Social Studies, United States History
Grade 5- 8
Students learn about Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg address in honor of Presidents' Day.
Give students some background information about Abraham Lincoln:
Presidential Term (1861-1865)
Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, in a log cabin in the backwoods of Kentucky. When he was seven years old, his family moved to southwest Indiana where Lincoln helped to clear the fields and plant crops. His mother died when he was nine years old and his father remarried about a year later. He got along well with his stepmother and her three children. The family made another move to Illinois in 1830. Abraham was 21 years old and six feet four inches tall. He was muscular and physically powerful.
Abraham once said he went to school by "the littles"--a little now and a little then. He enjoyed reading and was a self-taught prairie lawyer. His political future began to take shape with his successful legal career in Springfield, Illinois. He ran for public office several times and served in the Illinois legislature and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
He married Mary Todd on November 4, 1842. They had four children, Robert (the only one who lived to adulthood), Edward, William, and Thomas ("Tad").
In 1858 he was the Republican candidate for the Senate. Though he was not an abolitionist, he was morally against slavery, a practice he had seen years before while visiting New Orleans. He ran against Stephen Douglas, and though he did not win, their debates made him famous. He was devoted to the cause of personal freedom for all people.
In 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. As expected, the Southern (slave) states withdrew from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. He led the North through the Civil War and wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves. At Gettysburg, he gave one of his most famous speeches, declaring that government "of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The war ended just as he was beginning his second term as president. He was planning the reconstruction of the United States. Within days of his second inauguration, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. He died early on the morning of April 15, 1865.