Abraham Lincoln: Most Influential Man in American History
Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of America's greatest heroes due to both his incredible impact on the nation and his unique appeal. His is a remarkable story of the rise from humble beginnings to achieve the highest office in the land.The son of a Kentucky frontiersman, Lincoln had to struggle for a living and for learning. Five months before receiving his party's nomination for President, he sketched his life:
"I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."
His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."
Abraham Lincoln is often referred to as "The Great Emancipator" and yet, he did not publicly call for emancipation throughout his entire life. Lincoln began his public career by claiming that he was "Antislavery" -- against slavery's expansion, but not calling for immediate emancipation. However, the man who began as "antislavery" eventually issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all slaves in those states that were in rebellion. He vigorously supported the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery throughout the United States, and, in the last speech of his life, he recommended extending the vote to African Americans.
The Steven Spielberg directed depiction of the end of Lincoln's first term as president was a compelling story of how the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution came to be. It was a bittersweet journey, reminding viewers of how far this country has come, yet surprisingly it also revealed how much things in America have stayed the same.
In the film, Lincoln, played by Daniel Day Lewis viewed the institution of slavery as an immoral stain on America's soul, a blemish that ultimately had to be removed in order for the country to live up to its potential.