Portrait of Abraham Lincoln reminds us of the difficult begining of our history. Today, we can appreciate portrait of Abraham Lincoln in many places around us, including libraries, federal and state buildings, universities, and the White House. Have you ever wondered why Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked by both scholars and public as one of the three greatest presidents in the US?
What do you think our nation is mostly proud of? Having strong political power? Putting an end to the World War II? Or, winning the pursuit to be the first nation on the Moon? Those great achievements are part of one overarching theme. There is nothing more marvelous than the History of the United States of America. With all the twists, turns, ups and downs, we and our ancestors are the people who have been tangibly creating American history based on freedom, liberty and democracy.
Today would not look that bright if there had not been wonderful individuals creating our story. One of such important individuals played an important role in leading the country during Civil War as well as constitutional and political crisis. This individual preserved the Union, abolished slavery, reinforced federal government, and modernized economy. Today we will talk about 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin near Hodgenville, Kentucky. He was born to a family of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. As Abraham Lincoln was growing up, he loved to read and preferred learning instead of working in the field. He was raised in a poor family of farmers. Abraham’s dogged pursuit of knowledge caused a strain in a relationship with his father, who opposed Lincoln’s educational aspirations.
As a young adult, Lincoln tried many different professions. For instance, he operated a store and served as postmaster. His unique character and desire for a just society impressed the residents of Hodgenville, who named him “Honest Abe.”
In 1831, 22-year old Lincoln moved to New Orleans where he observed atrocities of slavery. The brutality that he witnessed influenced the way he understood slavery.
Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War. Later, he made an unsuccessful run for the Illinois legislature in 1832. He ran again in 1834 to win. He successfully ran three more times until 1840. Lincoln was a member of the Whig Party. He remained a Whig until 1856 when he became a Republican. Additionally, he studied law in his spare time and became a lawyer in 1836.
Presidency and secession
Lincoln was elected the 16th president on November 6, 1860, defeating Douglas, John Bell and John C. Breckinridge. He was the first president from the Republican Party to become a president. Strong support of the North and West entirely contributed in Abraham Lincoln victory.
At a time, secessionists made clear that they will leave the Union before Abraham takes office. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession, and it was followed by Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Six of those states declared their sovereignty, and they were known as Confederate States of America. They selected Jefferson Davis as provisional President on February 9, 1861. However Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal.
After the uprising of the Confederate States of America, President Lincoln faced the greatest internal crisis that any American President had been faced before. After the fall of Ft. Sumter, Lincoln raised decided to fight to save and protect the Union from falling apart. Despite enormous pressures, losses of lives, battlefield setbacks, unprepared generals and assassination threats, Abraham stuck with his pro-Union policy for four years of Civil War. On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. This was Lincoln’s declaration of freedom for all slaves in the areas of the Confederacy not under Union control.
Difficult career of President Abraham Lincoln abruptly ended during the play entitled Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater, in Washington, D.C. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Booth was an American stage actor, a Confederate sympathizer who was against the abolition of slavery. The initial plan conceived of by Booth and his accomplices was to kidnap the President in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners. His plan changed to assassination during Abraham Lincoln’s speech in April 1865. In it, Lincoln promoted voting rights for African Americans. It was common knowledge that both Abraham Lincoln and later 18th President Ulysses S. Grant were going to attend a play in Ford’s Theater. Booth and his accomplices were determined to kill both of them, along with Vice President Johnson and Secretary of State Seward at their homes.
Unfortunately, Abraham Lincoln appeared at the play without his personal bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon. On Lincoln’s order, Lamon had been sent to Richmond, Virginia. Another bodyguard of Lincoln, John Parker, left Ford’s Theater during intermission for a drink at the saloon next door. Grant, who was supposed to attend the play with Lincoln, had decided to visit his children in New Jersey.
Now unguarded, Lincoln sat in his state box in the balcony. Booth slinked from behind, aimed at the back of Lincoln’s head and took his shot. The President was mortally wounded. Major Henry Rathbone, who happened to be nearby, grappled Booth for some time. However, Booth stabbed Major Rathbone and ran away.
