Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln
Photo: Alexander Gardner , 1863Abraham Lincoln Signature.svg

Abraham Lincoln  [ ˈeɪbɹəhæm ˈliŋkən ] (born February 12, 1809 near Hodgenville , Hardin County , today: LaRue County , Kentucky , † April 15, 1865 in Washington, DC ) served from 1861 to 1865 as the 16th President of the United States of America . First elected in 1860 , he was re-elected for a second term in 1864 . He was the first President from the ranks of the Republican Party and the first to be assassinated . Please click to listen!Play

Lincoln's presidency is considered to be one of the most important in the history of the United States : The election of the opponent of slavery prompted initially seven and later another four of the slave-holding southern states to leave the Union and to form their own confederation, the Confederate States of America . Lincoln led the remaining northern states through the resulting civil war . He enforced the restoration of the Union and successfully abolished slavery in the United States . Under his government, the country finally embarked on the path to becoming a centrally governed, modern industrial state , thus creating the basis for its rise to world power in the 20th century.


Replica of the log cabin in Hodgenville where Abraham Lincoln was born ( Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park )
Lincoln in 1832

Childhood and adolescence

Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm near the village of Hodgenville, Kentucky. His parents were the farmer Thomas Lincoln and his wife Nancy, both of whom were from Virginia . Thomas Lincoln's ancestors had emigrated to America from the eastern English county of Norfolk a few generations earlier . His family also included Abraham's older sister Sarah and a younger brother Thomas Jr., who died shortly after birth.

As a devout Baptist , Lincoln's father rejected Kentucky slavery even though some of his relatives were slave owners. In late 1816, he and his family moved to Little Pigeon Creek in southwest slave-free Indiana . Two years later, his wife Nancy died of what is known as milk sickness . In 1819, Thomas Lincoln married the widow Sarah Bush Johnston, who had three children of their own. As a half-orphan, Abraham Lincoln maintained a warm relationship with his stepmother all his life - also because, unlike his father, she supported his pursuit of education.

The educational opportunities on the frontier , the settlement boundary to the wilderness, were extremely limited. In the Indiana region where the Lincoln residents lived at the time, there were only sporadic one-room schools in log cabins where children of all ages were taught together. Much more than basic knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic was not taught there. The students mostly learned by reciting together. Even this type of teaching was very infrequent for Lincoln. From 1816 to 1827 he attended various schools in and around what is now Cannelton , but between the ages of 11 and 15 he did not spend more than a year in total. He acquired his extensive education primarily as an autodidact . Young Lincoln was hungry for reading and devoured every book he could get hold of. In addition to the King James Bible , he was particularly influenced by the dramas of William Shakespeare and works by Homer , Virgil , John Dryden , John Milton and Daniel Defoe . His literacy and dexterity in expression soon became known in the immediate vicinity, so that even as a teenager neighbors asked him to write letters for them.

At the time, however, Lincoln's life essentially consisted of hard and unloved farm work with his father. Thomas Lincoln also loaned his son to neighbors for a fee if they needed support. Abraham Lincoln shared the pioneering existence of his family in Indiana until he was 19. In 1830 the Lincoln's moved west again, to Macon County , Illinois . Shortly after Abraham left home and settled in the prairie town of New Salem , in neighboring Sangamon County , where he a job as a merchant's assistant accepted. In the next few years he worked there as a land surveyor and post office keeper. In his spare time he worked as a wrestler. He was a champion in his county in 1830 and suffered only one defeat in the next ten years. He got to know urban America for the first time in 1831, when he worked as a raftsman on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers downriver to New Orleans .

Lincoln's rise

In 1832, Lincoln participated as a volunteer in the campaign against the Sauk - Indians under Chief Black Hawk part, but without being involved in combat. His comrades chose him as captain on this occasion. That, and the fact that he had been a good speaker at a New Salem debating club, encouraged him to run for the Illinois House of Representatives that same year . As a supporter of the Whigs , he campaigned for the expansion of traffic routes and an improvement in the school system. Lincoln failed at the first attempt, but in 1834 he won the mandate that he would hold for four legislative terms until 1842.

MP and attorney in Illinois

Lincoln's home in Springfield

The state parliament of Illinois had its seat in the first state capital Vandalia until 1839 . As Honest Abe , a nickname that was to remain with him, Abraham Lincoln quickly gained so much trust there that he was elected spokesman for the finance committee and, at the age of 27, party leader of the opposition Whigs. His first public statement against slavery dates back to 1837. In a parliamentary debate, he stated that "the institution of slavery is due to injustice and bad politics".

In the early years of his political career, Lincoln completed a disciplined self-study in law ; In 1836 he was admitted to the Illinois Bar. The following year he founded a joint law firm with attorney John T. Stuart in the new capital of Illinois, Springfield . But even as a lawyer, Lincoln lived in extremely modest circumstances for a long time.

During his time in Springfield, Lincoln approached the Freemasons , who were highly regarded at the time. Although he was benevolent towards the association, he never became a member, as later erroneously claimed. Shortly before his election as president, he applied for admission to Tyrian Lodge No. 333 back in Springfield because he did not want this move to be misunderstood as a campaign tactic.

Starting a family

Mary Lincoln

In 1842, Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd , who came from a wealthy family of Kentucky planters and slave owners. This association met with considerable resistance among the Todds, as Lincoln had little wealth and his political views largely contradicted theirs. A relative of Mary Lincoln, her brother-in-law Benjamin Hardin Helm, even rose to be general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He later fell in the Battle of Chickamauga .

Abraham and Mary Lincoln had four sons:

  • Robert Todd Lincoln (born August 1, 1843 in Springfield, Illinois, † July 26, 1926 in Manchester , Vermont )
  • Edward "Eddie" Baker Lincoln (born March 10, 1846 in Springfield, Illinois, † February 1, 1850 there)
  • William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln (born December 21, 1850 in Springfield, Illinois, † February 20, 1862 in Washington, DC )
  • Thomas "Tad" Lincoln (born April 4, 1853 in Springfield, Illinois, † July 16, 1871 in Chicago , Illinois).

So two children died during Lincoln's lifetime, and only Robert reached adulthood. Like his father, he embarked on a career as a lawyer and politician and was US Secretary of War from 1881 to 1885 . The last direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, a great-grandson, died in 1985 at the age of 81.

Member of the House of Representatives

In the year of his marriage, Lincoln resigned from the state parliament of Illinois to devote more time to his legal work. He gained a reputation as a specialist in railway law and gradually came to modest prosperity. In 1842, Lincoln tried in vain to be a Whigs candidate in the House of Representatives elections . He led his failure to the fact that he belonged to no church, and on 22 September with the democratic politician James Shields a duel with wicker swords to have delivered, even if this means no one was injured.

Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives in 1846 as one of the leaders of the Whigs in the young state. In Washington he appeared as an opponent of President James K. Polk and his war policy against Mexico . So he called Polk, who represented the war as an act of self-defense, in several resolutions to on, the exact point (English: spot ) to designate where the Mexican army in US territory was invaded. These motions, ignored by Polk, became known as Spot Resolutions , while Lincoln himself was attacked by the majority of the press for his opposition to the war and ridiculed as spotty Lincoln . However, he did not go so far as to approve the cancellation of funds for the army. In January 1849, he introduced a resolution restricting slavery in the District of Columbia . Otherwise he hardly made a name for himself when he first appeared in federal politics.

