Why was President Lincoln killed

Abraham Lincoln

Childhood in poverty

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in a tiny log cabin in the state of Kentucky. Lincoln's parents were small farmers who came from a humble background. His stepmother could neither read nor write, but kept encouraging young Abraham to study.

After all, Lincoln was able to attend school for a few years and there was no money for further education.

But there was so much thirst for knowledge in the growing boy that he read all the books he could find. His reading material also included the Bible. Quotes from it were to accompany his political path later.

Abraham Lincoln became a master of self-education and managed to become a good and sought-after lawyer as an autodidact. Even as a young man, he was also interested in politics and was involved at the local level.

Lawyer and politician

Even after moving to Springfield, the capital of Illinois, Licoln continued to pursue a career as a professional politician. He was inducted into the bar, belonged to the upper class and gained a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives.

On the political stage, he met Mary Ann Todd, who came from a respected and wealthy family. In 1840 the two became engaged, two years later they married and started a family.

They had four sons, two of whom died in childhood and one of whom was only 18 years old. Only Robert Lincoln reached adulthood and, like his father, embarked on a career as a lawyer and politician.

From 1881 to 1885 he was Secretary of War of the United States. Exactly a hundred years later, his great-grandson, the last direct descendant of Abraham Lincoln, died in 1985.

The way to Washington

In 1847, Lincoln became a member of Congress and moved to Washington with his family. The Christian-oriented politician used his mandate to advocate the abolition of slavery, which was permitted in some southern states.

But Lincoln's words were rarely heard. In 1859 he returned to Springfield, where he again worked as a lawyer.

In the following years the slave question in Congress in Washington became more and more important. The debates about the abolition of slavery became increasingly heated.

Lincoln followed the political controversy and joined the discussion. Following his Christian and democratic view, he saw slavery as a violation of humanity and the civil rights principle of freedom of a modern state.

His fiercest political adversary was Stephen A. Douglas. With him, Lincoln engaged in a widely publicized dispute, which earned him a high degree of recognition and respect across the country.

Between division and the slave question

The increase in popularity earned Lincoln another mandate in Washington. This time he moved to the Senate for the Republicans. Lincoln was considered the best speaker in his party - he sometimes spent days honing his speeches and often used quotes from the Bible. This was also the case in 1858 in his famous inaugural address as a member of the Senate.

As the calls for the secession of the slave states grew louder in Congress, Lincoln described the divide between proponents and opponents of slavery with a Bible parable: that of the house, which cannot stand when divided.

Two years later this house would actually break apart; civil war broke out over the slave question. A major part of bringing the barrel to overflow was done by John Brown.

The fanatic had set himself the goal of ending slavery on his own. He wanted to instigate an armed slave revolt in the southern states. Brown and some of his followers raided an army arsenal, killing four people. The uprising was prevented and Brown was executed, but it lit the fuse.

The union is falling apart

In the south it was certain that the attempted slave revolt was not the act of an individual but was supported by the north. Slaves and secession, that is, the division into northern and southern states, became the most important topics of the election campaign that was waged for the presidency in 1860.

Lincoln was considered to be the most promising candidate and in his speeches took an increasingly clear position against slavery in America.

How much the Americans were interested in their political future was shown by the enormous voter turnout of more than 80 percent. Of the 4.7 million eligible white men over the age of 21, around 40 percent voted for Lincoln in November 1860, and around 30 percent for his rival Douglas.

But the election of Lincoln as 16th President of the United States was followed immediately by political ramifications for the southern states. On December 20, South Carolina announced its exit from the Union. Another ten states followed and proclaimed the Confederate States of America on February 8, 1861.

Bloody term of office

In his inaugural address in March 1861, Lincoln adopted a conciliatory tone towards the South. He was ready to talk, but stressed that he would not accept the split in the Union.

Meanwhile, the south mobilized and began to take possession of Union property - initially without violence. Only the union-loyal garrison of Fort Sumter resisted. When the fort was attacked by southern artillery, Lincoln used it as an opportunity to advance south with troops. The fateful civil war took its course.

At the beginning, Lincoln was certain that he would be able to end the war quickly and force the breakaway southern states back into the Union. In addition to his political as well as military skill, he showed. But four bloody years passed before he had forced the south to surrender.

Won the war - defeated by hatred

Lincoln had achieved his goal and saved the Union. In addition, he had enforced the abolition of slavery in all states, which was not the priority of the civil war for him from the beginning, as he explained in 1862:

"If I could save the Union without freeing a slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all slaves, I would ... Anything I do about slavery and blacks , happens because I believe it will help save the Union. "

When the next presidential election came up in 1864, 55 percent of the electorate voted for Lincoln. Now his top political task was to reintegrate the southern states into the Union.

In March 1865 he promised in his inaugural address: "Resentment against anyone - charity against everyone". Shortly thereafter, on April 14, Lincoln was shot dead by Southern fanatic John Wilkes Booth while he was at the theater in Washington.

His political legacy was fulfilled shortly after his death: the abolition of slavery in all states was incorporated into the US Constitution. Eleven years after Lincoln's death, a statue was erected in his honor in Washington. Black US citizens collected the money for the construction.