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Abraham Lincoln -1809-1865

Monday, 17th of June 2019

If there was anyone who embodied the concept of the “consummate US President” It was Abraham Lincoln. He was a lawyer, a political philosopher, and a legislator who avidly read books that came into his hands as he wanted to “improve his mind”. He was the real politician behind civil rights given to Afro- American slaves initiating the emancipation proclamation. This dream of his achieved results later with the emergence of politicians like Martin Luther king Jr. and recently when US elected Barak Obama, an Afro-American as their new president in 2008. Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of USA after defeating Stephan Douglas in 1861. The election sparked the US civil war.

The cause behind it being that the Southern states known as the confederated states refusing to abolish slavery, where slavery played a big part in the economy based on plantations like cotton etc. The Northern States wanted to abolish slavery and the anti-slavery sentiments of Lincoln was appealing to the legislators in the North. The Democratic candidate of 1861 election Douglas was supporting the idea that each state should decide whether to abolish slavery independently. Lincoln said on the other hand that slavery should be outlawed in the whole country and believed that it was all the freedom for Blacks and nothing else. His single mindedness in this matter was an ideal that Lincoln believed should reverberate through America from North to South.

Later Lincoln ideas and attitudes weakened the intolerance that was wielded against Afro-Americans. Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman, politician, and a lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy. Self-educated Abraham became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, state legislator and Congressman. He left government to resume his law practice, but angered by the success of Democrats in opening the prairie lands to slavery, reentered politics in 1854.

He became a leader in the new Republican Party and gained national attention in 1858 for debating and losing to national Democratic leader Stephen A. Douglas in a Senate campaign. He then ran for President in 1860, sweeping the North and winning. Southern pro-slavery elements took his win as proof that the North was rejecting the Constitutional rights of Southern states to practice slavery. They began the process of seceding from the union. To secure its independence, the new Confederate States of America fired on Fort Sumter, one of the few U.S. forts in the South. Lincoln called up volunteers and militia to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union. 39 days later after Lincoln’s inauguration, the US Civil War took over taking lives of nearly 600,000 Americans.

Yet nevertheless Lincoln stood by his idea that slavery should be abolished in USA altogether. On Good Friday in 1865 Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth and six weeks later the Southern confederates finally surrendered ending the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 grew up on the frontier in a poor family, as the second child of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, in a one-room log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky. He was a descendant of Samuel Lincoln, an Englishman who migrated from Hingham, Norfolk in 1638. Recently in 2009 his 200th birth anniversary was celebrated in USA under the auspices of US president Barak Obama. Lincoln was the first president of US to be born in a state outside the original 13 colonies.

(And it is quite notable that the great biologist Charles Darwin was also to have been born on the same day in England) Although Lincoln was an educated man his parents were illiterate. Yet nevertheless never giving up hope in life wanting to become “a little machine who knew no bounds” Lincoln geared towards a hard yearned journey wining life through many hardships. Some interesting facts about Lincoln is that he was the first US president to have a beard as well as the tallest US president as of 2008. It should also be noted that he received a patent for a device for lifting boats over shoals, thus becoming the only US president to receive a patent. Lincoln was the first US president to be photographed at his inauguration as well as the most portrayed US president in films. ** It’s a fact Lincoln was watching the play “OUR AMERICAN COUSIN” when he was shot by Booth at the Ford Theatre in Washington D.C. The same play was running at the Maverick Theatre in Chicago on May 18th, 1860, the day that Lincoln was nominated for President in that city.

Nilanthi Wickramasinghe

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