It was important for Lincoln to stay in close contact with his constituents, which he had built through his work as a lawyer. He therefore turned down an offer to join a law firm in Chicago as a partner. Since he lived in Washington without his family, a career in the federal capital did not appeal to him. President Zachary Taylor , who came into office in 1849, offered him to become governor of the new Oregon Territory , which included the present-day states of Oregon , Washington and Idaho as well as parts of Montana and Wyoming . But he turned down this too and returned to Springfield in 1849. For the next five years, Abraham Lincoln retired from politics. Only the intensification of the conflict between proponents and opponents of slavery brought it back to the political stage.

Path to the presidency

In order to understand how Abraham Lincoln was able to go from being a party leader that was hardly known beyond Illinois to becoming a politician with all America and finally a presidential candidate for the new Republican Party, one has to look at the development of the slave question and Lincoln's attitude towards it.

Contrasts between north and south

Socially, culturally and economically, the north and south of the USA differed in essential points. They formed completely opposing economic systems, whose interests became increasingly difficult to reconcile in the course of the 19th century. The south, as an agricultural country dependent on the export of cotton , tobacco and other plantation products , advocated a free trade policy in which it was supported by Great Britain . The north, who wanted to protect its still young industry from the import of mass products from England, advocated the highest possible protective tariffs . The Whigs' party - especially its founder Henry Clay , whom Lincoln regarded as his role model -, like later the Republicans, demanded a strong central power, a national bank and federal spending to improve interstate infrastructure, for example by building highways and canals. Last but not least, they advocated the principle of free labor in the newly settled areas of the West. The Democratic Party , traditionally strong in the south , rejected all of this and was in favor of extensive autonomy for the individual states. This included the right of new states to allow slavery on their territory.

Despite its smaller population, the south with its rich planter aristocracy took on the political and social leading role within the USA until the civil war. For example, most of the presidents came from the slave states. In addition, the vote of a white southerner weighed much more heavily than that of a northerner in elections. The number of MPs a state was allowed to send to the House of Representatives depended on its population. In each of the southern states, however, the number of Afro-American slaves living there was added to three-fifths, although they themselves were denied the right to vote. Since the beginning of the 19th century, industrialization and population growth in the north advanced rapidly, so that the economic weight shifted more and more in its favor. At the same time, however, the votes of the southerners in Congress gained weight as the number of their slaves rose from 500,000 to 4 million between 1780 and 1860. The main reason that slavery was on the rise, despite the official ban on the slave trade in force since 1808, was the continuing boom in the American cotton industry.

Slaves core the cotton with the help of cotton gin (subsequent illustration from 1869)

In the early years of the republic even many southern politicians who - like George Washington or Thomas Jefferson - were slaveholders themselves, had thought of a gradual abolition or an end of slavery. In 1793, however, Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin , a machine that separates the fibers of the cotton from its seed pods. It increased the efficiency of ginning by 50 times and made large-scale cotton cultivation - and thus also the use of slaves - more profitable than ever. Between 1790 and 1820 cotton exports to England alone increased more than a hundredfold, from 700,000 to 76 million kilograms. Since cotton heavily leaches out the soil, new areas for cultivation are required after a few years. Unlike all other cotton producers worldwide, however, the southerners had almost unlimited land, labor and capital - because of the areas in the west that were still uninhabited by whites, slavery and financially strong lenders in the north. The United States dominated in 1860 thanks to King Cotton (King Cotton) the global cotton market.

In the first 50 years after the founding of the USA, the slave question had played only a subordinate role in domestic politics. With the expansion of slavery, resistance to it also grew. Many northerners rejected it for economic reasons, such as the peasant supporters of the Free Soil Party , who saw themselves exposed to unfair competition for land and cheap labor from the southern planters. Similarly, the southern style Author Hinton Rowan Helper argued in his bestseller The Impending Crisis of the South (The impending crisis of the South) , in which he portrayed slavery as an obstacle to economic development.

Since the 1830s, influential journalistic associations of abolitionists emerged in the north , who fundamentally rejected slavery. Some - such as the journalist William Lloyd Garrison - called for the abolition of the peculiar institution (the "special institution"), such as slavery in the US , out of religious and moral considerations, while others - like the escaped slave Frederick Douglass - out of principle -Constitution was called garnishing. They supported the formation of anti-slavery voting blocs that have brought more and more abolitionist-minded politicians to Washington since the 1840s. MEPs like John Quincy Adams , Thaddeus Stevens or Charles Sumner opposed regulations that until then had prevented the slavery issue from even being discussed in Congress and finally put it on the political agenda. They faced southern politicians such as former Vice President and Senator from South Carolina , John C. Calhoun . He saw slavery as a “positive good” because the “Negro race” was naturally destined to serve and African Americans were better off in captivity than in freedom. The non-violent actions of the abolitionists were increasingly countered by hatred and violence in the south - and not only there. In 1837, in Lincoln's home state of Illinois, fanatical advocates of slavery murdered the abolitionist preacher Elijah P. Lovejoy . He was the first white American to be killed over the dispute over the slave issue.

Escalation of the slave question

Map of Kansas and Nebraska from 1855

Free and slave states were increasingly careful not to fall into the minority of the other side in the Senate . This problem arose every time another state was to join the Union. The first escalation of the conflict was defused in 1820 by the Missouri Compromise . It stipulated that slavery north of the Mason-Dixon Line , which ran at about 36 ° 30 ′ north latitude, should be prohibited in all new states except Missouri . Nevertheless, the presidential election of 1844 was dominated by the question of whether or not the Republic of Texas , which had gained independence from Mexico a few years earlier , should be annexed as a slave state. The annexation led to the Mexican-American War , which ended in 1848 with further, large land gains by the USA south of the Mason-Dixon Line. This threatened to shift the political balance in favor of the South again. The so-called Wilmot Proviso , according to which slavery should be forbidden in the conquered areas, never became law.

With the compromise of 1850, however, Congress succeeded one last time in balancing the differences between the states: on the one hand, it determined that California should join the Union as a slave-free state, on the other hand, it passed the Fugitive Slave Act . Because of this law, which obliged slave-free states to extradite escaped slaves, the Whigs' party, of which Lincoln was a member, split.

On May 30, 1854, however, at the request of Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas , a later political opponent of Lincoln, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act . This law left the two territories - although located north of the Mason-Dixon Line - free to determine in their future constitutions whether or not they would allow slavery. Then broke in Bleeding Kansas , the bleeding Kansas in a "civil war before the Civil War." In it, advocates of slavery and supporters of the Free Soil movement fought against each other, who advocated the principle of free labor on free land.

