Lincoln at 200

Lincoln at 200

During the summer of 1860, the Chicago Press and Tribune asked Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln to prepare a short autobiographical sketch to introduce himself to voters. Writing about himself in the third person, Lincoln focused on family genealogy, migration, and work. He closed with a brief mention that his opposition to slavery’s expansion into…

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Blog

Two centuries after his birth, and nearly a century and a half after his presidency, Abraham Lincoln remains a live presence in American culture and politics. In the course of the 20th century the Lincoln Memorial came to be a key site for grounding the struggle for civil rights in a vision of the historic…

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Further Reading

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Lincoln/Douglas Debates Richard Carwardine, Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, New York: Vintage Books, 2007. David Herbert Donald, Lincoln, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Eric Foner, ed., Our Lincoln, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2008. Eric Foner…

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The Fiery Trial

As president, Abraham Lincoln experienced a fundamental change in his thinking that transformed America. Lincoln took office in March 1861 as a moderate Republican — morally and politically opposed to slavery, particularly its extension into the western territories, yet willing to accept its presence in the South in order to maintain the Union as established…

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About the Project

The city in which Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president in 1860 has not forgotten him. Lincoln at 200 is a collaborative project of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Chicago History Museum, and the Newberry Library. The Institute for Museum and Library Services has generously provided funding for this Web exhibition as part of…

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Lincoln the Whig

“And this too while he was an avowed Clay man.” — Lincoln autobiography, 1860 Though he would become the first Republican president of the United States, it was as a Whig that Lincoln served four terms in the Illinois legislature and one term in the U.S. Congress. The Whig Party’s demise during the 1850s, attributable…

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America in 1809

“Abraham Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809 …” — Lincoln autobiography, 1860 Kentuckians of 1809 thought of themselves as pioneers on the nation’s western edge. But these settlers did not arrive in an empty land. As early as 1754 Virginians had pressed into Kentucky, initiating sixty years of violent disputes with Indians over land. After…

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Migration

“From this place, he [Thomas Lincoln] removed to what is now Spencer county Indiana, in the autumn of 1816, A.[braham] then being in his eighth year.” — Lincoln autobiography, 1860 Abraham Lincoln’s North American ancestry dates back at least seven generations. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, his ancestors moved from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania to…

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Free Labor

“When he was nineteen, still residing in Indiana, he made his first trip upon a flat-boat to New-Orleans. He was a hired hand merely.” — Lincoln autobiography, 1860 In 1858, South Carolina Senator James Henry Hammond declared that every society needed a class of people “with a low order of intellect and but little skill”…

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Antislavery

“They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of Abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils.” — Lincoln legislative protest on slavery, 1837 During the early nineteenth century, citizens of Illinois were divided about whether slavery should be legal in their…

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