(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)
It is 4th of July and we will be celebrating some great Americans on our website today with periodic posts. Today, a great president leads off our Great Americans column.
The Civil War was one of the most transformative periods of American history and leading the county at the time was Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln oversaw the bloodiest war the nation had ever seen and had to try and reunite a shattered United States. Abraham Lincoln served as president from 1861 to 1865 before he was assassinated in April 1865 by John Wilkes Booth.
Lincoln’s legacy is preserving the Union, abolishing slavery and moving America into a post-Civil War period of modernization and a stronger federal government.
Lincoln was born in Kentucky in 1809 and grew up on the frontier in a poor family. He self-taught himself to be a lawyer and would eventually become an Illinois state legislator and Congressman. He became a Whig Party leader before stepping down from government to resume his law practice. With the growing slavery controversy spreading west, however, he joined politics again in 1854 and joined the new Republican Party.
In 1858, he entered into a series of debates against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas for an Illinois Senate seat. He ran for President in 1860 and won the North states handily.
Lincoln managed the war effort, spending many hours in the White House’s war department telegraph room. Replacing many generals before settling on Ulysses Grant. The Civil War was a trying time as the South had many battles won but logistically was at a large disadvantage due to the more populated North, which also had more industry to conduct war. During the Civil War, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address, considered one of the greatest speeches in American history, and played a big part in the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.
The war took a lot out of Lincoln and for a time he thought he was going to be defeated in the 1864 election. The U.S. was the first republic to hold an election during an open Civil War. Looming reconstruction had Lincoln extending an olive branch to the South in an effort to reunited with the South despite members in his own party wanting to punish the former Confederacy as much as possible.
While attending a play at Ford’s Theater he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln is regarded by many as the best president the country has had in its history with the way he handled the Civil War and everything surrounding it.