Abraham Lincoln's Legend Lives on in Illinois

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Abraham Lincoln's Legend Lives on in Illinois


Byline: Diana Dretske

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts." -Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865).

Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, governed during the worst crisis in the nation's history - the Civil War (1861-1865).

Born in Kentucky to a frontier family, Lincoln's early life was characterized by poverty and hard work. The family moved to Indiana when Lincoln was only 7, and two years later his mother died. Fortunately, his new stepmother exerted a good and loving influence over him.

By the age of 21, Lincoln settled in New Salem, Ill., where he worked as a manual laborer and store clerk. He continued his self- education and served as captain in the militia in the Black Hawk War (1832). Lincoln began to study law and was licensed to practice in 1836. Within a few years, he made a name for himself as one of the state's finest lawyers.

In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for senator. He lost the election, but in debating Douglas, he gained a national reputation that won him the Republican nomination for president in 1860.

On April 2, 1860, Lincoln was in Chicago on business for a court case when he was asked to give a speech in Waukegan. The afternoon before the speech he got a shave in Philip Brand's barbershop in Waukegan. …

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