, he was elected four times to the state assembly, where he defended major projects for the construction of railways, highways and canals. In 1836, he passed an examination for the law course. After graduating, he became a very popular lawyer, championing the causes of the poor and humble.
In 1837, his family moved to Springfield, Illinois. In 1842 he marries Mary Todd. At that time, although he considered slavery a social injustice, he feared that abolition would make the administration of the country more difficult.
In 1846 he was elected Federal Deputy for Illinois, when he proposed gradual emancipation for slaves, which displeased both abolitionists and defenders of slavery.
He opposed land invasions in Mexico, but at the end of the conflict new lands were annexed to the United States. His position made him lose many votes. Lincoln campaigned for these new lands to be freed from slavery.
He ran for the senate, but was defeated, which kept him out of politics for five years. Their speeches and debates around slavery made them known and popular. In 1854 he participated in the founding of the Republican Party and became its first president.
Democrats and Republicans
At that time, great social transformations were taking place in the country. In the north, a rich and powerful industrial bourgeoisie and a large, organized working class, supported by the Republican Party, developed. In the south, rural aristocratic supremacy was consolidated, with large agrarian properties, supported by monoculture and slave labor.
The political rivalry between the Democratic Party, the aristocrats of the South and the Republican Party of the industrial bourgeoisie of the North, generated several conflicts.
In 1858, Lincoln’s Senate candidate for the Republican Party, campaigning against Democrat and racist Stephen Douglas, lost the election but became the most popular liberal in the United States.
Presidency of the Republic
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln ran for the presidency of the republic and was elected the 16th president of the United States. When beginning his government on March 4, 1861, Lincoln had to face the separatism of seven slave states in the south, which did not accept the industrial supremacy of North, and formed the Confederate States of America.
American Civil War
After the Southern states declared themselves separated from the Union, the president was firm and prudent: he did not recognize secession, ratified national sovereignty over the rebel states and invited them to conciliation, assuring them that the initiative of the war. The Confederates, however, took Fort Sumter in West Virginia.
Abraham Lincoln found the government without resources. He only managed to arm seven thousand soldiers, with whom the war began. In just a year, he doubled the Army, organized the Navy, and obtained resources. The Confederates had consolidated their situation, with four more states joining the seven uprisings.
On January 1, 1863, Lincoln decreed the emancipation of slaves. In mid-1863 they arrived in Pennsylvania and threatened Washington. It was at this grave moment that, on July 3, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought, won by the forces of the North.
Months later, at the inauguration of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, Lincoln delivered the famous speech in which he defined the democratic meaning of “Government of the people, by the people and for the people”, and which had worldwide repercussion.
The war continued for another two years, in favor of the Union. Lincoln was re-elected president in 1864. On April 9, 1865, the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox.
Last Year and Death
Though considered conservative or moderate reformer at the beginning of the presidency, Lincoln’s latest propositions were advanced. He was preparing an education program for freed slaves and even suggested that a portion of former slaves be immediately granted the right to vote.
He was also inclined to demand from the radicals a provisional military occupation of some southern states, in order to implement a policy of agrarian restructuring.
On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was attending a show at the Ford Theater in Washington, when he was hit in the back of the head by a pistol shot fired by former actor John Wilkes Booth, who was opposed to the abolition of slavery in the United States.
Abraham Lincoln died in Washington, DC, United States, on April 15, 1865