Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born to Thomas and Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln on February 12, 1809, near
Hodgenville, KY, located on the south fork of the Nolin River. In 1816 when Abraham was
seven years old the Lincoln family left for Indiana. They decided to cross the Ohio River
partly because Kentuckians were slave-holders. However, Kentucky continued to play an
important part in Lincoln's life. In 1837 Lincoln settled in Springfield, Illinois, to
practice law. Here, he met Mary Todd from Lexington and they were soon married in 1842.
Together they had four sons, however only one, Robert, survived to maturity.Abraham
Lincoln stood six feet, four inches tall and weighed about 180 pounds. Although his formal
schooling lasted only a year, he gained, mostly by reading, an unusual facility in the
English language. In 1858, Abraham ran for the U.S. Senate against Stephen A. Douglas,
their debates on slavery catapulted Lincoln to national recognition. He lost the Senate
election, but the Republicans nominated him for the presidency in 1860. Lincoln defeated
Douglas and was inaugurated as president of the United States on March 4, 1861. The
following month the Civil War began, Lincoln's struggle to save the Union dominated his
whole presidency. In 1864, Abraham won his re-election as well. His second inaugural
address and his Gettysburg address are his most notable speeches. Although he had little
military experience, Lincoln also distinguished himself as commander in chief of the army
and navy. On Good Friday, April 15, 1865, Abraham died after being shot the previous day
while attending Ford's Theater in Washington. A funeral railroad car carried his body
slowly back by the same route he had followed on his way to Washington four years earlier.
He is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.
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