Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, is one of the greatest American Presidents.

He is known today for his Presidency in which he fought the Confederacy during
the Civil War and abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation and later
the Thirteenth Amendment. He was an intelligent, honest, and just leader who
governed at a critical time in American history. PRE-PRESIDENCY Lincoln was born
on the twelfth of February 1809 in a cabin three miles outside of Hodgenville,

Kentucky. He was later forced to move to Indiana. As a child Lincoln worked on
his familyís farm clearing fields and tending crops. He liked to read but
unfortunately received hardly any formal education. In fact, his entire
schooling only amounted to about one year of attendance. (Brit. 23) In 1830

Lincolnís family moved to Illinois. Lincoln didnít want to be a farmer, so
he tried other professions: rail-splitter, flatboat man, storekeeper,
postmaster, surveyor, an army man, and a profession in Law. In 1932 Lincoln, at
twenty-three years old, decided to run for the Illinois State legislature.

Lincoln was to campaign for local improvements such as better roads and canals.

However, a war with the Indians broke out before Lincolnís campaign could get
going. In response, he joined the Army. After his short wartime, Lincoln
returned to politics and lost the race of Illinois Legislature. In 1834 he ran
again and was elected- second of thirteen. At the age of 25 Lincoln was a member
of the Illinois Legislature. After his term in the legislature, Lincoln found he
needed more money. So, he started studying law on his own. He accepted a job in

Springfield at John Todd Stuartís practice. In the late 1830ís Lincoln found
the love of his life, Mary Ann Todd, the daughter of a rich banker. She got
engaged to Abe in 1840 and the two were married in 1842. They had thee children
together, Willie and Tad Lincoln. In 1946 Lincoln won the Whig nomination for a
seat in the House of Representatives for Illinois and sat in Congress in 1847.

The major issues of the time were the Mexican-American war, which Lincoln
opposed, and slavery. Lincoln was not an anti-slavery crusader. However, he did
vote in Congress to stop it from spreading. Morally, Lincoln hated slavery and
said slaver was "founded on both injustice and bad policy." He wanted to
abolish slavery over time because he thought dramatic actions to end slavery
would lead to violence. Lincoln felt that Congress should not interfere with
slavery in states in which it already existed. After his term in Congress,

Lincoln left politics again for a full time law practice. In the early 1850ís

Senator Stephen Douglas opened the issue of slavery in the territories of Kansas
and Nebraska. In 1854, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska act, allowing the
issue of slavery in Kansas and Nebraska to be decided by popular sovereignty.

Lincoln was "thunderstruck and stunned." This act brought him back into
politics. He felt obligated to speak out against the Kansas-Nebraska act. So,
after Lincoln left law he traveled across Illinois campaigning for anti-slavery

Whigs. In his campaigning Lincoln called slavery a "cancer" and a"monstrous injustice." He said he believed in the Declaration of

Independence, which states "all men are created equal." However, he wasnít
sure of what to do with slavery in the states where it already existed in. In

1856, Lincoln switched from the Whig Party to the Republican Party because the

Whigs were weak and could never unite against slavery. Lincoln felt that if he
wanted to make a point he would have to be with a strong party. In 1858, Lincoln
won the Republican Nomination for the Illinois Senate seat. He wanted the seat
of his long time rival, Senator Stephen Douglas. In Lincolnís first speech for
his Senate campaign Lincoln said, "I believe this government cannot endure,
permanently, half slave and half free." Lincoln warned his opponents that the
spread of slavery must be stopped or else it would become "lawful in all the
states; old as well as new- north as well as south." In July of 1958, Lincoln
challenged Senator Douglas to a series of seven three-hour, public debates.

Thousands of people showed up to watch the Little Giant (Douglas) vs. Long Abe.

Douglas fought for white supremacy. He believed the country could endure half
free and half slave. Douglas said whites made this country therefore they should
run it. Lincoln wanted equality. During one debate Lincoln said: "There is no
reason in the world why the Negro is not entitled to all the natural rights
enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right of life,