The domestic political climate in the USA worsened after the law was passed to such an extent that balancing debates and compromises were hardly possible. Irrational fears increased on both sides and conspiracy theories became increasingly accepted. Influential Senator John C. Calhoun had already spread the view before 1850 that the liberation of the slaves would lead to racial war and the annihilation of the Union. He and other apologists for slavery no longer saw it as an inevitable evil, but rather as a positive institution for masters and slaves that must be protected. George Fitzhugh , a well-respected author in the 1850s and read by Lincoln, went even further. He called for white workers to be enslaved as well as black workers. Many Democrats argued blatantly racist in election campaigns, tried to denigrate their opponents as "black Republicans" and equated the liberation of African Americans with "racial mixture" and "free love". Lincoln countered this argument with the statement: "I cannot understand why, because I do not want a Negress as a slave, I should absolutely want her as a wife."

The "Meteor of War": John Brown in 1859

The contrasts between North and South were deepened further in 1857 by the Supreme Court ruling in the Dred Scott versus Sandford case . In the grounds of the verdict, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney stated that African Americans were fundamentally not entitled to any civil rights in the United States. Even slaves who lived in the free states and territories of the north would not be free as a result. The court thereby strengthened the rights of slaveholders to their "property" by denying the right of Congress to prohibit slavery in any state or territory. Both the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the judgment to the detriment of the slave Dred Scott effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise. This sparked a wave of indignation in the north.

The conflict experienced a final, decisive aggravation on October 16, 1859, when a group of radical abolitionists led by John Brown raided the US Army's weapons depot in Harpers Ferry , Virginia. Their goal was to equip slaves with the captured weapons and to wage a war of liberation in the south. The badly planned uprising failed from the start. Brown's troops were wiped out by Virginia militiamen headed by later Confederate general Robert E. Lee , and he himself was executed in December of that year. In the south as a terrorist, in the north by many as a freedom hero, Brown was, as Herman Melville said, the “meteor of war” that broke out just 18 months after the Harpers Ferry action. One of its consequences was that Virginia expanded its militia force into a professional army and that the presidential election of 1860 was dominated by the slave question. A compromise between opponents and supporters of slavery hardly seemed possible. Moderate and radical opponents of slavery formed closer ties while the Democratic Party broke up, as did the Whigs before.

Lincoln as a moderate opponent of slavery

Lincoln's party had already shown signs of disintegration after the compromise of 1850. It broke up completely because of the dispute over the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. That year, most Whigs joined forces with moderate anti-slavery members from the ranks of the Democrats to form the Republican Party. They were reinforced by abolitionists and free soilers. They all saw in the slavery-friendly governments of the 1850s the realization of so-called slave power , a tyranny of the slave-owning aristocracy they feared, over the entire United States. With the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, slave power or slavocrazy finally seemed to go on the offensive. This moved Abraham Lincoln to return to politics. On February 22, 1856, he and 24 other opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act founded an offshoot of the Republican Party in Illinois.

At the time, he was not an unconditional opponent of slavery. He loathed them morally, but at that time took a stand that was strictly based on the applicable law and statutes towards the southern states. He was of the opinion that the founding fathers of the United States viewed slavery as an evil in principle, but, for pragmatic reasons, would have continued to tolerate it in those states where it was at the time of the Declaration of Independence of 1776 and the time of the adoption of the US Constitution of Already existed in 1787. An expansion of slavery to other states and territories is contrary to the spirit of the constitution and the liberal principles of the American Revolution . In a speech in Springfield in October 1854, he advocated working with the abolitionists to restore the Missouri Compromise, but opposed them if they wanted to abolish the Fugitive Slave Act . He took an attitude between radical abolitionists and Free Soilers, which made him interesting for broad groups of voters.

In 1855, his first attempt to gain a seat in the Senate failed. Three years later he made a second attempt. His opponent was Senator Stephen A. Douglas , the leader of the Democrats at the Union level. At the start of the election campaign, Lincoln summed up the slave question and its effects on American politics in a famous house-divided speech , which he delivered on June 16, 1858 in the state parliament of Illinois:

“Any house that is divided in itself will not stand. I believe that this government cannot survive in the long run by being half for slavery and half for freedom. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I don't expect the house to collapse; but I expect it will stop being divided. It will either be completely one or completely the other. "

In the same speech, Lincoln suspected his opponent Douglas, Chief Justice Taney, President James Buchanan and his predecessor Franklin Pierce to be part of a conspiracy aimed at introducing slavery to the previously free states. There was no evidence of this suspicion shared by many Northerners. But by publicly speaking about him in the speech, stating that there was no compromise between slavery and freedom, Lincoln gained national attention as one of the staunchest opponents of slavery in the Republican ranks.

Douglas, known as a great public speaker, agreed to a series of seven public speaking duels that he and Lincoln fought in various cities of Illinois between July and October 1858. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were to make history because, because of their fundamental importance and the rhetorical skills of the opponents, transcripts of them were printed all over the United States. In the debate that took place on August 27, 1858 in Freeport , northern Illinois, Lincoln managed to put his opponent in a bind. Douglas was the initiator of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which ultimately denied Congress the right to outlaw slavery in US territory . Lincoln therefore asked him whether it was at least possible for the population of a territory to legally exclude slavery from that territory before it was constituted as a state. If Douglass replied no, he angered the Free Soiler constituency, which is important in Illinois. If he answered yes, he was ineligible for the southerners. Douglas opted for a yes in order to win the upcoming election, but at the same time laid the decisive stumbling block on which his presidential candidacy would fail two years later.

In the further course of the Senate election campaign of 1858, Lincoln also adapted his appearance to the views of the respective audience. In the north of Illinois, in Chicago , for example, he emphasized that all human beings were created equal, and opposed notions of unequal races. In the south of the state, in Charleston , however, he said that he had never advocated giving blacks the same social and political rights as whites. He did not advocate pure abolitionism, especially since he considered the abolitionists to be too unwilling to compromise. In addition, such an attitude would have meant political suicide at the time.

In the end, Lincoln received 4,000 more votes than Douglas, but lost the Senate election again. Not least because of the speeches he had now made a name for himself as a moderate opponent of slavery throughout the country and was considered a possible candidate for the Republicans for the next presidential election.

Presidential election of 1860

Mathew B. Brady : Abraham Lincoln. The picture was taken on February 27, 1860, shortly before his speech to the Cooper Union .

Lincoln had never held high office until then, and his experience in Washington was limited to his few years as a congressman. In 1859 he made lecture tours through the northern states in order to introduce himself to the population and his party friends and to further promote his moderate position. But despite his growing fame, to which in particular his speech to the Cooper Union on February 27, 1860 and the photograph he took there contributed, he was still considered an outsider at the beginning of the Republican nomination convention, which took place in Chicago in May 1860 Race for the presidential candidacy. A high favorite was the Senator and former Governor of New York , William H. Seward . The candidates Salmon P. Chase from Ohio and Edward Bates from Missouri were also generally given greater opportunities than Lincoln.

At the Chicago convention he could only rely on the delegation from his home state of Illinois. Its members, however, convinced numerous delegates from other states to vote for Lincoln as a compromise candidate if their first favorite could not be enforced. Since the representatives of the radical opponents of slavery Seward and Chase and the more conservative groups around Bates blocked each other in the votes, the Republicans finally decided on May 18, 1860, Abraham Lincoln as their top candidate for the fight for the White House . He later took all of his opponents into his cabinet . In doing so, he forced the leaders of the various intra-party groups to work together instead of against each other.

