Abraham Lincoln: A Self Made Man Essay

2405 words - 10 pages

Abraham Lincoln, an autodidactic early American, grew up amidst the unlikely setting of the American frontier to an impoverished and undistinguished family (Donald n.p.). Lincoln built himself up in a world built to bring him down, and rose “from [these] humble origins in Kentucky, to prominent positions in legal and political circles of Illinois, and then to the pinnacle of presidency” (Donald n.p.). Within two months of gaining presidency, in contempt of Lincoln’s noble efforts, the American Civil War broke out amongst the country, and Abraham Lincoln, undeterred by the considerable amount of stress he was under, managed to keep together and ultimately strengthen the broken nation (Gienapp). Lincoln boldly proceeded to denounce and even completely abolish slavery in America when he instituted the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War, and adeptly convinced the Senate to pass the Thirteenth Amendment (Hamilton). Abraham Lincoln, America’s sixteenth president, left a significant impact on the country when he left an admirable legacy for future Americans to appreciate despite his difficult upbringing and personal life, when he consolidated the Union despite a civil war, and when he led the revolutionary movement to abolish slavery despite the controversy.
“Lincoln's rise from a humble pioneer background to the highest office in the land began with his birth in a one-room log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809” (Waugh). Lincoln was born into a farming family that had been forced to move from Kentucky to Indiana and then Illinois due to the competition of neighboring farms using the newly legalized slave labor (Hamilton). “After living several months in a crude shelter with one side open to the constantly roaring fire, they moved their meager possessions into a log cabin” (Hamilton). Lincoln took an interest in education at a young age, but only received a few months of formal education through a small schoolhouse near his farm in Illinois (Waugh). His father, Thomas Lincoln, thought that Abraham was “lazy because he preferred reading to farm work and often took a book to read between tasks,” and often criticized his unusual passion for reading (Gienapp 7). “Even at [an] early age, Lincoln’s real interest was politics. For an ambitious young man with oratorical skills, politics was a way to make a name and rise in the world,” something many historians agree that Lincoln was always determined to do (Gienapp 16). Abraham eventually became president and after serving his first term and being elected for another, he had a tragic death when a radical confederate assassinated him. Everything about Lincoln, from his atypical ambition to learn, to his rather bland and uninteresting origins, Lincoln was without a doubt a self-made man.
From the moment of his assassination to the present, Lincoln has left an impactful legacy highlighting his notably unadulterated qualities that provides an exemplar American character for all to...

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