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Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States served from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Born in Kentucky, he grew up in settlements in Indiana and Illinois. Lincoln’s mother died when he was only 9. It was his stepmother, Sarah that encouraged his love of reading, learning and politics. As a teen he was already noted for his oratory. Lincoln first encountered slavery while working on flatboats traveling down the Mississippi to New Orleans. In 1834 he was elected to the Illinois house of representatives where served four terms. In 1846 he was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives. Because he opposed then President James Polk’s war with Mexico, which he viewed as a land grab, he served only one term and lost interest in politics. However, Lincoln’s strong opposition to The Fugitive Slave Act in 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 led him back to the political arena to fight against the spread of slavery beyond the Southern states. He coined the term “house divided” in his 1858 race against Stephen A. Douglas for the U. S. Senate. He lost that election but became the North’s voice for the case against slavery. Just seven weeks after Lincoln’s 1860 victory over Douglas for President of the United States, South Carolina seceded from the Union. On January 1, 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order, The Emancipation Proclamation.

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