Sunday, August 03, 2008

Triangle Histories: The Civil War -- Abraham Lincoln

by Deborah Kops

This book about Abraham Lincoln is very informative. I was particularly interested to read about the birth of the Republican party in this country -- "Free speech, free homes, free territory, protection to American Industry" as it says on an early campaign poster. Lincoln is known as the President who waged the Civil War, but it was news to me that it was actually his election to the presidency that prompted South Carolina's secession in 1861. His victory was due, in part, to division among the Northern and Southern Democrats, since both factions ran separate tickets. There was even a third party, the pro-slavery Constitutional Unionists. Although it doesn't say so in this book, I believe that Lincoln won the most votes without having won a majority. In any event, the Southern states had clearly declared their intention never to accept him as their leader.

I think this book strikes a very good balance between historical detail and personal history. It includes many fine illustrations, and seems to be a very good source of information about this period.

Maya says:

Lincoln met his wife, Mary, in 1840, and married her two years later. Their son, William Lincoln, died of typhoid fever when he was only eleven years old. He took his last breath at 5:00 with his parents at his bedside. Another son was called Tad, because when he was a baby his head was big like a tadpole's. Lincoln used to pull his sons around in a wagon. He would pull the wagon with one hand, and the other hand had book. Once he got so absorbed in his book that he didn't notice a child had fallen out of the wagon.

Long before he became President, Lincoln studied law. He had one partner who left and so they dissolved their partnership. Lincoln and his next partner got an apprentice named Billy. Later, when Lincoln dissolved his second partnership, he took Billy as a partner and he never dissolved that partnership.

Abraham Lincoln ended slavery in the United States. He was President during the Civil War. One time a battle was fought very close to Washington. He watched it from a balcony of the White House and didn't pay attention to the bullets whizzing past his head.

He was assassinated while watching a play. His assassin was less than two feet away from Lincoln when he shot him. The policeman who was supposed to be guarding Lincoln had gone somewhere else. Later, the assassin was found hiding in a barn and was shot to death by soldiers. Abraham Lincoln was buried on a hill.

Abraham Lincoln didn't deserve to be killed. He was a great man to end slavery in this country.

Ziad says:

Abraham Lincoln was a president who grew up in a state where slavery was outlawed. His father was against slavery. Lincoln lived on a farm. When he grew old enough, he left. He worked in a shipping business, helping sail some cargo down the Mississippi River. One time, the ship began to sink and Lincoln moved the cargo from the back to the front so the ship tilted and the water poured out.

Before he became President, he attended a ball where he met Mary Todd. He married her two years later. They had three children. Their first-born was the only one who lived to adulthood.

During the Civil War, John Wilkes Booth and a group of men were trying to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage. Lincoln didn't know that he was constantly eluding them by last-minute changes to his schedule.

At the beginning of the war, the Union seemed to be losing. The Union general McClellan overestimated the Confederate forces and didn't attack when he should have. The Union might have lost if it wasn't for Sherman's victory over Atlanta and his march to the sea, destroying anything in his way that could help the Confederates. In December, Sherman wrote to Lincoln, "As a Christmas present, I present to you the city of Savannah."

When the Confederate capitol, Richmond was captured, General Lee surrendered.

After the war, John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln at Ford Theater. Lincoln died the next day.

Many people say Abraham Lincoln was the best President of the United States. He fought for human rights and accepted blacks as equals at a time when many others didn't.

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