From his rough childhood to his tragic assassination, there might not be a greater president then Abraham Lincoln. His tough life helped him become the famous president we know him as today. Abraham Lincoln’s life was always full of adversity.
As a child, Abraham Lincoln and his family always struggled. He was born on February 12, 1809 in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky. Named after his grandfather, Abraham, Lincoln did not talk much as a boy and was described as poor and backwards (Freedman 3) His family moved when he was a toddler. Then Lincoln's mother died when he was nine of milk sickness. The loss of his mother devastated him. He grew alienated from his father and resented the hard work placed on him at an early age. A few months after her death, Thomas Lincoln remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston, a Kentucky widow with three kids of her own. She was a strong affectionate woman with whom Lincoln quickly bonded. Months later the Lincolns had to move again, due to a land dispute, this time to Indiana where the family “squatted” on public land to scrap out a living in a crude shelter (“Abraham Lincoln”).
Years later Lincoln began his political career. He was elected to the Illinois state legislature in 1834 as a member of the Whig Party. Around this time was when Lincoln had become a lawyer (“Abraham Lincoln”). From 1837 to 1860, he practiced law in the state of Illinois. (Urquhart 115+). He joined the House of Representatives in 1847. As the lone member of the Whig Party, he found few political allies but remained loyal to his party. As a member of the House, he spoke out against the Mexican American War and supported Zachary Taylor for president in 1848. This made him unpopular in the state of Illinois. In 1849, he decided not to run for a second term and returned to Springfield to practice law. Lincoln would remain out of politics until 1857, when the Scott V. Sanford ruling stated that African Americans were not citizens and had no inherent rights. Abraham Lincoln felt that African Americans were not equal to whites and believed that the country's founders intended that every man was created with inalienable rights.
Lincoln decided to take action and challenged Senator Stephen Douglas for his seat. In his nomination acceptance speech, he criticized Douglas, the Supreme Court, and President Buchanan for promoting slavery and declared, “A house divided cannot stand” (“Abraham Lincoln”). The state legislature elected Douglas but the political exposure vaulted Lincoln into national politics. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 allowed states to decide if they were slave or free. This law provoked violence in many states including Illinois. He was against slavery and joined the Republican Party in 1856. Four years later, political operatives in Lincoln’s home state of Illinois organized a campaign for a Lincoln presidency. On May 18, he beat out better-known candidates for the nomination with...