Our country has had many presidents, all with their own trials and contributions. Some of them stand out more than others, and our nation’s 16th leader is one of them. It’s been more than 150 years since Lincoln held office, but his legacy continues to be felt today. From his biography and facts about his life to videos and books, here’s everything you need to know about Abraham Lincoln.
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Abraham Lincoln Biography
When and where was Abraham Lincoln born?
Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in LaRue County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809.
Where did Abraham Lincoln grow up?
Lincoln’s family moved from Kentucky to Indiana and later to Illinois. He grew up in poverty. Lincoln only went to school for about 18 months because he had to work to provide money for his family instead. He loved to read, and he read while working at jobs including farmhand and store clerk.
How tall was Abraham Lincoln?
Abraham Lincoln was 6 feet 4 inches tall, making him the tallest U.S. president in history.
Who was Abraham Lincoln’s wife?
In 1842, Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd, the daughter of a prominent Kentucky slave-owning family. They lived in Springfield, Illinois, and had four sons.
What was Abraham Lincoln’s job before he was president?
Lincoln was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and was a practicing attorney before becoming president.
Did Abraham Lincoln have slaves?
In the White House, Lincoln had many servants. All his servants were free men and women, although many had previously been enslaved or were descended from slave families.
What did Abraham Lincoln think about slavery?
Abraham Lincoln believed that slavery was wrong. But he was not an abolitionist or someone who wanted to immediately abolish slavery and make enslaved people equal with white people. Lincoln argued that the idea that “all men are created equal” did apply to white and Black people, but that did not mean that he thought Black and white people should have the same rights.
When did Abraham Lincoln become president?
Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States in 1861.
What did Abraham Lincoln accomplish as president?
When he was president, Abraham Lincoln built the Republican party into a national organization. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the Confederate states (but not states along the border between the North and South). In 1864, he won reelection and started a plan for peace as the Civil War came to an end.
What was the Emancipation Proclamation?
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the United States was starting the third year of the Civil War. The proclamation declared “all persons held as slaves” within the Confederate states as “free.” It did not give Black people the same rights as white people, however. The Emancipation Proclamation is now on display in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
When did Abraham Lincoln die?
Abraham Lincoln died on the morning of April 15, 1865, in Washington, D.C.
How did Abraham Lincoln die?
Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., by John Wilkes Booth, an actor. Booth thought he was helping the South by killing Lincoln.
Watch this video above about the impact Lincoln’s assassination had on the United States.
How did Abraham Lincoln change the world?
Abraham Lincoln is one of the best-known and most respected U.S. presidents. The Civil War started when the South seceded from the Union. Lincoln was committed to preserving the Union and kept the United States together while maintaining democracy. He ended slavery and kept the Southern states from seceding, or separating, from the country. This meant that, after Lincoln’s presidency, the United States could be a “more perfect Union” that was free.
Where is the Lincoln Memorial?
The Lincoln Memorial is in Washington, D.C. It features a statue of Abraham Lincoln inside the monument, and written behind the statue are the words: “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.”
Where is Lincoln buried?
Lincoln is not buried at the Lincoln Memorial. His final resting place is the Lincoln Tomb in Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln Timeline
Here is a timeline of major events in Abraham Lincoln’s life:
- February 12, 1809: Abraham Lincoln is born in Kentucky.
- 1816: Lincoln’s family moves to Indiana, where they live in a cabin.
- 1818-1819: Lincoln’s mother dies, and his father remarries.
- 1830: Lincoln’s family moves to Illinois. He works splitting rails (cutting logs), as a postmaster, and as a member of a boat crew.
- 1832: Lincoln runs for political office in the Illinois State Legislature and loses.
- 1834: Lincoln runs again and wins a seat in the Illinois State Legislature.
- 1836: Lincoln becomes a lawyer.
- 1842: Lincoln marries Mary Todd.
- 1846: Lincoln is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
- 1858: Lincoln runs for U.S. Senate. He becomes well known for his speeches and beliefs.
- November 6, 1860: Lincoln wins the presidency. This upsets the Southern states who believe Lincoln will abolish slavery.
- December 20, 1860: South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union.
- 1861-1864: The American Civil War continues. As many as 850,000 people die.
- 1863: Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
- 1864: Lincoln wins reelection.
- April 14, 1865: John Wilkes Booth, a pro-slavery advocate, shoots Lincoln during a theater performance.
- April 15, 1865: Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies.
Facts About Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born poor.
Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin. Although Lincoln’s parents could not read, his stepmother noticed that he was very smart and encouraged his reading and studying.
Abraham Lincoln lost his mother when he was a child.
Lincoln’s mother died when he was just 9 years old. Just a year later, his father married Sarah Bush Johnston. Fortunately, he had a very good relationship with his new stepmother.
