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Lincoln Abraham 1809-65 16th president of the United States 1861-65who steered the Union to victory in the American Civil War and abolishedslaveryEarly Life Lincoln was born on February 12 1809 near Hodgenville Kentucky the sonof Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln pioneer farmers At the age of two hewas taken by his parents to nearby Knob Creek and at eight to Spencer CountyIndiana The following year his mother died In 1819 his father married SarahBush Johnston a kindly widow who soon gained the boys affectionLincoln grew up a tall gangling youth who could hold his own in physicalcontests and also showed great intellectual promise although he had littleformal education In 1831 after moving with his family to Macon CountyIllinois he struck out on his own taking cargo on a flatboat to New OrleansLouisiana He then returned to Illinois and settled in New Salem a short-livedcommunity on the Sangamon River where he split rails and clerked in a storeHe gained the respect of his fellow townspeople including the so-calledClary Grove boys who had challenged him to physical combat and was electedcaptain of his company in the Black Hawk War 1832 Returning from the warhe began an unsuccessful venture in shopkeeping that ended when his partnerdied In 1833 he was appointed postmaster but had to supplement his incomewith surveying and various other jobs At the same time he began to studylaw That he gradually paid off his and his deceased partners debts firmlyestablished his reputation for honesty The story of his romance with AnnRutledge a local young woman whom he knew briefly before her untimely deathis unsubstantiatedIllinois Politician and Lawyer Defeated in 1832 in a race for the state legislature Lincoln was electedon the Whig ticket two years later and served in the lower house from 1834to 1841 He quickly emerged as one of the leaders of the party and was oneof the authors of the removal of the capital to Springfield where he settledin 1837 After his
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