During the election campaign, Lincoln benefited from his high rhetorical talent. He was considered one of the greatest speakers of his time and many of the sayings and aphorisms he coined are still part of the general education in the USA. Above all, he knew how to get to the heart of complicated questions with simple words. Sentences like “Nothing is regulated that is not justly regulated”, “Today's election promises are tomorrow's taxes” or “Those who deny freedom to others do not deserve it for themselves” convinced many voters. The campaign song that succinctly summarized his program was the song Lincoln and Liberty , which is still popular today .

The presidential election took place in the autumn. Lincoln had laid a foundation for his victory two years earlier in the debates with Stephen A. Douglas . At that time he had urged his opponent, who was trying to run for the presidential candidacy of the Democrats , to make statements about slavery that made him ineligible for the Democrats of the South. Like the Whigs six years earlier, the Democratic Party had now split.

Result of the election of 1860

The North Democrats nominated Douglas, the South Democrats nominated the clear advocate of slavery, John C. Breckinridge from Kentucky, who was Vice President at the time . Together they won 2.2 million voters, John Bell from Tennessee , who ran for the Whigs-split Constitutional Union Party , another 0.6 million; Lincoln was the strongest single candidate with nearly 1.9 million votes. He did not win in any of the electoral districts in the south - in most of the electoral districts he was not even on the ballot - but received almost all electoral votes in the north (180) and thus a clear majority: he and his vice-presidential candidate Hannibal Hamlin won with 40% of the vote 59% of all electors. On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected; on March 4, 1861 he was to take the oath of office. In those four months, however, facts were created that would determine Lincoln's entire reign.

Lincoln as President

Abraham Lincoln

During his entire tenure as President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was forced to wage a civil war to restore the Union. In doing so, he was essentially faced with four major tasks: he had to win the war militarily, maintain the readiness to fight among the people of the north, prevent the interference of European powers in favor of the Confederates and finally pursue the abolition of slavery in order to resolve the cause of the conflict one for all Time to eliminate.

Inauguration and start of the war

The election of Abraham Lincoln was not the cause, but the cause of the secession (secession). The idea of ​​breaking away from the Union first appeared in South Carolina during the so-called nullification crisis of 1832/33. Proponents of this idea, such as John C. Calhoun, found only sporadic approval until the 1850s. In the 1850s, the votes of those who stood up for secession increased. The criticism of slavery in the north was viewed by many leading southerners as a threat to their own way of life and culture, and any attempt to restrict it as an interference with the rights of individual states and the property rights of their citizens. From this point of view, the advocates of secession made no distinction between Lincoln's compromise-ready attitude and the goals of the abolitionists.

The prospect of seeing Lincoln move into the White House was the last decisive boost to extremists in the south. Before the new president could take office, South Carolina became the first state to announce its withdrawal from the Union on December 20, 1860. All the states of the deep south followed within a few weeks : Mississippi , Florida , Alabama , Georgia , Louisiana and, on March 2, 1861, Texas . In Montgomery , the capital of Alabama, a Provisional Congress was constituted on February 4, 1861, made up of representatives of the states that had resigned until then. On February 9, he elected Senator from Mississippi and former Secretary of War Jefferson Davis , who, like Lincoln, came from Kentucky, as provisional President of the Confederate States of America. The outgoing US President James Buchanan denied the individual states the right to leave the Union, but did nothing in his final weeks in office to prevent secession.

Lincoln's adversary Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America

In his inauguration speech on March 4, 1861, Lincoln adopted conciliatory tones towards the South. He promised not to be the first to resort to violent measures, but at the same time made it clear that his oath of office obliges him to definitely oppose a split in the Union:

“In your hands, my dissatisfied compatriots, not mine, lies the momentous decision about civil war. The government will not attack you. You cannot have a conflict without being the aggressor yourself. "

However, all hopes of a negotiated solution were dashed on April 12, 1861. On this day Confederate troops began to bombard Fort Sumter , which was held by Union-loyal units and located in the port entrance of Charleston , the old capital of South Carolina. The South, which viewed the Fort Sumter garrison as an occupying force, had taken up arms despite the offered renunciation of force - and despite the fact that Lincoln's government had not violated any state constitution and was avowedly not planning to do so. This fact and the forced withdrawal of the garrison from Fort Sumter on April 14th created a war mood in the north as well. The public demanded firm action against the rebels. How it came to this, Lincoln explained four years later in his second inauguration speech:

“Both parties disapproved of the war, but one of them was more willing to go to war than let the nation survive, and the other was more willing to accept the war than let the nation go under. And the war came. "

The beginning of the fighting moved Virginia and three other Upper South states - North Carolina , Tennessee and Arkansas - to leave the Union as well. The Confederates then moved their capital to Richmond , Virginia. The western parts of the country, in turn, separated from this state and wanted to remain in the Union. They later formed the new state of West Virginia . In order to hold the capital Washington, it was of vital importance for the north to persuade the slave-holding border states of Delaware , Maryland , Kentucky and Missouri to remain in the Union. Lincoln's saying has been passed down on this problem: “In this war I hope to have God on my side. But I have to have Kentucky on my side. ”All four states ultimately remained loyal - partly voluntarily, partly under military pressure.

Lincoln's Policy at War

Lincoln with his bodyguard Allan Pinkerton (left) and General John Alexander McClernand on a troop visit shortly after the Battle of Antietam in 1862
Dead on the Gettysburg battlefield

The US Army was among the war began just over 16,000 soldiers who also prevalent in indigenous areas were stationed in the West. On April 15, one day after the fall of Fort Sumter, Lincoln called up 75,000 militiamen, who were committed to 90 days, to put an end to the rebellion , as the secession of the southern states in the north was called, militarily. As a further immediate measure, he ordered a sea ​​blockade of all Confederate ports and increased the US armed forces to around 174,000 soldiers and sailors by early summer through further recruitment .

Since the Congress was not due to meet again until July, these troops were raised without its authorization. The same applied to the restriction of some basic rights, such as freedom of the press or the Habeas Corpus Act . Lincoln had people suspected of espionage for the southern states illegally arrested. All of this earned him the reputation of a dictator among sympathizers of the South - in some cases to this day . But when the representatives of the states remaining in the Union met for Congress in July, they subsequently approved all emergency measures taken by the President. From their point of view, Lincoln dealt with Confederate supporters no differently than was customary with members of a foreign power at war with the United States - and that is exactly what the Confederation claimed to be.

But even Lincoln's stated energetic measures were not enough. The first defeat of the Union troops in the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, 1861 made it clear that the conflict could not be resolved quickly militarily. The Union had to prepare for a protracted war of conquest. This could not be achieved with a small professional army and three months of compulsory service. Even the extension to nine months was not enough. Finally, Lincoln's government introduced the first time in US history the conscription one, a measure that in early July 1863 civil unrest in New York led the so-called convening riots . In the city there were even at times efforts to break away from the Union and to form a sovereign state.

A further problem was posed by fraudulent army suppliers who often supplied the Union armies with inadequate or completely unsuitable material. Therefore, on Lincoln's initiative, on March 2, 1863, Congress passed the False Claims Act , known to this day as the Lincoln Law. The law encouraged whistleblowers and proved to be an effective tool in preventing fraud against the general public.

