Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – 15 April 1865) was the 16th President of the United States of America. He served as president for 5 years, from 4 March 1861 until his assassination by John Wilkes Booth on 15 April 1865.

Lincoln is known primarily for his leadership during the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) and for signing the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order changing the legal status of slaves to ‘free’.

FEBRUARY 5: In this image from the U.S. Library of Congress, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sits for a portrait February 5, 1865. (Photo by Alexander Gardner/U.S. Library of Congress via Getty Images)
  • He was largely self-educated
    Despite becoming a successful lawyer, Lincoln did not have a degree. His total schooling, obtained from travelling teachers, is estimated to total only around 1 year.

  • Before pursuing national politics, Lincoln served 4 consecutive terms in the Illinois state legislature
    Though lawyers are often considered untrustworthy, his reputation for honesty and fairness helped ‘Honest Abe’ win local elections.
19th November 1863: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, making his famous ‘Gettysburg Address’ speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery during the American Civil War. Original Artwork: Painting by Fletcher C Ransom (Photo by Library Of Congress/Getty Images)

  • His main purpose in the Civil War was to preserve the Union
    There were abolitionists, slavery supporters, pro-unionists and neutral sentiments in both the North and South, but it was Confederate secessionists who began the war by firing on Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861.
Portrait of American President Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865) (painted by George P. Healy, mid-late 1800s), Washington, DC, 1969. The portriat was one of three painted by Healy (sometimes spelled as Healey). (Photo by Katherine Young/Getty Images)

Lincoln responded by sending troops to recapture lost forts and ‘preserve the Union’.

  • Lincoln is consistently ranked as one of the ‘top 3’ Presidents of the United States
    Along with George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt, most polls of academic historians, political scientists and the general public put Lincoln as one of the 3 all-time greats.

Abraham Lincoln Speaking During one of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Charleston, Illinois, USA, September 18, 1858. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
  • The bill to create US Secret Service was on the President’s desk the night of his assassination
    One of the principal purposes of the Secret Service is to protect national leaders such as the President. It is possible that their presence would have saved Lincoln’s life.

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