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I was born Feb 12 1809 in Hardin County Kentucky My parents were both born in Virginia of undistinguished families--second families perhaps I should say My mother who died in my tenth year was of a family of the name of Hanks My father removed from Kentucky to Indiana in my eighth year It was a wild region with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods There I grew up Of course when I came of age I did not know much Still somehow I could read write and cipher but that was all Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm splitting rails for fences and keeping store at New Salem Illinois He was a captain in the Black Hawk War spent eight years in the Illinois legislature and rode the circuit of courts for many years His law partner said of him His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest He married Mary Todd and they had four boys only one of whom lived to maturity In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A Douglas for Senator He lost the election but in debating with Douglas he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860 As President he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization Further he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause On January 1 1863 he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth
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