The Civil War dragged on because Lincoln could not find a suitable commander in chief for the Potomac Army , which had to bear the brunt of the fighting in the border area of ​​Virginia, between Washington, DC and Richmond, for a long time . General George B. McClellan proved to be an excellent organizer but a reluctant general . He missed - for example in the peninsula campaign of spring 1862 - several chances to put an early end to the war with already tangible victories. Other commanders such as Ambrose E. Burnside and Joseph Hooker suffered catastrophic defeats against the outnumbered Northern Virginia Army of Confederate General Robert E. Lee .

Abraham Lincoln, who between his position as company commander in the Indian War and who had never held a military rank as commander in chief of the US armed forces, now also undertook a self-study in military matters and soon became an expert. With generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman , victorious in the western theater of war , he finally found two commanders who and their troops - one from the north, the other from the west - defeated the Confederates in long, bloody battles.

War aims and reasons for war

As a publisher, the slavery opponent Horace Greeley exerted a considerable influence on public opinion in the north

On August 22, 1862, Lincoln wrote in an open letter to the noted abolitionist Horace Greeley , editor of the New York Tribune :

“My ultimate goal in this war is to save the Union; it is not to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing a slave, I would; if I could save them by freeing all the slaves, I would; and if I could save the Union by freeing some slaves and not others, I would do that too. Everything I do about slavery and blacks is because I believe it will help save the Union. "

Indeed, the civil war was primarily about national cohesion in the United States. The question that sparked the struggle was: Does a single US state have the right to withdraw from the common union at any time? The Confederates answered in the affirmative, arguing that they had finally joined the Federation voluntarily. The split, which they often referred to as the “Second American Revolution”, was in their view in the tradition of 1776. So they fought for the rights of the individual states according to their own self-image. The north, on the other hand, pointed out that none of the individual state rights had been violated by then and that after the declaration of independence in 1776, a revolution was only justified after continued serious violations of the law.

But Abraham Lincoln touched on the deeper cause of the conflict in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. In this speech, his most famous, he said that the war was being waged over the question of whether a state based on democracy and individual freedom would endure at all could exist. This question was all the more justified at a time when a "government of the people, by the people and for the people" - as Lincoln put it in his speech - was still the great exception internationally. Lincoln expressed his conviction that a democracy must break if a minority (like the southerners ) can reject a democratic decision of the majority (like Lincoln's election as president) at any time or even answer it with violence.

Behind the question of individual state rights, however, there was always clearly the slave question. It was on her - and only on her - that the dispute over these rights had ignited in the first place. Without them, the problem of state rights would never have been so acute. For example, the Declaration on the Secession Decree of the State of Texas of February 2, 1861 mentions the dissent on the question of slavery 21 times, but the question of state rights only six times. Alexander Hamilton Stephens , the vice president of the Confederation, declared in a high-profile speech on March 21, 1861 that the Confederation of the Southern States was based “... on the great truth that the Negro is not the same as the white man; that his subordinate relationship as a slave to the superior race is his natural and normal position. ”For electoral reasons, Lincoln long denied that the abolition of slavery was one of his war aims. Because at the beginning of the conflict the abolitionists were still a minority in the north, and hardly anyone would have been willing to fight for the liberation of the slaves. But Lincoln had already set this in motion when he wrote the quoted letter to Greeley.

Liberation of slaves

Lincoln with his cabinet signing the proclamation on the liberation of slaves
The original of the proclamation

About Lincoln's stance on the liberation of slaves, the African-American writer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass noted in 1876:

“From a purely abolitionist standpoint, Mr. Lincoln was indolent, cold, clumsy, and indifferent; but measured against the mood of his country, a mood that he had to take into account as a statesman, he was nimble, fiery, radical and determined. "

Indeed, Lincoln was never a radical abolitionist, nor was it during the war. In the famous letter to Greeley, he made a distinction between his personal desire that all people should be free and his duty as a public official to act according to the law. According to the law, however, slavery was allowed in the south. In Lincoln's mind, it should be abolished in a gradual process and the slave owners compensated for the loss of their "property". He took this point of view right into the early stages of the civil war. For example, he revoked the orders of Major General John Charles Frémont , who had declared the slaves of plantation owners who fought against the Union to be free. There was no way Lincoln was ready to go to war on the slave question until 1861.

But by resorting to violence of their own accord, Lincoln believed that the southern states themselves had strayed from the law and the constitution. The longer the war lasted, the more victims it claimed and the more echoed the protests of the abolitionists, the stronger became Lincoln's conviction that slavery, the source of all evil, must be abolished for good. In addition, he increasingly understood the liberation of slaves as a means to hit the south economically and militarily. Congress and Senate had already passed so-called Confiscation Acts in 1861 and 1862 , through which, among other things, the slaves of Confederate soldiers were declared free. This should weaken the military of the southern states. On July 22, 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet of the proposed proclamation on the liberation of slaves. Since it was also intended as a war measure, Foreign Minister Seward warned that the declaration could be misinterpreted as a sign of weakness after the series of severe defeats the Union had suffered up to that point. Therefore, Lincoln did not announce the proclamation until September, after the Union victory in the Battle of Antietam .

On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation finally came into force. Your decisive passage said:

“That from the 1st day of January in the year of the Lord, 1863, all persons held as slaves in a state or in that particular part of a state whose population is at that time in rebellion against the United States, henceforth and for should always be free. "

The proclamation was initially only valid for the Confederate territories in order not to alienate the slave states that had remained loyal. But the liberation of the slaves was now an official war goal of the Union. Its moral weight made it impossible for England and France, who supported the cause of the Confederation for economic and political reasons, to intervene actively on their side in the war. Slavery was completely abolished in 1865.

Indian policy

The Homestead Act

As a proponent of the Free Soil movement, Lincoln signed the Homestead Act in 1862 , which went into effect in 1863. This law allowed every adult to settle on unpopulated land and to own 160 acres of land . After five years of management - or after half a year if paying $ 200 - it automatically became the owner. On the one hand, this law, which supplemented and standardized existing national regulations, created legal certainty for the settlers. On the other hand, it made possible the expropriation of the Indian territories by assuming that these were not cultivated. Especially nomadic groups were now increasingly pushed into reservations . The Homestead Act encouraged fraud and led to countless conflicts between Indians and settlers, in which the courts usually ruled in favor of the latter.

