Рефераты. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln





Examined: Akhmedova Z.G.

Makhachkala 2001


1. Introduction

page 3

2. Early Life

page 3

3. Ancestry

page 4

4. Childhood

page 6

5. Young Manhood

page 6

6. Politics and Law

page 6

7. Illinois Legislator


8. Marriage page6

9. Congressman page 7

10. Disillusionment with Politics


11. Return to Politics

page 8

12. Campaigns of 1856 and 1858 page 8

13. Election of 1860 page 9

14. Presidency page 9

15. Sumter Crisis page10

16. Military Policy page11

17. Emancipation page


18. Foreign Relations page


19. Wartime Politics page13

20. Life in the White House page


21. Reconstruction page


22. Death page


23. Source page


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. Lincoln

entered office at a critical period in U. S. history, just before the Civil

War, and died from an assassin's bullet at the war's end, but before the

greater implications of the conflict could be resolved. He brought to the

office personal integrity, intelligence, and humanity, plus the wholesome

characteristics of his frontier upbringing. He also had the liabilities of

his upbringing--he was self-educated, culturally unsophisticated, and

lacking in administrative and diplomatic skills. Sharp-witted, he was not

especially sharp-tongued, but was noted for his warm good humor. Although

relatively unknown and inexperienced politically when elected president, he

proved to be a consummate politician. He was above all firm in his

convictions and dedicated to the preservation of the Union.

Lincoln was perhaps the most esteemed and maligned of the American

presidents. Generally admired and loved by the public, he was attacked on a

partisan basis as the man responsible for and in the middle of every major

issue facing the nation during his administration. Although his reputation

has fluctuated with changing times, he was clearly a great man and a great

president. He firmly and fairly guided the nation through its most perilous

period and made a lasting impact in shaping the office of chief

executive.Once regarded as the "Great Emancipator" for his forward strides

in freeing the slaves, he was criticized a century later, when the Civil

Rights Movement gained momentum, for his caution in moving toward equal

rights. If he is judged in the historical context, however, it can be seen

that he was far in advance of most liberal opinion. His claim to greatness


Early Life

The future president was born in the most modest of circumstances in a

log cabin near Hodgenville, Ky., on Feb. 12, 1809. His entire childhood and

young manhood were spent on the brink of poverty as his pioneering family

made repeated fresh starts in the West. Opportunities for education,

cultural activities, and even socializing were meager.


Lincoln's paternal ancestry has been traced, in an unbroken line, to

Samuel Lincoln, a weaver's apprentice from Hingham, England, who settled in

Hingham, Mass., in 1637. From him the line of descent came down through

Mordecai Lincoln of Hingham and of Scituate, Mass.; Mordecai of Berks

county, Pa.; John of Berks county and of Rockingham county, Va.; and

Abraham, the grandfather of the president, who moved from Virginia to

Kentucky about 1782, settled near Hughes Station, east of Louisville, and

was killed in an Indian ambush in 1786.

Abraham's youngest son, Thomas, who became the father of the president, was

born in Rockingham county, Va., on Jan. 6, 1778. After the death of his

father, he roamed about, settling eventually in Hardin county, Ky., where

he worked at carpentry, farming, and odd jobs. He was not the shiftless

ne'er-do-well sometimes depicted, but an honest, conscientious man of

modest means, well regarded by his neighbors. He had practically no

education, however, and could barely scrawl his name.

Nancy Hanks, whom Thomas Lincoln married on June 12, 1806, and who became

the mother of the president, remains a shadowy figure. Her birth date is

uncertain, and descriptions of her are contradictory. Scholars despair of

penetrating the tangled Hanks genealogy, and the legitimacy of Nancy's

birth is a subject of argument. Lincoln, himself, apparently believed that

his mother was born out of wedlock. In either case, Nancy came of lowly

people. Reared by her aunt, Betsy Hanks, who married Thomas Sparrow, she

was utterly uneducated.


Thomas and Nancy Lincoln set up housekeeping in Elizabethtown, Ky.,

where their first child, Sarah, was born on Feb. 10, 1807. In December

1808, Thomas bought a hard-scrabble farm on the South Fork of Nolin Creek,

where Abraham was born. Soon after Abe's second birthday the family moved

to a more productive farm along Knob Creek, a branch of the Rolling Fork,

in a region of fertile bottomland surrounded by crags and bluffs. The old

Cumberland Trail from Louisville to Nashville passed close by, and the boy

could see a vigorous civilization on the march--settlers, peddlers, circuit-

riding preachers, now and then a coffle of slaves. This was probably his

first view of human bondage, for the small landholdings of the region were

not suited to slaveowning, and local sentiment, especially among the

Baptists, with whom the Lincolns had affiliated, was hostile to slavery.

