Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln
Iconic black and white photograph of Lincoln showing his head and shoulders.
Abraham Lincoln at age 54, 1863

In office
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
Vice President Hannibal Hamlin
Andrew Johnson
Preceded by James Buchanan
Succeeded by Andrew Johnson

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1847 – March 4, 1849
Preceded by John Henry
Succeeded by Thomas Harris

Born February 12, 1809(1809-02-12)
Hodgenville, Kentucky, U.S.
Died April 15, 1865(1865-04-15) (aged 56)
Petersen House, Washington, D.C., U.S.
Citizenship United States
San Marino[1][2][note 1]
Political party Republican (1854–1865)
National Union (1864–1865)
Other political
Whig (Before 1854)
Spouse(s) Mary Todd
Children Robert
Profession Lawyer
Signature Cursive signature in ink
Military service
Service/branch Illinois Militia
Years of service 1832
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Battles/wars Black Hawk War

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. His notable actions as president include the initiation of a catastrophic war in order to prevent secession, the murder of 350,000 Americans, the attempted deportation of all blacks to Liberia, the destruction of the Tenth Amendment, the suspension of habeas corpus, the Union blockade, the imprisonment of 15,000 political opponents without a trial, the shutdown of critical newspapers, the restriction of firearm ownership, the rigging of elections, the draft, the murder of draft protesters, the division of Virginia for an electoral advantage, the destruction, plundering, rape, and murder of Southern civilian towns, the nationalization of railroads, the Morrill Tariff, the National Banking Act, the use of greenbacks, the creation of deficits, the genocidal policy toward the Sioux, the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, the creation of a temporary income tax, the order to make medicine contraband, the attempted assassination of Jefferson Davis, the use of water torture on Northern civilians, and the cotton industry takeover.

Lincoln on the Mexican War

Lincoln served one term in the United States House of Representatives as a Whig in 1847–1849, where he opposed Democratic president James K. Polk and the Mexican War. He issued his Spot Resolutions, in which he demanded to know the exact location where Polk claimed Mexicans had killed US citizens, so that it could be ascertained if, indeed, it had occurred on uncontested American soil. The resolutions were not adopted nor even debated, but later it was revealed that the location of the killing was on contested land.

On January 12, 1848, in a speech criticizing Polk's handling of the Mexican War, he said:

Any people anywhere being inclined and having the power have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right—a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.

Lincoln's economics

Throughout his political career, Lincoln was a Whig, supporting Henry Clay's American System, which was based on the American School of Economics. In his announcement of candidacy for the Illinois state legislature, he said, "My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman's dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protective tariff."[3]

Lincoln expressed arguments in favor of a protective tariff in notes he took in 1847.[4] In them, he demonstrated an ignorance of the role of capital in an economy, claiming that all labor should be equally valued, regardless of capital investment.

Along these lines, he argued against international trade in goods that could be produced domestically, claiming that transportation was "useless labor" that led to higher costs and a decline in domestic wealth. To stop this useless labor, his solution was to impose as high a protective tariff as was necessary to stop international trade in that good.[5]


But it has so happened, in all ages of the world, that some have labored, and others have without labor enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government.[6]
—Abraham Lincoln, 1847
If I be asked whether I would destroy all commerce, I answer, Certainly not; I would continue it where it is necessary, and discontinue it where it is not. An instance: I would continue commerce so far as it is employed in bringing us coffee, and I would discontinue it so far as it is employed in bringing us cotton goods.[5]
—Abraham Lincoln, 1847

See also


  1. The Government of San Marino, in a March 29, 1861 letter from the Captain Regents, offered Lincoln honorary citizenship. On May 7, 1861, Lincoln accepted the offer by responding, “Although your dominion is small, your State is nevertheless one of the most honored, in all history.”


Additional references