Abraham Lincoln was born in a cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. The couple had two other children: Abraham’s older sister Sarah and younger brother Thomas, who died in infancy. When Abraham was 9 his mother died of milk sickness at age 34 and the event was devastating on him. Abraham grew distant from his father and resented the hard work given to him at an early age. A few months after Nancy’s death, Thomas married Sarah Johnston a Kentucky widow with three children of her own. She was a strong and affectionate woman with which Abraham quickly bonded with. Though both of his parents were illiterate, Sarah encouraged Abraham to read.
Young Lincoln eventually migrated to the small community of New Salem, Illinois where over a period of years he worked as a shopkeeper, postmaster, and eventually general store owner. It was here that Lincoln, working with the public, acquired social skills and honed story-telling talent that made him popular with the people who lived in the small town. Abraham Lincoln began his political career and was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. This political understanding led him to formulate his early views on slavery, not so much as a moral wrong, but as an damper to economic development. It was around this time he decided to become a lawyer, teaching himself the law by reading Blackstone’s on the Laws of England. (N/a, . "Abraham Lincoln." www.Biography.com/people/AbrahamLincoln. Bio.com, 5 2009. Web. 5 Jan 2013. <www.Biography.com/people/AbrahamLincoln>.)
In 1844, Abraham Lincoln partnered with William Herndon in the practice of law. Though the two had different styles, they developed a close professional and personal relationship. Lincoln made a good living in his early years as a lawyer, but found that Springfield alone didn’t offer enough work, so to increase his income, he followed the court as it made its rounds to the various county seats in Illinois. Abraham Lincoln served a single term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847-1849. He used his term in office to speak out against the Mexican-American War and supported Zachary Taylor for president in 1848. His criticism of the war made him unpopular back home and he decided not to run for second term, but instead returned Springfield to practice law.
In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, a high spirited, educated woman from a higer- up Kentucky family. In the beginning many of the couples friends and family couldn’t understand Mary’s attraction, and at times Lincoln even questioned it himself. However, in 1841 the engagement was suddenly broken off, most likely at Lincoln’s request. They met later, at a party and eventually married on November 4, 1842. The couple had four children, of which only one, Robert, survived to adulthood.
Though Abraham Lincoln felt African Americans were not equal to whites, he believed that all men were created with certain rights. Lincoln decided to challenge sitting U.S. Senator Stephen Dougls for his seat. In his nomination acceptance speech, he criticized Douglas, the Supreme Court, and the President for promoting slavery and declared “a house divided cannot stand.” The 1858 Senate campaign featured seven debates held in different cities all over Illinois. The two candidates didn’t disappoint the public, giving great debates on issues ranging from states’ rights to west expansion, but the central issue in all the debates was slavery. Newspaper reporters covered the debates without question. In the end, the state legislature elected Douglas, but the experience vaulted Lincoln into national politics.
In 1860, political companies in Illinois organized a campaign to support Lincoln for the presidency. On May 18th at the Republican National Convention Abraham Lincoln…