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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln while president, 1864Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865) was the 16th president of the United States (1861–1865), and one of the country’s greatest leaders. He is celebrated for his tolerance and moderation, and for guiding the country through one of the most difficult periods in its history. He became president at a time of crisis in the USA, as civil war threatened to split the North and South. Lincoln led the federal armies to victory to preserve the Union, and abolished slavery in the USA. In 1865, he was shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. He was the first US president to be assassinated.

In 1868, the artist Eastman Johnson painted how he imagined Lincoln had looked as a boy, reading by firelight.

Early life

Abraham Lincoln was born in a tiny log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky, on 12th February 1809. His father Thomas was a pioneer and farmer. His mother Nancy died when he was nine years old, and his father remarried a widow called Sarah Bush Johnston. Abraham became very close to his stepmother, who encouraged him to read and to learn. He later called her his "angel mother".

A few months before Lincoln’s assassination, his son Robert fell off a train platform and escaped death or serious injury by being hauled to safety by the famous actor Edwin Booth. Edwin’s brother, John Wilkes Booth, was soon to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.

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