English Across the Curriculum

The American President

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents in American history. He helped end slavery and stopped America from breaking apart in the Civil War (1861 - 1865). He was also the first president to be murdered in office.

Lincoln grew up in Kentucky in the early 19th century. During his childhood his family moved to Indiana and then to Illinois. As a young man, Lincoln was tall and thin. He had dark skin and his hair was black. He did all kinds of work, like cutting wood or ploughing the fields and growing corn.

In Illinois, Abe started to get interested in politics. He was a great speaker and people liked to listen to him. Lincoln started studying law and became a successful lawyer.

In 1860 Abraham Lincoln won the presidential elections for the Republican party. It was a time of crisis in America. Slavery was a big problem. The Southern states needed slaves to work on their big farms and the people in the North were against slavery.

In 1861 the American Civil War started. The Southern states broke away from the North and formed their own army. It became the bloodiest war in American history.

On January 1st 1863, Lincoln declared that all slaves in America were free. But nothing really changed for them. They kept on working for white landowners in the Southern states for the next decades.

As the war went on, the Northerners won many battles - the most famous one was at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On April 9th 1865 the South gave up and the war was over.Five days later Lincoln attended a theatre performance in Washington. Shortly after 10 o'clock he was shot in the head by John Booth, a famous actor. Lincoln died a few hours later.

Many people say that Lincoln was America's most important president. He ended slavery and helped America stay one country.

Abraham Lincoln - 16th president of the USA
Image: Alexander Gardner, Public domain,
via Wikimedia Commons