Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Facts You May Not Know

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The 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He was a president for 5 years, but on 15 April 1865, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. He showed remarkable leadership skills during the American Civil War. What he is most remembered about is signing the Emancipation Proclamation, which was an executive order changing the legal status of slaves to ‘free’. Hence, we decided to share ten of the most remarkable facts about Lincoln you may not know.

10 Abraham Lincoln Facts You May Not Know

Img source: wikipedia.com

1. Lincoln Served in the Illinois State Legislature

Before his involvement in politics, he had a law career and served 4 consecutive terms in the Illinois state legislature. He was considered to be one of the most trustworthy, reputable and honest lawyers.

2. He Was Self-Educated

Although being a lawyer, Lincoln didn’t have a degree. In fact, he got his education from travelling teachers and his total schooling is estimated to be around one year.

3. ‘President of Firsts’

There have been many things Lincoln did for the first time as a president. He wasn’t only the first president to be assassinated, but also the first US president to wear a beard, hold a patent, and be in an inaugural photograph.

Img source: youtube.com

4. He’s One of The Top 3 Presidents of the United States

Lincoln has constantly been ranked as one of the best presidents the USA had, together with George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

5. The Brother of Lincoln’s Assassin Saved His Son

Before Lincoln being assassinated, John Wilkes Booth’s brother saved Lincoln’s son. John Wilkes Booth’s, Edwin Booth, was a famous actor and he pulled Lincoln’s son to safety as the boy fell on the tracks at a train station.

6. Lincoln’s Bodyguard was Absent When Lincoln Was Assassinated

It is still a mystery where John Parker, Lincoln’s security was when the president was assassinated. Allegedly, Parker went to watch the play at Washington, DC’s Ford’s Theatre. During the intermission, he went to the same saloon where John Wilkes Booth was drinking.

7. Lincoln Had the Bill to Create US Secret Service on His Desk the Night of His Assassination

It is believed that if his bodyguard was there, Lincoln might have stayed alive. It is quite strange that he had such a bill on his desk just the night when he was assassinated.

Img source: history.com

8. Lincoln’s Main Aim Was to Preserve the Union in the Civil War

The main goal of the president was to preserve the Union and thus, he sent troops to recapture lost forts. The war began when the Confederate secessionists fired on Fort Sumter on 12 April 1861.

9. He Was Not an Abolitionist

It is evident that Lincoln hated the institution of slavery. As a matter of fact, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on 1 January 1863, legally freeing the 3 million slaves. Nevertheless, he claimed that he had no rights to stop the institution of slavery in the States in his first inaugural address.

10. Lincoln Had a Wealthy Wife

Lincoln was married to Mary Todd of Lexington Kentucky. His wife came from a wealthy family who owned slaves. They married on 4 November 1842. Mary’s two brothers had died serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Mary Ann Todd Lincoln witnessed her husband’s assassination, which resulted in her being institutionalized for psychiatric disease ten years after the incident.

Presidential Reconstruction

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his Vice Presidential candidate. As Johnson was a Democratic senator from Tennessee, Lincoln hoped that he will appeal to those Southerners who never wanted to leave the Union.

Johnson was coming from a poor family, and he didn’t learn to write until he was 20 years old. He was a backer of the small farmer, and when he came to political power, he talked against “slaveocracy” and “Southern Aristocracy” that had little use for working white men.

Source:politico.com

At that time, Vice Presidents’ saying rarely mattered, unless something happens to the president, and with Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson’s words mattered. He thought that southerners should do what is best for them. In his opinion, African Americans were not capable of managing their lives, and he was completely against giving them a right to vote.

He was giving pardons and amnesties, returning properties to the Confederates who pledged to the Union and who accepted the 13th Amendment. He didn’t return their slaves of course.

Those Confederate officials, together with owners of large properties, were obligated to submit an individual application for a Presidential Pardon. His version of Reconstruction wasn’t that harsh. Many Confederates, around 7,000, got a Presidential pardon, and many got a full power they had before. Only a few were prosecuted.

Now again African Americans were in a bad position. They were free but not as they thought they would be. They were under a very harsh law, better known as “black codes,” and if they don’t supply any evidence that they were employed, even free, they had to go back and work on plantations. African Americans were beaten up a lot frequently too.

In South Carolina, they were banned from all public facilities, including parks, preschool, school, orphanages, etc. That wasn’t all as African Americans had to pay a special tax if they weren’t farmers or servants, they weren’t allowed to hunt or fish, not to own a gun, and even their dogs were taxed.

The freedman’s bureau, a federal agency created to help the transition from slavery to emancipation, had limited power in helping African Americans to adjust to their new ways of living, and all those rules forced even free slaves to stay and work on plantations.

Source:history.com

Most Northerners welcomed Johnson’s policies, but there was no consensus on the rights that African Americans received with Emancipation. Some Radical Republicans urged that the rights granted with Declaration of Independence were applied for all free men, including those formerly slaves.

A battle for political power was in the offing.

Source: ushistory.org