The Life of Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States of America. Prior to assumption of office, Lincoln was an American statesman and a layer. Lincoln actively participated in politics assuming various positions throughout his political life before he was elected president. Lincoln who was born and raised in Kentucky and later Indiana, he was largely self-educated as he hailed from a poor background. Soon after, he became an established lawyer in Illinois, then a Whig Party Leader and was consequently elected to the Illinois House of Representatives. In this position, Lincoln served the citizens of Illinois State for eight years. Thereafter, in the year 1846 Lincoln was elected into the United States House of Representatives where he raised and promoted several agendas, including the rapid modernization of the U.S. economy and also strongly opposed the Mexican-American War (Charnwood 80-84). Lincoln, however, served just a single term whereby he later recommenced his well-established law practice.

In 1854 Lincoln took up politics once more and was among the leaders who pioneered the New Republican Party, Come 1858 Lincoln was at it against campaigning to the position of Senator for the Illinois State. Against his opponent, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln engaged in a series of highly publicized debates where he outrightly spoke against the intensive spread of slavery at the time. Lincoln, however, lost the seat to his opponent. Due to the popularity he had gained over the years, Lincoln was able to secure his party’s presidential nomination in the year 1860 (Nicolay and Hay 31). Relentlessly, Lincoln continued to advocate against the spread of slavery and used this as his campaign strategy.  He amused remarkable support from the Northern States since they were not as dependent on slaves as their Southern States counterparts who heavily relied on slaves to work on their plantations. Regardless, Lincoln triumphed in the presidential election and began his reign in the year 1860.

This did not settle well with the Southern States as seven of their states broke out from the United States of America and formed the Confederates States of America even before President Lincoln moved into the White House. During his tenure as the president of the U.S. Lincoln was able to lead the nation through one of the most historic events that have since shaped the history of the nation, the Civil War 1861 to 1865, where he employed his Statesmanship conduct. Lincoln assumption into office did not deter his beliefs and stand. He largely advocated for free labor for all humans and most especially the abolition of slavery. Although at the time his ideologies applied only to the male gender, Lincoln notes that a man had the right and freedom to work wherever and however he pleased, could amuse as much wealth and property as he would see fit and lastly he would utilize his abilities and talents to achieve his wildest dreams. The Northern states largely supported Lincoln since they were much more established that the Southern States and thus, did not attach much value to the Salves. Lincoln states that “There is no permanent class of hired laborers among us. Twenty-five years ago, I was a hired laborer. The hired laborer of yesterday, labors on his own account today…… Advancement is the order of things in a society of equals” (Friedman 24). He notes that free labor was far more morally superior and economically advantageous as opposed to the slave-based alternative that the southern states had embraced.

Lincoln’s Assassination

Lincolns continued the fight against slavery as well as other activities such as awarding certain black individuals the rights to vote provoked and angered the Confederates even further as well as their sympathizers. John Wilkes Booth was a renowned actor as well as among the top sympathizers of the Confederates. Having been born in a family of prominent actors, Booth was able to build a name for himself and was soon nationally recognized celebrity. Booth was quite outspoken, and more so in regard to his thoughts and perspectives regarding the President actions towards the South (Wallenfeldt). In the year 1860, Booth was initiated into the pro-Confederate Knights of the Golden Circle. Henceforth he was a foolproof member willing to defend to Confederates regardless of the consequences. The Union, led by President Lincoln exercised measures such as the restraining of exchange of prisoners of wars with the Confederate Army, which consequently had detrimental effects on the human labor available in the South. As a retaliation approach, Booth sought to kidnap the President in attempts aimed at coursing the Union Army to reinstate the exchange of prisoners. Upon recruiting other members, their plan was to abduct Lincoln during a scheduled play that he was meant to attend at the Campbell Military Hospital. This failed as the president opted for other plans. At the time the Confederate was falling apart as some of its leaders had fled while others turned themselves into the Union Army. Booth was nonetheless relentless and was aimed at reviving the Confederate.

