Why did Abraham Lincoln Become one of the United States’ Greatest Presidents?

Why did Abraham Lincoln Become one of the United States’ Greatest Presidents?

Abraham Lincoln is the sixtieth American president. Thomas, Abraham’s father, was a farmer. He was from Virginia till his father moved to Kentucky, where he died by an attack of Indians. Thomas had to make his way up now that his father was dead. He became a good citizen, sold several farms, and became a rich man. He met his wife, Nancy Hanks, in Virginia where he used to work for Joseph Hanks, her father. Abraham was born in Hardin County in Kentucky; he was the second child of the family. Like reported in the American History Encyclopedia (n/a, 2003), his family were “Members of an antislavery Baptist group, they believed that going to a free-labor land would boost their chances for prosperity” (p.209). Some sources say that when his father lost everything, they moved to Ohio River, but others sources like The American History Encyclopedia maintain that they moved because the lands were cheaper than in Kentucky and because they were against slavery. When he was eight, his mother died, a year later his father remarried Sarah and Abraham became really close to her and distant to his father. He wanted to go to school and learn, but his father was not really educated so he did not encourage Abraham to continue his passion. He taught himself to read and write by taken books from the library. Sarah, his stepmother, encouraged him to study, but she did not want him to become a president, because she did not want him to be killed. Lord Charnwood wrote in his book (1938), ‘’Above all she encouraged him in his early studies, to which a fretful housewife could have opposed such terrible obstacles’’ (p. 6).In his early twenties his family and him moved to Illinois, since a disease hit Ohio. There, he became in charge of a ferry boat and did two important trips. The first one lead him to New Orleans and the second one, the most memorable, brought him to New Salem, a place far from his father’s farm. He decided to stay there for almost six years and continued to educate himself. Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest American presidents in United States history because through some struggles he accomplished his goals; he ended slavery, he united the South and the North, he joined the Republican Party etc.

braham Lincoln was a worker and a military man before becoming a member of politics. In 1832, he became captain of a militia during the Blackhawk War. He didn’t get involved in a combat but he met John Todd Stuart Mary Todd’s cousin. Both ones, Lincoln and Stuart wanted to become a member of the General Assembly for Illinois. Stuart was elected, and two years later they ran again and both ones won the election. Stuart was a man with more experiences so he helped Lincoln and lent law books to Lincoln. That was when he started to be interested in law. He received his license to practice law in the year of 1836. He started working to the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1836, 1838 and 1840 we won the election to be a member of the Illinois General Assembly. A few years later he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. He became a member of the Whig Party. The next few years he continued to practice law. He was against slavery and abolitionism. Like said in Wikipedia, "[The] Institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils’’. He also helped Henry Clay in his program to help the slave become free and go to Liberia in Africa.

Abraham’s life was surrounded by death. In 1828, his sister died while having her baby. Seven years later, Ann Rutledge, a woman he was dating also died. He became really sad and depressed after her death and quit temporally his job. A few years later he started courting Mary Todd, she was from a slaveholding family from Kentucky. She was educated which was unusual for a women of this time, but since her father was from the Whig Party, he really supported education for women. He liked Mary’s family even if they had slave and he was against slavery. “I have no prejudice against the Southern people,” he declared in his Peoria speech of 1854 (Hubbard, C. M., 1998). They married a few years later. Two year later, they bought a house together in Illinois. They had four children, Robert Todd, Edward Dickinson, William Wallace and Thomas. Edward died from tuberculosis at the each of four and William died twelve years later from typhoid fever. Abraham and Mary were devoted to their children and loved them really much. They had a lot of struggles together, but they loved each other more than anything. Mary helped Abraham in his career through her family relations; she was always there to support him even if he was distant and not much at home because of his job.

