Born on February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States during one of the most turbulent times in American history. Although roundly criticized during his own time, he is recognized as one of history’s greatest figures who preserved the Union during the Civil War and proved that democracy could be a lasting form of government. Lincoln entered national politics as a Whig congressman from Illinois, but he lost his seat after one term due to his unpopular position on the Mexican War and the extension of slavery into the territories. The 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates for the Senate gave him a national reputation. In 1860, Lincoln became the first president elected from the new Republican Party. Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865.
Image: Library of Congress