In the summer of 1862, before the Homestead Act came into force and thirty years after his participation in the war against the Sauk , Lincoln faced yet another conflict with Indians. After contractually guaranteed state payments to the Santee Sioux in Minnesota failed to materialize , starving members of the tribe used force against the local Indian authority and white settlers. Secretary of War Stanton tasked Major General John Pope with suppressing the Sioux uprising in September . Pope, who was blamed for the recent defeat of the Union troops in the 2nd Battle of Bull Run , had volunteered for the mission to forestall his dismissal as commander of the Virginia Army . In an order to the expedition commander, Colonel H. H. Sibley, he wrote: “It is my intention to completely exterminate the Sioux. [...] They have to be treated like madmen or wild animals and in no way like people with whom one can conclude contracts or compromises Lasted 15 minutes, sentenced to death. Pope ultimately wanted to have 303 convicts executed, but Lincoln's government feared the adverse effect such a mass execution would have on the European governments, whose interference in the war of civil secession it feared. On the other hand, numerous settlers in Minnesota called for execution. 200 of them even attacked the prison camp in Mankato . Nonetheless, Lincoln's lawyers drastically reduced the number of death sentences. In the end, “only” 38 men were hanged, one of them, Chaska, despite his pardon. This was the largest mass execution in American history. In return, Lincoln, who had to fend off massive political pressure, promised the eventual expulsion of the Indians from the state and two million dollars in damages. Lincoln justified the execution by saying that he did not want to provoke another uprising by too great mercy, but that he also did not want to be cruel. In Minnesota, the high number of pardons was received rather poorly: In the presidential election in 1864, Lincoln won a majority in the state, but it was significantly lower than in 1860. When asked that a tougher pace could have prevented this, Lincoln said: “Me couldn't allow me to hang men for votes. "

During Lincoln's tenure, the Sand Creek Massacre also occurred in the eastern part of what was then the Colorado Territory . Soldiers under the command of Colonel John Chivington killed 273 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho on November 29, 1864 . The governor John Evans , a co-founder of the Republican Party and a personal friend of Lincoln, contributed significantly to the anti-Indian sentiment in the territory . Evans, who had honored Chivington for his act and covered up the truth about the massacre, soon faced massive criticism. Lincoln, who had installed Evans, supported him until the beginning of 1865, only his successor as President, Andrew Johnson , removed the governor from his office in the summer of 1865.

Re-elected in 1864

The Confederates had suffered heavy defeats at Gettysburg , Vicksburg, and Chattanooga in the summer and fall of 1863 . After these successes of the Union it was finally clear that the Confederates would not be able to win the war on their own. Their only chance was to carry on the war for so long and with such losses to the North that Abraham Lincoln would lose the presidential election of 1864 and be replaced by a new president who was willing to negotiate.

General Ulysses S. Grant

This opportunity was very real. The unexpectedly long and bloody trench warfare that General Grant waged in northern Virginia since the spring of 1864 largely cost the Lincoln government the trust of the people. The president was so unpopular in the summer of the election year that he himself expected a defeat. In a memorandum dated August 23, 1864, he wrote: "The re-election of this government seems extremely unlikely today, as it has for a few days." His opponent from the Democrats was his former Commander-in-Chief McClellan, who was fundamentally in favor of a negotiated peace with the South and the Recognition of his independence was ready.

The tide turned in the last few weeks before the election when the results of the Atlanta campaign, which was extremely successful for the north, became known: On September 2, 1864, General Sherman's troops had conquered Atlanta , one of the most important industrial locations and transport hubs in Georgia and Georgia entire territory still held by the Confederation. In addition, Major General Philip Sheridan defeated a Confederate corps in the Shenandoah Valley on October 19 , which had even threatened Washington at times. The end of the war now seemed only a matter of time.

George B. McClellan, Lincoln's rival candidate in the 1864 election

During the election campaign, the Republicans relied on the Lincoln slogan “You shouldn't change horses in the middle of the river” and described the positions of the Democrats as treasonous. As a candidate for the vice presidency , Lincoln replaced the previous incumbent, the largely influential Northerner Hannibal Hamlin , with Andrew Johnson . This belonged to the Democratic Party, came from the Confederate state of North Carolina and had been sent from Tennessee to the Senate in 1857, but had spoken out in favor of the Union. His candidacy was intended to signal to the southerners that the North was ready to integrate them into the restored Union on an equal footing after the war. Together with Johnson, Lincoln ran for the National Union Party , an election platform made up of Republicans and part of the Democrats. On November 8, the US became the first democratic country to hold an election in the middle of a war. Lincoln scored a landslide victory against the former commander in chief of the Union Army George B. McClellan : 55 percent of the electorate voted for him, and he received 212 of 233 electoral votes. As the first president since Andrew Jackson 32 years ago, he was re-elected for a second term.

Its voters came mainly from the peasant and working class as well as the urban middle classes. Their geographic strongholds were New England and the states with a large proportion of German immigrants such as Wisconsin or Illinois. It was particularly significant for the president that more than two-thirds of the soldiers in the Union Army had also voted for him, although they could hope that McClellan's victory would bring the fighting to an end sooner. Before the election, Lincoln had said that he would rather be defeated with a majority of the soldiers' votes than be president without that majority.

In the period leading up to his second inauguration, Lincoln vigorously advocated the adoption of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution , which should ban slavery once and for all in US territory. After the Senate - after an unsuccessful attempt - on January 31, 1865, he was able to get the necessary two-thirds majority of the House of Representatives to approve. In order to give the prohibition of slavery final constitutional status, it now only had to be ratified by the individual states.

Another pressing problem was the reintegration of the southern states into the Union. On March 4, 1865 - on the occasion of his second swearing-in as president - Lincoln promised to "hold grudges against no one" and "charity against all". He was already considering the reconstruction of the south and the post-war order and intended to provide the southerners with mild peace conditions. Returning to the Union should be as easy as possible for them. Against opposition from his own party, Lincoln enforced the principle that a renegade state should be accepted back into the Union on an equal footing as soon as a tenth of its citizens had sworn their oath of allegiance to it.

Victory and death

Lithograph of the assassination attempt (approx. 1865); from left: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth
Lincoln on his deathbed, Harper's Weekly , 1865

The war was now coming to a swift end. On April 3, Grant's forces captured the Confederate capital, Richmond, and Lincoln toured the office of his adversary Jefferson Davis two days later. On April 9, 1865, the remnants of Lee's army surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House , Virginia. Confederate forces under General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General Sherman on April 26, near Durham , North Carolina.

However, Abraham Lincoln did not live to see the final victory: On the evening of April 14th, Good Friday 1865, he and his wife Mary and a couple of friends went to a comedy at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC During the performance, the actor John Wilkes obtained himself Booth , a fanatical southern sympathizer , entered the president's box and shot him in the head from close range with a Deringer muzzle-loading pistol . Doctors in the audience were on hand immediately, but the bullet could not be removed. Since the President could not be transported, he was taken to Petersen House, a private residence directly across from the theater. Lincoln died there the following day, April 15, at 7:22 a.m. without regaining consciousness. Andrew Johnson , Lincoln's vice president since March, took the oath of office as his successor that same day.

The attack was part of a larger conspiracy: A group of southerners around Booth had planned to murder other members of the government in addition to Lincoln. For example, Lewis Powell seriously injured Secretary of State Seward in an assassination attempt, as did his son and other members of his household. The German-born George Atzerodt , who was assigned to Vice President Andrew Johnson, shied away from the murder at the last moment. Booth, who injured his leg jumping out of the presidential box after the murder, managed to escape to Virginia with the help of another accomplice, David Herold . There he was placed on a remote farm on April 26th and killed in an exchange of fire. In late June, a military court sentenced Powell, Atzerodt, Herold and Booth's landlady, Mary Surratt , to death, who was suspected of complicity. They were hung on July 7, 1865 at Fort Lesley J. McNair , Washington.