Lincoln finally had his seat in the House of Representatives in Washington. He was the only one from Illinois’ Whig Party. He did two sessions and learned a lot about the other politicians. In 1848, he did his first Congress speech; it was against the Mexican War and the continuity of slavery. His career as a congress man had came to an end and so he joined the Illinois Republican Party in 1856 and became one of the most important men that spoke for the party. In 1858 he was accepted to run for the senator nomination. He was against Stephen A. Douglas, from the Democratic Party. Lincoln lost and Douglas got the senate seat. In 1860, he did an important speech in New York at Cooper Union which talked about why the government had the constitutional right to stop slavery. In the same year, he was nominated from the Republican Party to be in the presidential elections. He won the election and became the sixtieth president of the United States. During his inauguration he warned the rebellion states, but said that the South would continue to hold slaves. On April 12, there was a bombardment of Fort Sumer, so he immediately asked for military to defend the Union. Abraham was the first American president to be confronted to a civil war. He responded quickly to the rebel states by taking a military role without the constitution’s opinion. In order to save the Union, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation which was the document that ended slavery in the places he could. (Saw Paludan., P, 1994) ‘’Lincoln did not, as some charged, free the slaves only in places where he could not reach them; he freed the slaves in places that he could legally reach them- in places that he ruled under presidential war powers’’ (p. 188). The war was not over since the rebellious states maintained their military forces, but he finally had a victory in Gettysburg. Abraham was sure that the Civil War had its main goal; to freedom the nation. After a lot of dead soldiers, wins and losses in battlefield, the Union and the rebellious states started talking about peace. At Appomattox the war was over.

The second election was much more difficult than the first one since Abraham was being a subject of criticism during the war. He won the election with a big majority some say that it is because of the soldiers who liked Abraham’s battlefield victories. He won 78 % of the soldier’s vote from the Union confederation.(Virginia University, 2012) ‘’Moreover, he demonstrated that the President had a special duty that went beyond the duty of Congress and the courts, a duty that required constant executive action in times of crisis’’, because of him America pass through her biggest crisis of the 1800’s. Now that the war was over, he was preparing for the reconstruction of the nation. He didn’t lose time and continued pushing hard on the Thirteenth Amendment, which said that all ex-slaves would continue to be freed, to be American citizens and to have civil rights. Before his death, Lincoln said that he had a plan for the Southern reconstruction. In 1861, he created the first income tax of the United States and one year later he created the National Banks which stimulated the economy. He also restored Thanksgiving Day and said that it was the last Thursday of November. In addition, John Wilkes Booth was a spy from Maryland who had as its mission to kidnap president Lincoln in exchange of prisoners but when Lincoln said he was going to increase civil rights for blacks, John changed his plans and decided to assassinate him. While Lincoln, his wife, Henry Rathbone and his wife were in Ford’s theatre without guard John decided to act and shot at Lincoln. Henry grabbed John but he stabbed him and left the theatre. He was found a few days later hiding in a farm in Virginia. He fought with soldiers from the Union troops and got killed.

In conclusion, Abraham Lincoln was not only a leader and one of the best American presidents; he was also an example to follow and someone who knew the difference between right and wrong. (Maass, A., 2009) “The Great Emancipator”, this is the way Abraham is called because of his great accomplishments. He changed the face of the United States forever. Internationally people know him because he is a symbol of freedom and democracy, today his memorial in Jefferson, is the most visited monument by tourists in all the country. Also, he stills the man who led the most important army that had ever been assembled. He fought against slavery even if he was not black; he wanted them to have the right to vote and to be educated like everyone else. For him, everyone deserved freedom and equality like said by H.M. Hyman (1992), ‘’For Lincoln, Republicans of early 1865, liberty in the sense of a nationwide end to slavery became joined or joinable to equality as a constitutional duty for government’’ (p.4). He got killed, because he defended them too much, but in my opinion he would do it again even if he knew the consequences of his fight. Moreover, he saved about four millions black Americans with the help of his army, wives, farmer who feed the army and with the help of the black soldier. Abraham accepted them and wanted them to fight against slavery.


Abraham Lincoln (n.d). Retrieved November 7 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Lincoln

American History (Civil war and Reconstruction 1856-1869), (2003), Lincoln, Abraham (1809-1865), Ed: Waugh, J., B. Nash, G., p. 209-2012

American President: A Reference Resource (n.d). Retrieved November 7 from http://millercenter.org/president/lincoln/essays/biography/9

Charnwood, G. R., Baron. (1938). Abraham Lincoln. New York: Garden City

Maass, A. (2009). Lincoln and the Struggle to Abolish Slavery. Retrieved November 7 from http://socialistworker.org/2009/02/12/lincoln-and-the-struggle-to-abolis...

Hubbard, C. M., Abraham Lincoln, (1998). American History Magazine. Retrieved November 7 from http://www.historynet.com/abraham-lincoln

Hyman, H.M., (1992), ‘’Abraham Lincoln, Legal Positivism, and Constitutional History’’, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, (p.1-11) Retrieved November 27 from Jstor

Shaw Paludan, P., (1994), The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Lawrence: University Press of Kansas

T. Owens. M., (2002). Abraham Lincoln, the American Founding, and the Principles of the Republican Party. Retrieved November 7 from http://ashbrook.org/publications/dialogue-owens/3