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Abraham Lincoln, Major Events in His Life

A Collection of Articles Related to Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln has been discussed, debated, and written about perhaps more than any other figure from the 19th century. His personality was distinctly American, and his accomplishments may well have saved the United States.

And Lincoln is one of those rare figures who becomes more interesting the more you learn about him. Below are links to articles about Lincoln's life, death, and major accomplishments.

Classic Portraits of Lincoln

A collection of classic Lincoln portraits shows that Lincoln understood the importance of photography in crafting his political persona. And, the work of some of the finest photographers of the era captured Lincoln's mood as he transformed from western lawyer to national candidate to president laboring under the burden of the Civil War.

The Early Life of Abraham Lincoln

Daguerreotype of Lincoln
Library of Congress

Everyone knows Lincoln was from Illinois, but wasn't he born in Kentucky? And what about time spent in Indiana? Get your facts straight with this handy timeline of Lincoln's life in frontier settlements and midwestern towns, before he took up residence on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

When Abraham Lincoln returned to politics by running for a senate seat in Illinois in 1858, he faced one of the powerhouses of the US Senate, Stephen A. Douglas. The candidates met in a series of seven debates across Illinois, and their meetings became legendary.

It's startling today to read about those meetings, and to read the transcripts of the debates themselves. They were not the collegial meetings people often believe them to be. They were very tough political battles, and some of the rhetoric would be shocking today.

Lincoln's Speech at Cooper Union

Lincoln Campaign Material
Library of Congress

In late February 1860 Abraham Lincoln took several trains to travel from Illinois to New York City to give a speech before an audience of politically connected New Yorkers. People were curious about this lawyer who might have a chance of running for president, and a large crowd turned up.

By the time Lincoln finished speaking, he was a rising star. His speech appeared on the front pages of newspaper the next day.

Before speaking, Lincoln had visited the photographic studio of Matthew Brady and posed for a new portrait. Later that year engravings and woodcuts based on that image would be the pictures most Americans saw of the the man who would win the presidential election.

Images of Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign

Abraham Lincoln was virtually unknown to the vast majority of Americans when he began his rise to the White House. This gallery of vintage images shows how representations of Lincoln, as photographs, campaign posters, and even political cartoons, introduced him to the American public and helped to elect him president.

The Election of 1860 Put Lincoln in the White House

The election of 1860 hinged on the central issue of the 1850s, slavery. Great debates had taken place over the spread of slavery, and the abolitionist movement had been gathering strength.

Abraham Lincoln had returned to politics to offer his voice in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and by 1860 he had become an eloquent voice against slavery. Through some very capable political maneuvering, Lincoln attained the presidential nomination of the young Republican Party, which at that time stood for the eradication of slavery.

In a four-way election Lincoln won enough electoral votes to win the White House, though, ominously, he received no electoral votes from southern states.

The Gettysburg Address

When Abraham Lincoln was invited to give "remarks" at the dedication of a new cemetery on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg, he took the opportunity to write something he considered necessary and important.

One of the most quoted speeches in all of human history, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is brief yet profound. It's only three paragraphs, less than 300 words, yet it precisely set forth Lincoln's deepest thoughts on the grave crisis facing the nation.

The Assassination of Lincoln

The Assassin Leaps to the Stage
Library of Congress

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln days after the end of the Civil War was a shock to the nation. Word spread quickly, and illustrated magazines and newspapers provided images of the tragedy to a nation in mourning.

Abraham Lincoln: A Digital Bookshelf

Lincoln with son Tad
Library of Congress

Lincoln has been written about more than any other American, and books about him began appearing almost immediately following his death. Close associates wrote their memoirs, and some of those vital memoirs tell us much of what we know about Lincoln's life, work, and personality.

The Lincoln Bicentennial Committee asked an expert to compile "The Essential Lincoln Library," and many of the choices are books published in the 1800s. A number of those titles are available for free download on the web, so you can have your own digital bookshelf of classic Lincoln books.

Book Review: With Malice Toward None by Stephen B. Oates

There are so many books on Abraham Lincoln that it's difficult to know where to begin. If a reader wants a good general overview of Lincoln's life, Lincoln experts often point to this biography published in the 1970s, which has remained in print and is easily available in paperback.

Book Review: Did Lincoln Own Slaves? by Gerald J. Prokopowicz

There are countless stories about Abraham Lincoln, and they include the true, the untrue, and the utterly ridiculous. The historian and Lincoln expert Gerald J. Prokopowicz eagerly explores Lincoln lore, either verifying or debunking legends in this entertaining and charming book.

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