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Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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In 1860, the Republican Party on an antislavery platform nominated Abraham Lincoln for president. He ran against Douglas, a northern Democrat; John C. Breckinridge, a Southern pro-slavery Democrat; and John Bell, the nominee of the Constitutional Union Party. Because of this division in the Democratic ticket, Lincoln won becoming the 16th president, despite not getting the most popular votes. As a result of Lincoln¬ís winning the election, South Carolina seceded from the Union on Dec. 20, 1860 by Inauguration Day seven states had seceded, and four more seceded after he issued a summons to the militia. The Civil War erupted when Fort Sumter was attacked on Apr. 12, 1861. On Sept. 22, 1862, 5 days after the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln announced that slaves in territory then in rebellion would be free Jan. 1, 1863, the date of the Emancipation Proclamation. It is usually said that Lincoln handled the many problems of the Civil War with skill. Besides handling the war, he faced pressures in the North from radical abolitionists, who considered him too mild, and from conservatives, who were upset over the idea of success in the war. His speeches, including his Gettysburg and Inaugural addresses, are remembered for their persuasiveness. His cabinet was full of internal hatred, and the progress of the war went against the North at first. In 1864 Lincoln ran for reelection against George B. McClellan and won, partly because of the way the war turned around after his appointment of General Ulysses S. Grant as commander-in-chief. General Robert E. Lee surrendered the south, ending the civil war on Apr. 9, 1865. Lincoln saw the end of the war but did not live to carryout his plan for Reconstruction. Five days after the surrender, on Apr. 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford’s Theater, in Washington, D.C., he was shot by the actor John Wilkes Booth. He died the next morning.


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