Lincoln's coffin was transported to Springfield by rail on the same route that the newly-elected president had taken to Washington in 1860. In all major cities such as New York and Chicago, funeral processions and services were held with the body laid out. On May 5, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in his hometown of Springfield. On June 23, the last Confederation troops surrendered at Fort Towson in Indian Territory. Lincoln's Legacy, the 13th Amendment , came into effect on December 18, 1865 after ratification by the minimum three-quarters of the states represented in the then Congress .


Mount Rushmore's monumental presidential
portraits ; right: Abraham Lincoln
The statue of the President created by Daniel Chester French in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC
US postage stamp with a portrait of Lincoln

When the poet Walt Whitman learned of Lincoln's death, he dedicated the poem O Captain! My captain! It speaks of a captain who steers his ship safely into port due to great dangers, but does not reach the destination alive himself. Whitman later compared the president, who was fatally wounded on Good Friday , to Jesus Christ . These are just two of the many examples of the transfigured veneration that Abraham Lincoln enjoyed immediately after his murder. The manner of his death and the comparison with the rather lackluster reigns of his first successors contributed to this more than the sober assessment of his presidency. At first only in the northern states, but with increasing time lag to the civil war in the whole of the USA, the image of Lincoln as one of the most important presidents in US history prevailed.

While the white Americans saw in him the keeper of the Union, the African Americans saw him above all as the slave liberator. Her image of Lincoln was also shaped by religious imagery. During his visit to Richmond shortly before the end of the war, Lincoln was greeted by the blacks as " Father Abraham ". They later compared him to Moses , who led the Israelites to the Promised Land without being allowed to enter it himself. Even more cautious observers such as Frederick Douglass , who during his presidency had incessantly criticized Lincoln for his hesitant stance on the slave issue, said in retrospect with great respect:

"Considering the enormous size of the task and the means that were necessary for it, the infinite wisdom has hardly ever sent a man into the world who was more suitable for his task than Abraham Lincoln."

Today, the co-founder of the Republican Party is revered by members of all ethnic groups, from conservatives and liberals to the left. In surveys of historians and the US population, he is always rated as one of the top three US presidents, along with George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt . The US volunteer organizations that fought on the side of the Republic against the coup plotters under General Franco in the Spanish Civil War were called the Abraham Lincoln Brigade . Numerous places in the United States have been named after the president, from small ones like Fort Abraham Lincoln in North Dakota to large ones like the capital of Nebraska . A total of 17 counties bear his name. The US Navy christened several ships in the President's name, including the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and the strategic nuclear submarine SSBN Abraham Lincoln . The car brand Lincoln was also named after him by its founder Henry M. Leland in 1917 .

The Illinois State Historical Library was founded as a research facility in Springfield in 1889 , and - expanded to include a museum and other facilities - reopened on April 16, 2005 as The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum . The home of Abraham Lincoln in the historic center of Springfield is under the care of the US National Park Service and is now a museum as well as Lincoln's birthplace in Kentucky, the site of the assassination - Ford's Theater - and the house where he died in Washington opposite the theater. Lincoln's picture adorns the 5 dollar bill and the 1 cent coin . Lincoln's birthday is celebrated as an official holiday in 10 US states. In his and George Washington's honor, the national holiday "Presidents Day" was introduced. And in addition to the heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt , the Lincoln was carved into the rock of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota . The composer Aaron Copland wrote the tone poem Lincoln Portrait in 1942 with a spoken accompanying text in honor of the 16th US President.

The Lincoln Memorial was inaugurated on the banks of the Potomac in Washington as early as 1922 . The classical temple and the Capitol mark the two ends of the National Mall , the central axis of the American capital. The memorial houses a colossal statue of Abraham Lincoln, which is modeled after the Zeus statue at Olympia. The text of the Gettysburg Address is carved into the south wall and Lincoln's second inaugural address is carved into the north wall. Since its inception, it has been the scene of many large civil rights demonstrations. Martin Luther King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 . Since 1954 the slogan "Land of Lincoln" has adorned Illinois license plates.

The first African American president of the United States took office in Lincoln's 200th year of birth. Barack Obama had announced his application for the presidential candidate on February 10, 2007 in front of the old parliament building in Springfield, where Lincoln had given his House Divided Speech in 1858, which still has an impact today . The 44th President of the United States took his oath on Lincoln's Bible on both his first and second inaugurations in 2009 and 2013.

The main inner belt asteroid (3153) Lincoln is named after him.

In 2019 the political group The Lincoln Project was founded, named after Abraham Lincoln. The goal of the Lincoln Project, founded by people whose families have elected Republicans for generations, was to defeat Republican candidate Donald Trump in the 2020 US presidential election. Their nationwide movement targeted swap voters and Republicans to show them that Republicans can also vote for a Democratic candidate ( Joe Biden ).


  • Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln . 8 volumes. Edited by Roy Prentice Basler on behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick 1953 (correspondence, speeches and other writings), ISBN 978-0-8135-0172-7
  • Speeches and Letters by Abraham Lincoln . Edited by Merwin Roe, JM Dent, London 1909, 1936, 1949 (selected volume)



Film adaptations

Since 1911, Abraham Lincoln has been portrayed in nearly 350 films and television programs by actors, including Walter Huston , Henry Fonda , Gregory Peck , Raymond Massey , Hal Holbrook , Sam Waterston , Lance Henriksen , Daniel Day-Lewis and - most often (ten Mal) - by Frank McGlynn senior . Day-Lewis received an Oscar for his lead in Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln .

The most important feature films and documentaries with and about Lincoln are:

Web links

Commons : Abraham Lincoln  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files
Wikisource: Abraham Lincoln  - Sources and Full Texts