Following the attempted assassination, Lincoln was carried across the street to the Petersen House. He passed away there the following day. This was the first presidential assassination in American history. The nation mourned the loss of its leader. Lincoln’s body was taken to Springfield by train, and he was buried in the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery on May 4, 1865.
After having been on the run 12 days later, Booth was tracked down and found on a farm in Virginia, 70 miles away from Washington. After refusing to surrender to Union troops, Booth was shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett on April 26.
In 1982, forty-nine historians and political scientists were asked by the Chicago Tribute to rate all the Presidents through Jimmy Carter in five categories: leadership qualities, political skills, appointments, character/integrity and accomplishments/crisis management. At the top of the list stood Abraham Lincoln ahead of Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, among other leaders of our nation. None of them exceeded Lincoln in any category according to the rating.
American Nation created a Portrait of Abraham Lincoln as a self-made man, the liberator of the slaves, and the savior of the Union who had given his life so that others could be free. Lincoln became Father Abraham, a hero who gave rights to African Americans, an envoy of God to save the Union. With his experience, he understood that eradicating slavery required patience, careful timing, appropriate support and iron resistance.
To achieve all of these things, Lincoln had to break laws that were in place back then, ignoring one constitutional provision after another. He declared war without a declaration of war, before even summoning Congress into special session. He countered Supreme Court opposition by affirming his own versions of judicial reviews that placed the President as the final interpreter of the Constitution.
These greatest accomplishments in the history of our country, such as saving the Union, vindicating democracy, and putting the end to slavery, were conceived of and performed by Abraham Lincoln. He handled the biggest internal crisis in the history of the United States. Lincoln was a leader that America had needed. He was able to energize and mobilize the nation by appealing to its ideals while acting without malice in the pursuit of a more perfect, just and enduring Union.
Cultural depictions of Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln has been memorialized in many towns and cities around the country. The capital of Nebraska was named after Abraham Lincoln. The first public monument of Abraham Lincoln was a statue erected in front of the D.C City Hall in 1868, only three years after his assassination. Portrait of Abraham Lincoln is widely recognized not only in the United States, but across the world thanks to the 5-dollar bill. Another internationally known image of Lincoln is a granite face of Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota. Mount Rushmore features 60 foot sculptures of the heads of four Presidents of the United States: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. This is one of the most famous appearances of Abraham Lincoln in today’s modern times.
Portrait of Abraham Lincoln
In 1869, Abraham Lincoln appeared on an oil Portrait of Abraham Lincoln painted by George Peter Alexander Healy. On the portrait, Lincoln is observed alone, leaning forward, with his elbow on his knee and his head resting on his hand. That pose is taken form another Healy’s painting from 1868 called The Peacemakers. The Peacemakers depicts the historic strategy session by the Union high command on the streamer River Queen during the final days of the American Civil War in March 28, 1865. If you want to see Portrait of Abraham Lincoln painted by Healy please visit The White House Historical Association webpage.
Both paintings showcase a man who altered the history dedicating his life to timeless values of our nation. His resistance, wisdom and strategy make Abraham Lincoln a role model to follow, and always remember as a Man of the Nation.
Without any doubts, Portrait of Abraham Lincoln is a great way to remember the struggles in our history. If you would like to have a beautiful souvenir showcasing Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, please Contact us.
- William A. Pencak, Encyclopedia of the Veteran in America, ABC-CLIO, 2009,
- Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory, Oxford U.P., 1995,
- Stephen B. Oates, With Malice Towards None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, New York: HarperPerennial, 1994,
- Kenneth J. Winkle, The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln, Taylor, 2001,
- Mark E. Neely, The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties, 1992,
- Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, W.W. Norton, 2010
- A monument of Abraham Lincoln, photo credit RachelBostwick via pixabay cc,
- Young Abraham Lincoln, photo credit tpsdave via pixabay cc,
- Lincoln in Rushmore, photo credit werner22brigitte via pixabay cc,
- The Peacemakers, photo credit wikilmages via pixabay cc,
- The Gettysburg Address, photo credit The Q Speaks via photopin cc.