Abraham Lincoln

  • Category: American History
  • Words: 1611
  • Grade: 100
Abraham Lincoln

Why I chose to research Abraham Lincoln's life.

Ever since I was a small boy in elementary school, and all throughout my grade school days, there were many great names that were spoken of and taught about. Names such as George Washington, (our first president) John Hancock, John Adams, and Mark Twain were among many others who contributed to the betterment of our great country, the United States of America. Yet there was one name that resounded in my classrooms, and in my ears. That name was Abraham Lincoln. As a child, I had heard of great things this man had done, and wonderful things he had said. Of the many great things said by Abraham Lincoln, I recall most vividly the Gettysburg address, given on November 19, 1863.

        Listening to the words of my teachers and reading from my textbooks about this great man who had done great things, made me curious. I wanted to know in more detail exactly what it was that made this man so revered by teachers, political leaders, students, and everyday people. What was it about Abraham Lincoln that made him who he was? And how did this have an affect on how he ran the country? These are some questions that I have, and

throughout this research, I hope to answer them.


        Abraham Lincoln was born in Larue County, which is in Kentucky, February 12, 1809 on a Sunday morning. He, as well as most other people in those days, was born in a log cabin that was not necessarily the most well built. The Lincoln cabin, as stated on page 5 in vol. one of The Life of Abraham Lincoln, by William E. Barton, "was lacking in all modern conveniences and most modern comforts." Abraham Lincoln was not born into a rich family who had achieved great social and political power, but instead, a common, rather poor family, who was content with what they had.

Thomas Lincoln (Abraham's father) was a carpenter and a farmer, and he met his wife Nancy through a co-worker. Nancy was the sister of Joseph Hanks, who worked with Thomas Lincoln as a carpenter, and it is believed that through this acquaintance, Thomas and Nancy met, and were married.

Nancy and Thomas Lincoln were the parents of Abraham Lincoln, and were both born in Virginia. When Nancy Lincoln got pregnant for the first time, both she and Thomas wanted to have a baby boy, however, their first child was a girl, whose name was Sarah. Their second child was our president, Abraham Lincoln, and two years after Abraham, Thomas was born, but later died in infancy.

Abraham Lincoln was not unlike the typical young boy who liked to laugh and play with his friends. He attended school on Knob Creek in Kentucky, and it was once said by one of his classmates, Austin Gollaher, that he didn't attend classes much, and that he didn't even have a textbook of his own. Gollaher also recalled Abraham Lincoln not having a hat. In those times, hats were hard to come by and if you had a wool hat, you were in style. (Pg. 79 vol. 1) I find this to be an interesting recollection due only to the fact that almost all of the most common pictures or paintings of Lincoln, show him in a top hat of some sort.

        Prior to the Lincoln family leaving Kentucky, Abraham and his sister were sent to schools called A B C schools. (Pg. 86 vol. 1) These were also known as "blab-schools". The "blab-schools" received their name from the method in which was used to teach the students. As proof that the students were actually studying, the students would be required to study out loud. (Pg. 86 vol.1)

        Consider this brief testimony given by Abraham Lincoln:

        "I had been fishing one day and caught a little fish which I was taking home. I met a soldier in the road, and having always been told at home that we must be good to soldiers, I gave him my fish!"(Pg. 87 in The Life of Abraham Lincoln, by William E. Barton)

        As I am reminded of my questions stated on page one, (What was it about Abraham Lincoln that made him who he was? And how did this have an affect on how he ran the country?) I can start to see the kind of person Abraham Lincoln really was, solely by this one act of kindness to a soldier. This tells me for one thing, that Abraham Lincoln had a good upbringing by his parents. For another, it tells me that Lincoln knew what it meant to be obedient and patriotic, even as a boy.