Booth’s plans took a drastic turn from kidnapping to assassination as the president awarded the blacks the rights to vote. This announcement was made two days following the surrender of the Confederates General. Booth was outraged by the president’s announcements and swore “Now, by God! I’ll put him through. That is the last speech he will ever make”. Booth lived up to his words as days later he assassinates the president.  On the evening of April 14, 1865, Booth had dropped by the theatre to collect a letter addressed to him. It’s upon this visit that he was able to learn of the president’s plan to attend a film at the theater. Booth abandoned all his subsequent plans and sought to hold a meeting with his conspirators on the final implementation of their plans. Booth outlined their strategic plan of executing all top officials of the government at a go in order to topple the government. Booth’s conspirators included Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt. While Booth’s mission was to assassinate the president, the others were awarded responsibilities where, George Atzerodt was meant to kill the Vice president Andrew Johnson, and the other two, Powell and Herold, were meant to execute the Secretary of State William H. Seward.

The president in the company of his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, arrived at Ford’s theater a bit late as Laura keene’s acclaimed performance of “Our American Cousin’ was ongoing and occupied their distinguished private box. The president was al through in a good mood and he seemed to enjoy the production gathered from the hearty laughs once in a while. At exactly 10.15 like they had planned out, Booth made his way into the private box that hosted the president and other dignitaries and fired a shot using his 44-caliber single-shot derringer pistol into the president’s head. Soon after, Booth was heard shouting “Sic simper tyrannis” which meant “Thus ever to tyrant!” Amidst the chaos, the attending crowd perceived that the drama unfolding was part of the productions. These thoughts were, however, cut short by the president’s wife screams which alerted them of the events that had transpired. Booth managed to escape, though with a broken leg, in a fast horse that had been strategically positioned awaiting him.

The first response was from a 23-year old doctor who was among the audiences of the production. As he rushed into the private box, the doctor was met by an unpleasant state of the U.S. president. Lincoln was slumped on his sit appearing paralyzed and was also struggling to breathe ( Soldiers then carried the president across the street into a boarding house where the surgeon general upon arrival announced that Lincoln’s life would be impossible to save and that the president would probably die in the next few hours. At the same time, the Secretary of State’s who was recuperating in his home following an accident was slit twice on the throat but he was able to survive and lived on for seven more years to uphold the legacy of Lincoln. The conspirator assigned to the vice president developed cold feet and abandoned the plan in the last minute. Lincoln’s assassination set a record in the history of the United States as he was the first president to be assassinated.

The unfolding events were devastating, as the members of Lincoln’s cabinet, the vice president and several of his friends stood vigil by his bedside all night. Lincoln finally met his demise the following morning at 7.22 am on the April 15th while he was at the age of 56 years. An autopsy was conducted on Lincoln by the surgeons present, even as one of the Army surgeons in attendance recounts how the team stopped to gaze at the bullet that had caused such a huge tragedy while also changing the course of the world’s history ( Editors). The news had spread far and wide and the nation was in tears mourning a hero who had seen them through some of the hardest times, the Civil War. Their celebrations as the Civil War was coming to an end were cut short and they were thrown into a turmoil of sorrow.

Booth was on the run even with his hurt leg. Thousands of soldiers were dispersed in search of Booth as well as other conspirators. Days later Booth was apprehended but in the process, as he resisted arrest, he was shot at the back of his head and died two to three hours later. His conspirators, on the other hand, were apprehended and charged as part of the assassination of the president as well as other failed attempts and were set for execution by hanging on July 7th, 1865.

Work Cited

Charnwood Lord. Abraham Lincoln, 2006, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018]. Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Library of Congress, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018].

Friedman J. Michael. Path to the White House: Abraham Lincoln From 1854, 2017, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018]. Editors. Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination, 2018, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018].

Nicolay G. John and Hay John. Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln. Francis D. Tandy Company, Volume 1, 2010, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018]. The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, 2018, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018].

Wallenfeldt Jeff. Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, 2018, [Accessed 18th Nov 2018].

November 24, 2023

Government Life

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Abraham Lincoln

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