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American Writers: a journey through history is a permanent archive for educators, researchers and every one interested in the writers featured in the  C‑SPAN series.


Born: February 12, 1809 - Near Hodgenville, Kentucky
Died: April 14, 1865 - Washington, D.C.

Born in poverty, he moved with his family to Indiana and Illinois. Largely self-taught, he became a lawyer. He served in the state legislature (1834-41), moving to Springfield, Ill., during his tenure, and in the U.S. House of Representatives (1847-49). A supporter of the new Republican Party
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Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
C-SPAN's Video Library: Abraham Lincoln
in its antislavery stand, in 1858 he ran for U.S. Senate against the incumbent, Stephen A. Douglas; though he was unsuccessful, their eloquent debates brought Lincoln to national attention. In 1860 he won the Republican presidential nomination and was elected president. Though Lincoln had expressed a moderate view on slavery during the campaign, opposing only its extension into new states, the South seceded and the Civil War began in 1861.

The war dominated Lincoln's administration. To unite the North and influence foreign opinion, he issued the landmark Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. His extraordinary Gettysburg Address later that year further ennobled the war's purpose; it contains the most celebrated language ever spoken by an American politician. He was reelected in 1864, and in his eloquent Second Inaugural Address he called for moderation in reconstructing the South and in building a harmonious Union. Five days after the war's end, he was shot by the fanatic John Wilkes Booth. His reputation among U.S. presidents remains unsurpassed.

Works by Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg Address
House Divided
Letter to Mrs. Bixby
Lincoln's other celebrated writings include his House Divided speech of 1858, a prelude to the Lincoln-Douglas debates; his Cooper Union Speech of February, 1860, leading up to his nomination; his Message to Congress of December 1, 1862; and his moving Letter to Mrs. Bixby, a woman who had lost five sons in combat. More widely known during his lifetime than his serious oratory were his pithy and often humorous aphorisms.

Web sites about Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Online
Abraham Lincoln Research Site
Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library, Library of Congress Site

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