Like most frontier children, Abraham performed chores at an early age, but

occasionally he and his sister Sarah attended classes in a log schoolhouse

some two miles (3 km) from home. Nancy bore a third child, Thomas, but he

died in infancy.

Faulty land titles, which were a constant problem to Kentucky settlers,

were especially troublesome to Thomas Lincoln. Because of a flaw in title,

he lost part of a farm he had bought before his marriage, and both his

other Kentucky farms became involved in litigation. For this reason, and

because of his roving disposition, he resolved to move to Indiana, where

land could be bought directly from the government.

Abraham was seven years old when, in December 1816, the Lincolns struck out

northwestward. They crossed the Ohio River on a ferry near the village of

Troy, made their way 16 miles (26 km) farther north through thick woods and

tangled underbrush, and settled near Pigeon Creek, in present Spencer

county, Ind. Thomas hastily threw up a half-faced camp, a rude shelter of

logs and boughs, closed on three sides and warmed only by a fire at the

open front. Here the family lived while Thomas built a cabin. The region

was gloomy, with few settlers, and wild animals prowled in the forest.

By spring Thomas had cleared a few acres for a crop. In an autobiography

that Abraham Lincoln composed in 1860, he said of himself: "Abraham, though

very young, was large of his age, and had an axe put into his hands at

once; and from that till within his twenty-third year, he was almost

constantly handling that most useful instrument--less, of course, in

plowing and harvesting seasons." So, year by year the clearing grew, and

the family's diet became more varied as farm products supplemented game and

fowl. At first, Thomas was a mere squatter on the land, but on Oct. 15,

1817, he applied for 160 acres (65 hectares) at the government land office

in Vincennes. Unable to complete payment on so large a tract, he later gave

up half, but paid for the rest.

The Lincolns had not been long in Indiana when they were joined by Thomas

and Elizabeth Sparrow, the relatives by whom Nancy had been reared. They

arrived from Kentucky with Dennis Hanks, the illegitimate son of another of

Nancy's aunts. An energetic youth of 19, he became Abraham's companion.

Within a year, however, the Sparrows became victims of the "milk-sick"

(milk sickness), a disease dreaded by Indiana settlers, and soon afterward,

on Oct. 5, 1818, Nancy Lincoln, too, died of this malady. Without a woman

to keep the household functioning, the Lincolns lived almost in squalor.

To remedy this intolerable condition, Thomas Lincoln returned to

Elizabethtown, where, on Dec. 2, 1819, he married Sarah Bush Johnston, a

widow with three children. A kindly, hard-working woman, she brought order

to the Lincolns' Indiana homestead. She also saw to it that at intervals

over the next two years Abraham received enough additional schooling to be

able, as he said later, "to read, write and cipher to the Rule of Three."

All told, however, he attended school less than a year.

Young Manhood

During the 14 years the Lincolns lived in Indiana, the region became

more thickly settled, mostly by people from the South. But conditions

remained primitive, and farming was backbreaking work. Superstitions were

prevalent; social functions consisted of such utilitarian amusements as

corn shuckings, house raisings, and hog killings; and religion was dogmatic

and emotional. Abe, growing tall and strong, won a reputation as the best

local athlete and a rollicking storyteller. But his father kept him busy at

hard labor, hiring him out to neighbors when work at home slackened.

Abe's meager education had aroused his desire to learn, and he traveled

over the countryside to borrow books. Among those he read were Robinson

Crusoe, Pilgrim's Progress, Aesop's Fables, William Grimshaw's History of

the United States, and Mason Weems' Life of Washington. The Bible was

probably the only book his family owned, and his abundant use of scriptural

quotations in his later writings shows how earnestly he must have studied


Young Lincoln worked for a while as a ferryman on the Ohio River, and at 19

helped take a flatboat cargo to New Orleans. There he encountered a manner

of living wholly unknown to him. Soon after he returned, his father decided

to move to Illinois, where a relative, John Hanks, had preceded him. On

March 1, 1830, the family set out with all their possessions loaded on

three wagons. Their new home was located on the north bank of the Sangamon

River, west of Decatur. When a cabin had been built and a crop had been

planted and fenced, young Lincoln hired out to split fence rails for


In the autumn all the Lincoln family came down with fever and ague. That

winter the pioneers experienced the deepest snow they had ever known,

accompanied by subzero temperatures. In the spring the family backtracked

eastward to Coles county, Ill. But this time Abraham did not accompany

them, for during the winter he, his stepbrother John D. Johnston, and his

cousin John Hanks had agreed to take another cargo to New Orleans for a

trader, Denton Offutt. A new life was opening for young Lincoln. Henceforth

he could make his own way.Supposedly it was on this second trip to New

Orleans that young Lincoln, watching a slave auction, declared: "If I ever

get a chance to hit that thing, I'll hit it hard." But the story is almost

certainly untrue. Lincoln at this period of his life could scarcely have

believed himself to be a man of destiny, and John Hanks, who originated the

story, was not with Lincoln, having left his fellow crewmen at St. Louis.

