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WIU Lincoln Publications Collection

The Lincoln Publications Collection is comprised of works held by Western Illinois University which are primarily about Abraham Lincoln. Most of these documents are in the public domain, unless otherwise specified in the Rights field.

 

Abraham Lincoln served as the sixteenth president of the United States of America from 1861 until his assassination at Ford's Theatre in 1865. Lincoln is best known for his defense of the Union in the Civil War, and for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which led to the ending of slavery in the United States.

 

Born in Kentucky in 1809, Lincoln moved with his family to Indiana in 1816, and then later to Illinois in 1830. Abraham Lincoln settled in a small village near Springfield, Illinois named New Salem and after serving as a captain during the Black Hawk War, he studied law. Lincoln was elected to the state legislature, and eventually when the state capital moved to Springfield, he moved there as well, traveling the legal circuit. He married Mary Todd in 1842, and they began their family.

 

In 1858, Lincoln gained national stature during his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat against Stephen Douglas, also of Illinois. There were many public debates, known as the "Lincoln-Douglas Debates," in which Lincoln argued against slavery and Douglas maintained that each territory should have the right to decide between free and slave-holding status. Douglas won the seat, but in 1860 the Republican National Convention nominated Lincoln for the presidency of the United States. When Lincoln won the election, seven states immediately seceded from the Union and the Confederate States of America was formally established, with Jefferson Davis as its elected president. A month after Lincoln's inauguration, the Civil War began, initiating the start of a series of battles that would claim the lives of more American military service members than in any war before or since. In 1863, as the tide turned against the Confederacy, Lincoln emancipated the slaves and in 1864 won reelection. In April 1865, he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after the American Civil War effectively ended with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

 

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