16. Abraham Lincoln

“The Great Emancipator”

Presidential Basics

  • Full name: Abraham Lincoln
  • Years in office: 1861–1865
  • Political party: Republican
  • Vice president: Hannibal Hamlin (first term), Andrew Johnson (second term)
  • Age at inauguration: 52
  • Nicknames: “The Great Emancipator,” “Abe,” “Honest Abe,” “The Railsplitter”

Random Trivia

  • Whiggin’ Out: Lincoln began his political career as a Whig.

Birth & Death

  • Birthday: February 12, 1809
  • Birthplace: Hardin County, Kentucky
  • Death date: April 15, 1865
  • Place of death: Washington, D.C.
  • Place of burial: Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois
  • Last words: “She won’t think anything about it.”


  • Father: Thomas Lincoln (1778–1851); Farmer, carpenter
  • Mother: Nancy Hanks Lincoln (1784–1818)
  • Stepmother: Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln (1788–1869)
  • Wife: Mary Todd (1818 – 1882)
  • Marriage: November 4, 1842 in Illinois
  • Kids: Four
    • Robert Todd (1843–1926)
    • Edward Baker (1846–1850)
    • William Wallace (1850–1862)
    • Thomas (Tad) (1853–1871)
  • Home: Springfield, Illinois

Other Facts

  • Height: 6’4″
  • Eye color: Gray
  • Ancestry: English
  • Religion: None
  • Born in a log cabin: Yes
  • Owned enslaved people: No
  • Freemason: No


  • Early education: Self-educated
  • College degree: No


  • Military Service: Yes
  • Lawyer: Yes
  • Store Clerk
  • Storeowner
  • Ferry Pilot
  • Surveyor
  • Postmaster
  • Captain in Black Hawk War (1832)
  • Member of the Illinois Legislature (1834–1842)
  • Lawyer (1837–)
  • Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1847–1849)
  • President (1861–1865)


  • Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln


The election of 1860 is one of the most important moments in our US history.  In this election Abraham Lincoln would win, only to become one of our nation’s most respected figures.

In 1860, the issue was slavery.  Republicans wanted to stop the spread of slavery into the new territories.  The Democrats could not decide on a unified platform or candidate.  Stephen Douglas would eventually win the Democratic nomination. Angry Southern Democrats would nominate John Breckinridge as their candidate. The election win for Lincoln led to the secession of many southern states and, in turn, the Civil War.

Even in the midst of a Civil War, the American people staged an election and re-elected the incumbent, Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln had lost favor with many Radical Republicans, but was still able to secure the nomination of his party. Although, it is important to note that Lincoln and Johnson ran on the National Union Party ticket, a label adopted by Republicans to include War Democrats.  Today, we still refer to Lincoln as a Republican and Johnson as a Democrat, as the National Union Party seems to have died with Lincoln.

During the war, Lincoln’s plan had shifted from one of preserving the Union to one of emancipation.  Democrats believed this would lessen his chance of a win.  It didn’t; Lincoln easily won re-election.

Spotlight Artifact

Abraham Lincoln’s Top Hat

Image from the Smithsonian Museum of American History

Abraham Lincoln bought this hat from a Washington hat maker named J.Y. Davis. If you look closely you’ll see a small black band near the brim. Lincoln added it to the hat in remembrance of his son Willie. Lincoln wore this hat to Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865.

Source: Smithsonian National Museum of American History 

Campaign Poster

For President, Abram Lincoln.  For Vice President, Hannibal Hamlin, print by H. C. Howard, c. 1860 (Library of Congress)


© 2021 Periodic Presidents, PJ and Jamie Creek