        In 1816, the Lincolns moved from Kentucky to Indiana and on October 5, 1818, Abraham's mother died. But before she did, it was said by an eye-witness that: "She placed her feeble hand on little Abe's head, she told him to be kind and good to his father and sister; to both she said, Be good to one another, expressing a hope that they might live, as they had been taught by her, to love their kindred and worship God."(Pg 116 vol.1) Here is a rather touching instance where we are given a glimpse of the kind of parents that Abraham Lincoln had. Abe's mother was a woman who, even on her deathbed, implored her children to love each other and to worship God.

        After moving to Indiana, both Abraham and Sarah attended school there. It was said that Abraham, as well as his sister Sarah, excelled in their studies. Sarah was even said to be more industrious than Abe. As a student, Abraham Lincoln liked to learn, but did not like hard work.

When it came to hard work, he, like most of us, would rather have been playing. (Pg 120 vol. 1) Much to my surprise in studying the life of Abraham Lincoln, I found that his extent of schooling consisted of less than one year! Some of the books that Abraham Lincoln read such as, the Bible, Pilgrim's progress, Weems' Life of Washington, Robinson Crusoe, and a History of the United States, undoubtedly contributed to his level of intelligence. (Pg 121 vol.1)

        The ball started rolling for Abraham Lincoln when he met a man named Denton Offutt. He was a businessman who was far-sighted, quick-witted, and had a clear head for business. (Pg 148 vol.1) Denton Offutt paved for Abraham Lincoln a highway into which things that were greater than Lincoln could have understood would come. (Pg 148 vol.1) "We are to thank Offutt for leading Abraham Lincoln a mile or more along the highway out of obscurity toward his life mission." (Pg 151 vol.1)

        In 1832, Abraham Lincoln decided to enter into politics. He had no nomination from any party, nor did he need one. On March 9, 1832, Lincoln published a declaration of principles, which stated his beliefs and opinions on different questions of the day. One of the main topics he supported was education. "He believed that every man, no matter how poor, should be able to procure for himself and his children at least sufficient education to read the Scriptures and other works both of a moral and religious nature. (Pg 171 vol. 1)

        Lincoln's first venture into politics failed to Reverend Peter Cartwright in August of 1832. Cartwright was an experienced politician and an outspoken Methodist preacher. Although Lincoln lost the election, he ran a really close race with Cartwright considering that he was a rookie to politics. In Salem, Massachusetts, Abraham Lincoln had received two hundred and seventy-seven out of the two hundred and ninety votes cast at New Salem. This laid a foundation of political success for Abraham Lincoln. (Pg 182 vol. 1)

        On May 7, 1833, Abraham Lincoln became the postmaster of the New Salem post office. He received this position via a signed petition expressing the desire for Samuel Hill to be removed and Lincoln appointed, after the women of Salem became disgusted with how Hill was running the post-office. "His service as postmaster gave to the community various opportunities of proving his honesty." (Pg 186 vol. 1) "It was in New Salem that Lincoln acquired the popular name of Honest Abe." (Pg 186 vol.1)

Abraham Lincoln was a man that could be trusted, and this fact is repeated throughout his youth, to his adulthood.

        In 1834, Abraham Lincoln for the second time, announced himself as a candidate for the Legislature. This time, he won, and by a very large margin. Lincoln was placed on the Committee of Public Accounts and Expenditures on what was called the Ninth General Assembly. Lincoln made no marked impression on this legislative body.

        In May of 1860, Abraham Lincoln was nominated for the republican presidential candidate. Lincoln was nominated by three hundred and sixty four votes, where only two hundred and thirty-four were required.

        In his presidency, Lincoln achieved many goals, some preconceived, and some not. He was a great man, and a great president, due to his honesty and integrity. The questions that I had about Abraham Lincoln, (What was it about Abraham Lincoln that made him who he was? And how did this have an affect on how he ran the country?) Were more than answered. Lincoln was a man who rose above his circumstances and chose to do the right thing. I think that this unique president draws so many people's attention to himself because of his honesty and integrity. Where have all the presidents run off to who will walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln?

Works Cited

1) The life of Abraham Lincoln, by William E. Barton. vol. One and Two.
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