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Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, the country's greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.

Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin and was raised on the frontier primarily in Indiana. He was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, and U.S. Congressman from Illinois. In 1849, he returned to his law practice but became vexed by the opening of additional lands to slavery as a result of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. He reentered politics in 1854, becoming a leader in the new Republican Party, and he reached a national audience in the 1858 debates against Stephen Douglas. Lincoln ran for President in 1860, sweeping the North in victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South equated his success with the North's rejection of their right to practice slavery, and southern states began seceding from the union. To secure its independence, the new Confederate States fired on Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort in the South, and Lincoln called up forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union.

As the leader of moderate Republicans, Lincoln had to navigate a contentious array of factions with friends and opponents on both sides. War Democrats rallied a large faction of former opponents into his moderate camp, but they were countered by Radical Republicans, who demanded harsh treatment of the Southern traitors. Anti-war Democrats (called "Copperheads") despised him, and irreconcilable pro-Confederate elements plotted his assassination. Lincoln managed the factions by exploiting their mutual enmity, by carefully distributing political patronage, and by appealing to the U.S. people. His Gettysburg Address became a historic clarion call for nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln scrutinized the strategy and tactics in the war effort, including the selection of generals and the naval blockade of the South's trade. He suspended habeas corpus, and he averted British intervention by defusing the Trent Affair. He engineered the end to slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation and his order that the Army protect and recruit former slaves. He also encouraged border states to outlaw slavery, and promoted the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery across the country.

Lincoln managed his own successful re-election campaign. He sought to heal the war-torn nation through reconciliation. On April 14, 1865, just days after the war's end at Appomattox, Lincoln was attending a play at Ford's Theatre with his wife Mary when he was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. His marriage had produced four sons, two of whom preceded him in death, with severe emotional impact upon him and Mary. Lincoln is remembered as the martyr hero of the United States and he is consistently ranked as one of the greatest presidents in American history.

Abraham Lincoln Media

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[Abraham Lincoln, three-quarter length portrait, seated and holding his spectacles and pencil (retouched to stand out)]
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Correspondence, 1866-1891; Letters to Whitman; 1880, Dec. 29 - 1884, Mar. 7 , undated
Walt Whitman Papers: Reproductions; Photocopies; National Archives and Records Administration, records, 1864-1874
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Miscellany, 1855-1905; Advertisement copies for Leaves of Grass, Passage to India, and Democratic Vistas, 1871?
Walt Whitman Papers: Reproductions; Photocopies; National Archives and Records Administration, records, 1864-1874
Card of Mr. John Hay, Executive Mansion with handwritten note.
Lincoln, Abraham - Folder 4 of 4
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Proofs and Offprints, 1864-1891; "The Midnight Visitor" and "John Anderson My Jo," undated (303)
Agreement in Musick for use of Johnson v. Baughn & Jackson, [Law papers].

Agreement in Musick for use of Johnson v. Baughn & Jackson, [Law paper...

Portion of document appears to be in Lincoln's hand. Summary: Baughn sued Johnson to recover a horse, valued at $90, and filed with Sheriff Musick a $180 replevin bond, which would be void if Baughn won the cas... More

Bill of Exceptions in Unknown v. Unknown, [Law papers].

Bill of Exceptions in Unknown v. Unknown, [Law papers].

Summary: An unknown plaintiff sued an unknown defendant, who retained Lincoln. The court ruled for the plaintiff. The defendant apparently planned to appeal the case because Lincoln wrote a bill of exceptions f... More

Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; 1862-1863
Harpers Ferry. (From the Potomac side).
Harpers Ferry. (From the Blue Ridge).
A list of the members of the 12th General Assembly of the State of Illinois, with their age, occupation, place of residence, politics &c.
Lincoln, Abraham - Folder 4 of 4
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; 1868-1870
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Manuscripts, 1859-circa 1892; Poetry; 1891; "Old Chants"
A 100th anniversary map of Abraham Lincoln's visit to Massachusetts, September 11-23, 1848.
Grand inauguration ball.
[Original museum display card for Lincoln's method of lifting vessels over shoals patent].

[Original museum display card for Lincoln's method of lifting vessels ...

The model of the Lincoln boat which was filed with Lincoln's application was available to the public in 1849. The Patent Office produced display cards for their models. From time to time the cards wore out and ... More

[Reproduction of oil painting by Williams]
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Correspondence, 1866-1891; Letters to Whitman; 1875, July 22 - 1887, Feb. 12 , undated and
Emancipation proclamation, [Ornamental rendition of the Emancipation Proclamation].

Emancipation proclamation, [Ornamental rendition of the Emancipation P...

Ornamental rendition of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Emancipation Proclamation. Carpeter's great national picture, The Emancipation Proclamation, before the Cabinet!
Taking a "smile."
A bad egg for a southern stomach.
To working men. The war is now, thanks to Gen's Grant, Sherman and other heroes of the Glorious Army and Navy.
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Correspondence, 1866-1891; Letters to and from Whitman; Lincoln material, 1865-1868
Proclamation of freedom millions! The emancipation proclamation.
Auber in Allem un uber Alles Lict und Liebe fur Wahrheit und Tugend, Lincoln apotheosis
[Haugg and Sebald copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.]
Buttre portrait of Lincoln.

