Any serious (even not so serious) study will place Abraham Lincoln as one of the top two American Presidents. No President did as much to preserve the American Nation, and perhaps none can come as close as Lincoln to fulfilling the America mythology. Even without the lens of the Civil War, Lincoln’s rise to prominence would have been a great American story.
Abe was born in a one room cabin in Kentucky. His father was a successful farm, but lost everything in court because of faulty property titles. Abraham was hard working, but did not enjoy the tough life of farming. Although he had only about 18 months of formal education, he was able to teach himself by reading whatever books he could find or borrow. He went on to enter Illinois Politics and was admitted to the bar. He was assured of easy success by relocating near his wife’s wealthy family in Kentucky, but chose to stay in the free state of Illinois. Lincoln followed a “free soil” policy, neither supporting slavery of abolition. While vocal opposed to the abolitionist, Lincoln remained firm in his belief that the evils of slavery not be allowed to spread.
Lincoln was selected as the Republican candidate for President in the 1860 election. In response to growing tensions over the slavery issue, many of the Southern States chose to secede from the Union. The constitutional, moral and military crisis of the Civil War would define Lincoln’s Presidency and legacy. He has been both praised and criticized for his close management of military affairs during the War; it is true that he had ample reason to be dissatisfied with the quality of some of his generals (when he heard complaints about Grant, who had been winning battles, that Grant was a drunkard, lincoln asked for Grant’s brand, so that he could send some to his other generals.)
Lincoln’s life and legacy have been celebrated in a number of books, movies, and radio dramas.