Abraham Lincoln as he appears in Civilization Revolution.
|Date of birth||1809 AD|
|Date of death||1865 AD|
|Starts with||A Great Person|
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President Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865 AD) was born in 1809 on the American frontier in Hardin County, Kentucky. While not poor, Lincoln certainly had more in common with the average American than his more affluent political counterparts. An almost entirely self-made man, Lincoln's formal education included only 18 months of unofficial schooling which he supplemented with his own studies. Teaching himself law, he was admitted to the bar in 1837 upon which he became a well-known and successful lawyer.
In the mid-nineteenth century the United States was bitterly divided over the issue of slavery. The mostly-agrarian South viewed slavery as an economic necessity, while the more urbanized North largely saw it as immoral. As the North's population and economic power grew, the South became increasingly concerned that the North would force it to abandon its "peculiar institution."
In 1860 Lincoln was elected president of the United States. Although he was considered a moderate on slavery - he did not seek to end slavery where it existed, but wished to limit its expansion - following his election a number of Deep South states announced their secession from the United States. By April of 1861 the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and the American Civil War began in earnest.
The war's outcome was anything but pre-ordained. The North greatly outnumbered the South and had far more industrial power. However, the South began the war with the better military officers. Finally, the British were generally supportive of the South - although the Brits did not approve of slavery, they admired the Southern character greatly and they badly needed Southern cotton - and their intervention might give the Rebels a decisive advantage.
As a war president, Lincoln needed to craft a winning strategy, build a mighty military force and isolate the South from foreign intervention while maintaining popular Northern support for the war effort.
The early years of the war were generally marked by a series of crushing defeats for the Union, as one incompetent general after another was defeated by superior Confederate tactics. Seeking to further demoralize the Union and perhaps to spark British intervention, the Confederacy launched an audacious invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania under the command of the brilliant general Robert E. Lee. In July of 1862 the Northern and Southern forces met at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and after a terrible three-day battle the Rebel forces were decisively beaten and forced to retreat to Virginia. Simultaneously, Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant captured the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last Southern stronghold on the vital Mississippi river.
These victories greatly strengthened sagging Northern morale. Shortly thereafter Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which, although it did not immediately repeal slavery, clearly sounded its death knell in the United States. By so doing Lincoln gained popular British support for the North's cause, making it virtually impossible for the British government to intervene on the Southern cause.
As the war progressed, Lincoln began to find the generals he needed to achieve victory. By 1865 the last Southern army was captured and the Rebellion was finally crushed. Lincoln was assassinated shortly afterwards, having lived just long enough to see the victory.
A brilliant politician and a savvy war leader, Lincoln is perhaps best known for his oratory skill. His magnificent words did perhaps as much as anything to save the Union, and they can still stir the heart today.
"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" - Abraham Lincoln