Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin in Hardin Kentucky. His father Thomas Lincoln was a carpenter and farmer who was always very poor. Both of his parents were members of a Baptist congregation which had split from another church because of its views against slavery. This is where Abe first developed his own opposition to slavery. When Abe was nine the family moved to Spencer, Indiana, and his mother Nancy died from milk sickness. Milk sickness was a disease acquired by drinking the milk of cows which had grazed on poisonous white snakeroot. Soon after, Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston who treated Abe like her own son. Abe had no formal schooling as a child so he ended up teaching himself. Abe loved to read so he spent most of his days out in the fields reading books. In 1831, Abe settled in the village of New Salem, Illinois. He began working in a mill and managing a store where he became popular amongst the members of the community. He impressed residents with his character and earned the nickname "Honest Abe." In 1832 he was chosen captain of a volunteer company gathered for the Black Hawk War, but the company never saw battle. After, he returned to New Salem and became a partner in a grocery store that later failed. This left Abe in debt and forced him to work various jobs such as the village postmaster and rail splitting.
Lincoln's early political career began in 1834 when he was elected to the state legislature where he served four consecutive years. During this time he became a member of the Whig party. In 1836, he received his attorney license and soon became law partners with John T. Stuart. Lincoln's career in law steadily increased because of his great ability to debate and his articulacy of speech.
In 1842 he married Mary Todd. Over the next eleven years they had four children: Robert, Edward, William, and Thomas. In 1847 he ran for the House of Representatives and won. While in Congress he became known for his opposition to the Mexican War and slavery. He worked hard for the 1848 Whig candidate Zachary Taylor. Lincoln hoped that this hard work would help him get the position of Commissioner of the General Land Office, but it never happened. So Lincoln decided to drop politics and return to practicing law.
In 1854, Lincoln got caught back up in politics in the debates of slavery. He opposed the views of Stephan A. Douglas, and in particular, the Kansas-Nebraska act. In a speech in Springfield, he attacked the compromises about slavery and the democratic views contained in the Declaration of Independence. He tried and failed to become a Senator in 1855, but he received some support for the Republican Vice-Presidential nomination in 1856.
He soon found himself moving away from the Whig party, and moving towards the newly formed Republican Party. In 1856, he finally became a Republican. He quickly came to the front of this party as an opponent of slavery...