Buttre portrait of Lincoln.

Facsimile of Lincoln's signature on print.

Discouraged?
Second inaugural address of the late President Lincoln

Second inaugural address of the late President Lincoln

Surrounded by black mourning border.

A bitter "Draught."
Letting the last "Democratic Drop."
Appearance of Ford's Theatre, Washington, D. C., after the murder.
"Mac" the giant killer.
[Rufus Blanchard edition of the emancipation proclamation. Copy 2]
Theory. Practice. Effect.
A southern peace! Democrats!
Campaign song.

Campaign song.

Handwritten note across top of songsheet: First sung in the loft over Geirson & Walihaus in warehouse, by eh author, in may 1860. Handwritten note under composer credit: afterward Major General in U. S. Army.

The martyr of liberty.

The martyr of liberty.

The martyr of liberty hath borne his faculties so meek; has been so clear in his great office; that his virtues shall plead, trumped-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off. Volume 4, no 54 is a duplicate.

Kelly & Sons portrait of Abraham Lincoln and his family.
A Lincolnian Christian.
Why don't you take it? [Copy 2.]
Heavy artillery raised by authority of the state at the request of the Secretary of War and Major-General McClellan
[Partial copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.]
"With malice towards none and charity for all."
Important news by telegraph.
Abraham Lincoln / lith. & published by Edw. Mendel.

Abraham Lincoln / lith. & published by Edw. Mendel.

Head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right.

The nation is weeping.

The nation is weeping.

Surrounded by a black mourning border. Pictured: Lincoln's funeral procession.

Allegorical representation of freeing of slaves.
The ladies memorial to the brave defenders of this glorious union.

The ladies memorial to the brave defenders of this glorious union.

Embossed leaf with title, mottoes and names of heroes within an elaborate design.

Exhibition of the Philomathean Society of Danville, Ill. On Thursday evening, May 8th, 1851. Animus Imperatro Corpus.

Exhibition of the Philomathean Society of Danville, Ill. On Thursday e...

Handwritten on verso: Ira Mayfield, J. B. Lemon, Daniel Clap, Dr. Balch.

Letter to H. A. Wise from James Lyons, October 20, 1852.
[Print of the "lost ambertype" of Lincoln.]

[Print of the "lost ambertype" of Lincoln.]

Written in pencil on back: This is the photograph from the original ambertype owned by the Latham family of Lincoln, Illinois. It was posed for by Mr. Lincoln at the time the city of Lincoln was named for him. ... More

[Abraham Lincoln while campaigning for the U.S. Senate, taken in Chicago, Illinois

[Abraham Lincoln while campaigning for the U.S. Senate, taken in Chica...

Title devised by Library staff. Original photograph: The original daguerreotype is at the Chicago Historical Society. Ostendorf, no. 6 Meserve, no. 3 Published in: Lincoln's photographs: a complete album / by L... More

Odd-Fellow's Hall. Thursday Even'g, June 8. Last night Uncle Tom's Cabin!
Lincoln's invitation to Peoria. [Facsimile.]

Lincoln's invitation to Peoria. [Facsimile.]

Facsimile of letter sent by Peorians in 1854 asking Lincoln to come here to reply to Douglas's speech.

Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Miscellany, 1855-1905; Printed copy of letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1855, July 21
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Miscellany, 1855-1905; Cardboard butterfly, undated
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; Before 1855
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; Before 1855
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Miscellany, 1855-1905; Reprints of three articles on Whitman and his poetry: a review of Leaves of Grass, Putnam's Monthly, 1855, Sept. ; "Walt Whitman and His Poems," United States Review, 1855, Sept. ; and, "An English and an American P
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; Before 1855
The Buck chase of 1856.
Liberty. The fair maid of Kansas in the hands of the "border ruffians".
The great presidential race of 1856.
Forcing slavery down the throat of a freesoiler.
The grand national fight 2 against 1 fought on the 6th Nov.1856; for one hundred thousand dollars.
"Buck" taking the pot.
The morning after the election _ November 1856.
Shall I vote for ten cents a day?
[Abraham Lincoln: Immediately prior to Senate nomination, Chicago, Illinois]

[Abraham Lincoln: Immediately prior to Senate nomination, Chicago, Ill...

Abraham Lincoln, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right. Ostendorf, no. 2 Meserve, no. 6 Published in: Lincoln's photographs: a complete album / by Lloyd Ostendorf. Dayton, OH: Rockywood Press, 1998, p. 6-7.

[Abraham Lincoln, immediately prior to Senate nomination, Chicago, Illinois]

[Abraham Lincoln, immediately prior to Senate nomination, Chicago, Ill...