Individual evidence

  1. Little Pigeon Creek Families. In: National Park Service. Retrieved February 20, 2013 .
  2. ^ David Herbert Donald : Lincoln . Simon & Schuster, 1st Touchstone Ed (November 5, 1996). They were considered an infectious disease, but in fact it was triggered by the milk of cows whose food is white snake root (English:. "White snakeroot" lat Ageratina altissima ), a poisonous plant, was located.
  3. Karen M. Kostyal: Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary era: the man and his times . National Geographic, Washington, DC 2009, p. 24.
  4. ^ Jörg Nagler : Abraham Lincoln. America's Great President - A Biography . CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 32.
  5. Shirley Samuels (ed.): The Cambridge companion to Abraham Lincoln . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2012, p. 17.
  6. ^ Jörg Nagler: Abraham Lincoln. America's Great President - A Biography . CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 33.
  7. ^ Francis Marion Van Natter: Lincoln's Boyhood. A Chronicle of his Indiana Years . Public Affairs Press, Washington, DC 1963, p. 102.
  8. ^ Bob Dellinger: Wrestling in the USA. In: National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Accessed March 1, 2017 .
  9. Honoree: Abraham Lincoln. In: National Wrestling Hall of Fame. Accessed March 1, 2017 .
  10. ^ William R. Denslow, Harry S. Truman: 10,000 Famous Freemasons from K to Z , ISBN 1-4179-7579-2 .
  11. ^ The Lehrman Institute : Abraham Lincoln and Friends - The Boys .
  12. Jonathan Byron (ed.), Philip Militz (author): Freemasons in 60 minutes. Thiele, Munich 2009.
  13. ^ Last Surviving Descendant of Lincoln Dead. In: Associated Press . December 25, 1985, accessed February 8, 2014.
  14. ^ Richard Carwardine: Lincoln. A Life of Purpose and Power. Vintage Books, New York 2006, p. 57 f .; Jörg Nagler: Abraham Lincoln. America's Great President - A Biography . CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 84 f.
  15. ^ A b Howard Zinn : A People's History of the United States. Harper Perennial, 2005, pp. 153-154, ISBN 0-06-083865-5 .
  16. ^ A b Jean West Mueller, Wynell B. Schamel: Teaching With Documents: Lincoln's Spot Resolutions. National Archives, accessed December 9, 2010 .
  17. ^ Richard Carwardine: Lincoln. A Life of Purpose and Power. Vintage Books, New York 2006, p. 49 f.
  18. Howard Zinn: A History of the American People , Schwarzerfreitag GmbH, Berlin 2007, p. 169
  19. ^ Sven Beckert: King Cotton. A global history of capitalism , CH Beck, Munich 2014, pp. 112–114
  20. ^ Ibram X. Kendi: Branded. The true story of racism in America , CH Beck, Munich 2017, p. 224
  21. ^ Ibram X. Kendi: Branded. The true story of racism in America , CH Beck, Munich 2017, p. 198 f
  22. Stephen B. Oates: With Malice Toward None. A Life of Abraham Lincoln , HarperCollins, New York 1994, p. 46
  23. a b Jörg Nagler : Abraham Lincoln. America's Great President - A Biography . CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 174.
  24. Stephen B. Oates: With Malice Toward None. A Life of Abraham Lincoln , HarperCollins, New York 1994, p. 125 f
  25. ^ Ibram X. Kendi: Branded. The true story of racism in America , CH Beck, Munich 2017, p. 230
  26. ^ Jörg Nagler: Abraham Lincoln. America's Great President - A Biography . CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 184.
  27. ^ Carl Sandburg: Abraham Lincoln. The life of an immortal , Hamburg / Vienna 1958, p. 174
  28. ^ Richard Carwardine: Lincoln. A Life of Purpose and Power. Vintage Books, New York 2006, p. 61 f.
  29. cf. Mt 12.25ff. par  EU
  30. Michael Butter : "Nothing is what it seems". About conspiracy theories . Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2018, p. 30 f.
  31. Jörg Nagler, Abraham Lincoln. America's great president. A biography , CH Beck, Munich 2009, p. 175.
  32. Shelby Foote: The Civil War. A narrative. Vol. 1: Fort Sumter to Perryville , Pimlico, London 1994, p. 31
  33. ^ Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States. Harper Perennial, 2005, ISBN 0-06-083865-5 , p. 188.
  34. Stephen B. Oates : With Malice Toward None: a Life of Abraham Lincoln . Amer Political Biography Pr, 2002, ISBN 978-0-945707-32-5 , p. 38.
  35. ^ Richard Carwardine: Lincoln. A Life of Purpose and Power. Vintage Books, New York 2006, p. 88.
  36. Jörg Nagler: Abraham Lincoln: America's great president - A biography. First revised edition in the Beck series. CH Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-62215-1 , pp. 203-205.
  37. ^ Doris Kearns Goodwin : Team of Rivals. The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln . London 2013, p. 10.
  38. Abraham Lincoln: First Inaugural Address. In: Bartleby.com. 2013, accessed July 19, 2013 (First Inauguration Speech).
  39. Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address. In: Bartleby.com. 2010, accessed November 23, 2010 (Second Inauguration Speech).
  40. http://www.phillipsandcohen.com/False-Claims-Act-History/ ; accessed April 7, 2016
  41. ^ Anne Sarah Rubin: A Shattered Nation: The Rise and Fall of the Confederacy, 1861-1868 . University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 2005, ISBN 0-8078-2928-5 , p. 14 .
  42. ^ Declaration of causes: February 2, 1861. A declaration of the causes which impel the State of Texas to secede from the Federal Union. In: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. August 25, 2011.
  43. quoted from Ibram X. Kendi: Branded. The true story of racism in America , Verlag CHBeck, Munich 2017, p. 233
  44. ^ A b Frederick Douglass : Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln. In: teachingamericanhistory.org. , April 14, 1876 (English).
  45. ^ Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States. Harper Perennial, 2005, p. 189.
  46. ^ Confiscation Acts. In: mrlincolnandfreedom.org. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  47. On the subject of Lincoln and American Indian policy, see David A. Nichols: Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics . University of Missouri Press, Columbia 1978; and Thomas J. DiLorenzo: Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know about Dishonest Abe . Crown Forum, New York 2006.
  48. ^ The War of the Rebellion: Original Records of the Civil War. In: The Ohio State University. Retrieved October 16, 2014 (Pope September 28, 1862 to Sibley).
  49. David A. Nichols: Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics . University of Missouri Press, Columbia 1978, pp. 99 f.
  50. ^ Robert K. Elder: Execution 150 Years Ago Spurs Calls for Pardon. In: The New York Times , December 13, 2010.
  51. ↑ In 2010 a film was made about the event under the title Dakota 38 (see also Dakota38 ).
  52. David A. Nichols: Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics . Reprint of 1978 edition, Illinois Books, 2000, pp. 117 f.
  53. SLA Marshall: crimsoned Prairie: The Indian Wars , Da Capo Press, New York 1972, p. 37
  54. Richard W. Etulain (ed.): Lincoln Looks West. From the Mississippi to the Pacific . Southern Illinois University 2010, p. 43.
  55. The Death of a Redeemer. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , April 14, 2015, accessed on April 29, 2017.
  56. Mark S. Reinhart: Abraham Lincoln on Screen: Fictional and Documentary Portrayals on Film and Television . McFarland, 2008, ISBN 978-0-7864-3536-4 , pp. 94 .
  57. ^ Charles Curry Aiken, Joseph Nathan Kane: The American Counties: Origins of County Names, Dates of Creation, Area, and Population Data, 1950-2010 . 6th edition. Scarecrow Press, Lanham 2013, ISBN 978-0-8108-8762-6 , p. Xiv.
  58. Karsten-Thilo Raab: In Lincoln's footsteps, in: Der Sonntag (Karlsruhe), February 2, 2020, p. 21.
  59. Barack Obama swears an oath on Lincoln's Bible. In: Focus , December 23, 2008.
  60. ^ Lutz D. Schmadel : Dictionary of Minor Planet Names . Fifth Revised and Enlarged Edition. Ed .: Lutz D. Schmadel. 5th edition. Springer Verlag , Berlin , Heidelberg 2003, ISBN 978-3-540-29925-7 , pp. 186 (English, 992 pp., Link.springer.com [ONLINE; accessed September 14, 2020] Original title: Dictionary of Minor Planet Names . First edition: Springer Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg 1992): “1983 HF. Discovered 1983 Apr. 18 by NG Thomas at Anderson Mesa. "
  61. Our Team | The Lincoln Project. Retrieved October 1, 2020 .
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on May 17, 2004 in this version .