Near the outset of this voyage, at the little village of New Salem on the

Sangamon River, Lincoln had impressed Offutt by his ingenuity in moving the

flatboat over a milldam. Offutt, impressed likewise by the prospects of the

village, arranged to open a store and rent the mill. On Lincoln's return

from New Orleans, Offutt engaged him as clerk and handyman.

By late July 1831, when Lincoln came back, New Salem was enjoying what

proved to be a short-lived boom based on a local conviction that the

Sangamon River would be made navigable for steamboats. For a time the

village served as a trading center for the surrounding area and numbered

among its enterprises three stores, a tavern, a carding machine for wool, a

saloon, and a ferry. Among its residents were two physicians, a blacksmith,

a cooper, a shoemaker, and other craftsmen common to a pioneer settlement.

The people were mostly from the South, though a number of Yankees had also

drifted in. Community pastimes were similar to those Lincoln had previously

known, and life in general differed only in being somewhat more advanced.

Lincoln gained the admiration of the rougher element of the community, who

were known as the Clary's Grove boys, when he threw their champion in a

wrestling match. But his kindness, honesty, and efforts at self-betterment

so impressed the more reputable people of the community that they, too,

soon came to respect him. He became a member of the debating society,

studied grammar with the aid of a local schoolmaster, and acquired a

lasting fondness for the writings of Shakespeare and Robert Burns from the

village philosopher and fisherman.

Offutt paid little attention to business, and his store was about to fail,

when an Indian disturbance, known as the Black Hawk War, broke out in April

1832, in Illinois. Lincoln enlisted and was elected captain of his

volunteer company. When his term expired, he reenlisted, serving about 80

days in all. He experienced some hardships, but no fighting.

Politics and Law

Returning to New Salem, Lincoln sought election to the state

legislature. He won almost all the votes in his own community, but lost the

election because he was not known throughout the county. In partnership

with William F. Berry, he bought a store on credit, but it soon failed,

leaving him deeply in debt. He then got a job as deputy surveyor, was

appointed postmaster, and pieced out his income with odd jobs. The story of

his romance with Ann Rutledge is rejected as a legend by most authorities,

but he did have a short-lived love affair with Mary Owens.

Illinois Legislator

In 1834, Lincoln was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives,

and he was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. Political alignments were in

a state of flux during his first two candidacies, but as the WHIG and

DEMOCRATIC parties began to take form, he followed his political idol,

Henry Clay, and John T. Stuart, a Springfield lawyer and friend, into the

Whig ranks. Twice Lincoln was his party's candidate for speaker, and when

defeated, he served as its floor leader.

His greatest achievement in the legislature, where he was a consistent

supporter of conservative business interests, was to bring about the

removal of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield, by means of

adroit logrolling. When certain resolutions denouncing antislavery

agitation were passed by the house, Lincoln and a colleague, Dan Stone,

defined their position by a written declaration that slavery was "founded

on both injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition

doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils." An internal

improvement project that Lincoln promoted in the legislature turned out to

be impractical and almost bankrupted the state. On national issues Lincoln

favored the United States Bank and opposed the presidential policies of

Andrew JACKSON and Martin VAN BUREN.

Law Practice

His friend Stuart had encouraged him to study law, and he obtained a

license on Sept. 9, 1836. By this time New Salem was in decline and would

soon be a ghost town. It has since been restored as a state park. On April

15, 1837, Lincoln moved to Springfield to become Stuart's partner. His

conscientious efforts to pay off his debts had earned him the nickname

"Honest Abe," but he was so poor that he arrived in Springfield on a

borrowed horse with all his personal property in his saddlebags.

With the courts in Springfield in session only a few weeks during the year,

lawyers were obliged to travel the circuit in order to make a living. Every

year, in spring and autumn, Lincoln followed the judge from county to

county over the 12,000 square miles (31,000 sq km) of the Eighth Circuit.

In 1841 he and Stuart disolved their firm, and Lincoln formed a new

partnership with Stephen T. Logan, who taught him the value of careful

preparation and clear, succinct reasoning as opposed to mere cleverness and

oratory. This partnership was in turn dissolved in 1844, when Lincoln took

young William H. Herndon, later to be his biographer, as a partner.


Meanwhile, on Nov. 4, 1842, after a somewhat tumultuous courtship,

Lincoln had married Mary Todd. Brought up in Lexington, Ky., she was a high-

spirited, quick-tempered girl of excellent education and cultural

Страницы: 1, 2

2012 © Все права защищены
При использовании материалов активная ссылка на источник обязательна.