Abraham Lincoln, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right. According to Ostendorf, this portrait by Hessler was copied during Lincoln's campaign and further distributed. Ostendorf, no. 2 (variation) Meserve, n... More

[Abraham Lincoln while a traveling lawyer, taken in Danville, Illinois

[Abraham Lincoln while a traveling lawyer, taken in Danville, Illinois

Illus. in: The Photographs of Abraham Lincoln / Frederick Hill Meserve. New York, Privately printed, 1911, p. 43. Original photograph: The original ambrotype is at the Illinois State Historical Library. Ostendo... More

[Framed photograph of Lincoln by Samuel Alschuler.]
Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; 1857? , "Oratory"
[Abraham Lincoln, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left. Reversed and retouched copy of photo by Alexander Hessler]

[Abraham Lincoln, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left. Reversed a...

"On February 28, 1857, Alexander Hesler took the famous photograph of Lincoln in Chicago. About seven months earlier, so the story went, Lincoln had posed for William H. Masters of Princeton, Illinois. No photo... More

Letter to Henry Clay Whitney, Esq. from Abraham Lincoln, November 30, 1858.

Letter to Henry Clay Whitney, Esq. from Abraham Lincoln, November 30, ...

Requests copies of the Lincoln-Douglas debates as they were reported in the Tribune.

[Photograph of sculpture by Crunelle located in Freeport, Illinois.]

[Photograph of sculpture by Crunelle located in Freeport, Illinois.]

The northern Illinois town of Freeport hosted the second and most famous of the seven Lincoln-Douglas political debates on August 27, 1858. Statue at Freeport, Ill., dedicated August 29, 1929.

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing left]

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing left]

Photo shows Abraham Lincoln in an image that was widely reproduced on presidential campaign ribbins in 1860. Lincoln reportedly liked the photograph and often signed prints for admirers. (Source: Ostendorf, p. ... More

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing right]

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing right]

Photo shows Abraham Lincoln in an image that was widely reproduced on presidential campaign ribbins in 1860. Lincoln reportedly liked the photograph and often signed prints for admirers. (Source: Ostendorf, p. ... More

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing right]

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing right]

Photo shows Abraham Lincoln in an image that was widely reproduced on presidential campaign ribbons in 1860. Lincoln reportedly liked the photograph and often signed prints for admirers. (Source: Ostendorf, p. ... More

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing right]

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, facing right]

Photo shows Abraham Lincoln in an image that was widely reproduced on presidential campaign ribbons in 1860. Lincoln reportedly liked the photograph and often signed prints for admirers. (Source: Ostendorf, p. ... More

Letter to Hon. Henry A. Wise from S. A. Douglas, November 7, 1858.

Letter to Hon. Henry A. Wise from S. A. Douglas, November 7, 1858.

Refers to success of the Democratic Party in recent State elections in Illinois.

[Abraham Lincoln, bust-length portrait, facing right]

[Abraham Lincoln, bust-length portrait, facing right]

Ostendorf, no. 12 Meserve, no. 4 Original photograph: The original tintype is at the National Lincoln Museum (Old Ford's Theatre), according to Ostendorf. Published in: Lincoln's photographs: a complete album /... More

Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman: Notebooks, 1847-1885?; 1859
Warrant of Attorney in Blong v. W. C. Taylor & Co., [Law papers].

Warrant of Attorney in Blong v. W. C. Taylor & Co., [Law papers].

Summary: W. C. Taylor and Company gave Blong an $8,428.72 promissory note but failed to pay. W. C. Taylor and Co. signed a warrant of attorney that authorized Lincoln or any other attorney to confess judgment a... More

[Illinois election ticket.] For presidential electors.
Union / painted by T.H. Matteson ; engraved by H.S. Sadd.

Union / painted by T.H. Matteson ; engraved by H.S. Sadd.

Print showing original image from 1852 with Henry Clay, sitting to the left of center, John Calhoun, and Daniel Webster standing at center, except that the plate has been reworked so that Abraham Lincoln (with ... More

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, looking right]

[Abraham Lincoln, half-length portrait, looking right]

Title devised by Library staff. Date from: Looking for Lincoln: the making of an American icon / Philip B. Kunhardt, III. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008, p. 465. Ostendorf, no. 18 Meserve, no. 110 Published in... More

[Oil painting of Lincoln possibly based on a Brady photograph.]
Lincoln's Gettysburg speech.
The Great Lincoln memorial tableaux are now on exhibition at National Hall!
Republican ticket. For President, Abraham Lincoln, For Vice-President, Hannibal Hamlin. [Ohio campaign ticket]
[Printed] Letter from Col. John H. George.

[Printed] Letter from Col. John H. George.

From the Oliver R. Barrett Collection.

Abraham Lincoln. The martyr President, Assassinated April 14, 1865, [Currier & Ives portrait].
The Republican Standard.

The Republican Standard.

Partly colored broadside in five columns within a colored border of a rail fence. Heading in a large type. No 1745, Vol. 3. T. W. Streeter Collection sale, 1967.

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