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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Biography of Abraham Lincoln

By Rocky Wilson
Author of Sharene:
Death: A Prerequisite For Life

A Biography of Abraham Lincoln

Could a biography of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865,) be written without delving into the diversity of despair, tragedy, death, tenacity, victory, and genius that marked the life of the 16th president of the U.S.?

Only a man of God-given character could have withstood the pressures of heavy personal depression, the loss of three sons before they reached maturity, a marital relationship with a woman having classic symptoms of borderline personality, and a failed business to become one of the most revered leaders in American history.

And things never got easier for Abraham Lincoln. Shortly after being elected to the U.S. presidency in 1960, before he stepped into office, South Carolina started a trend of seceding from the United States of America. Before long, 10 other states joined South Carolina over the issue of slavery, and on April 12, 1861, the bloody Civil War began.
Although the victor in that conflict, Lincoln had little time to reflect on that victory or institute reparation to the South, because six days after General Robert E. Lee ended the Civil War by surrendering at the Appomattox Courthouse, in Virginia, Abraham Lincoln was killed by an assassin’s bullet.

Some key events in the life of Abraham Lincoln include:

* Born February 12, 1809, rural Kentucky

* 1817 Shoots wild turkey, has so much remorse never hunts again

* 1828 Observes slave auction in New Orleans

* 1830 Family moves to Illinois

* 1833 Business fails

* 1834 Elected to Illinois General Assembly, begins to study law

* 1842 Barely averts duel by sword with Democratic state auditor James Shields

* 1849 Leaves politics to practice law

* 1854 Elected to Illinois legislature, turns down position in unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate

* 1856 Helps organize new Republican party of Illinois

* 1858 Loses hotly contested, debate-filled U.S. Senate campaign to Stephen A. Douglas

* November 6, 1860 Elected 16th U.S. president

* November 8, 1864 Re-elected to presidency

* April 15, 1865 Killed at Ford’s Theater, in Washington D.C., by John Wilkes Booth

Some of Abraham Lincoln’s most poignant speeches, which helped pave his path to the presidency, came in opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scott Decision of 1857 that proclaimed that no slave or descendant of a slave could be or become a U.S. citizen.

Part of Abraham Lincoln’s sad personal life hinged around the women who were most important to him. His mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, passed away when Lincoln was nine-years-old; his older sister, Sarah, died giving birth; his first love, Ann Rutledge, died at age 22; and his proposal of marriage to another woman was denied, leading Lincoln into a state of severe depression. Even Lincoln’s relationship with Mary Todd, whom he married in 1842 and had four sons with, wasn’t without trials and depression.

No, a biography of Abraham Lincoln lacks substance and creditability without noting the sorrows and challenges that characterized the man’s life.

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