Abraham Lincoln only received 18 months of formal education.
Lincoln forwent his education to spend his time working to help support his family.
Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Over 12 years, he appeared in 300 matches. He only lost once!
Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer.
Just as he taught himself to read, Lincoln also taught himself law. Incredibly, he passed the bar exam in 1936 and went on to practice law.
Abraham Lincoln had four kids.
While Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln welcomed four children—Robert, Tad, Edward, and Willie—only Robert survived to adulthood.
Abraham Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846.
He served a term as a U.S. congressman for a year in 1846 but was very unpopular during that time because he strongly opposed the Mexican-American War.
Abraham Lincoln hated the nickname “Abe.”
This might be one of the most surprising facts about Abraham Lincoln. While our 16th president is often referred to as “Abe” Lincoln, or even “Honest Abe,” the truth is that he didn’t like the moniker.
Abraham Lincoln established the Secret Service.
Lincoln created the Secret Service to stop widespread counterfeiting of money in the United States.
Abraham Lincoln was the only U.S. president to hold a patent.
While his invention (No. 6469) was registered as a device for “buoying vessels over shoals” in 1849, it was never actually used on boats or made commercially available.
Abraham Lincoln launched the National Banking System.
While president, Lincoln set up the first National Banking System, leading to the implementation of the standard U.S. currency.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore.
The massive sculpture carved into the Black Hills region of South Dakota, which has been protested by Native Americans for years, features the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans enlisted in the war.
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation allowed African American men to officially serve in the U.S. armed forces for the first time. By the end of the Civil War, 190,000 African Americans enlisted in the Union army.
Lincoln wanted African Americans to be able to vote.
He was the first president to advocate for giving African American veterans the right to vote.
Lincoln is the most written-about figure in American history.
Abraham Lincoln is the most written-about figure in American history. More than 18,000 books have been written about him.
Lincoln was an animal lover.
He had many pets including dogs, cats, horses, and goats.
Lincoln was not born in one of the 13 original colonies.
He was the first president not born in one of the 13 original states.
Lincoln was the first president to be photographed at his inauguration.
Lincoln was photographed at his inauguration, and his murderer, John Wilkes Booth, can be seen in the photo as well.
Abraham Lincoln’s Speeches
Lincoln made many speeches, but the most famous are the House Divided speech and the Gettysburg Address.
House Divided Speech
The House Divided speech was given at the Republican Convention in 1858, before the Civil War.
Listen to the House Divided speech.
The Gettysburg Address
Lincoln gave the speech to dedicate a portion of the Gettysburg battlefield to memorialize Civil War soldiers.
Watch this video about the Gettysburg Address.
Abraham Lincoln Pictures
Photography was invented in the 1820s and first used in the 1830s, so we have some photos of Abraham Lincoln, as well as sketches and drawings.
Abraham Lincoln as a young man
Abraham Lincoln sitting with the men in his cabinet
Photo taken in 1863 and printed in 1901
Famous photo taken in 1863, eight days before the Gettysburg Address
Lincoln wearing his famous top hat, with generals at a Civil War site
The 2nd inauguration of Abraham Lincoln
Videos About Abraham Lincoln
These videos help us understand more about the life, experiences, and impact of President Abraham Lincoln.
Video Biography: Abraham Lincoln
Video Biography: Abraham Lincoln for Kids
Video: Every Known Photograph of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Quotes
Abraham Lincoln was a master of statements about freedom, democracy, and philosophy. Here are a few of our favorite quotes.
You may burn my body to ashes, and scatter them to the winds of heaven; you may drag my soul down to the regions of darkness and despair to be tormented forever; but you will never get me to support a measure which I believe to be wrong. —Abraham Lincoln
It is not the qualified voters, but the qualified voters who choose to vote, that constitute political power. —Abraham Lincoln
We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. —Abraham Lincoln
It’s my experience that folks who have no vices have generally very few virtues. —Abraham Lincoln
A house divided against itself cannot stand. —Abraham Lincoln
Get more quotes: 110+ Abraham Lincoln Quotes
Books About Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln has inspired books about his presidency, honesty, and top hat. Engage kids in learning more about his life with books from these lists.
Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner
Buy it: Abe Lincoln’s Hat at Amazon
Who Was Abraham Lincoln? by Janet Pascal
Buy it: Who Was Abraham Lincoln? at Amazon
Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books by Kay Winters
Buy it: Abe Lincoln: The Boy Who Loved Books at Amazon
I Am Abraham Lincoln by Brad Meltzer
Buy it: I Am Abraham Lincoln at Amazon
Abe Lincoln’s Dream by Lane Smith
Buy it: Abe Lincoln’s Dream at Amazon
More Abraham Lincoln Teaching Resources
Use these teaching resources for even more information and ideas on how to teach about the 16th president:
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