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Mr. President

Abraham Lincoln
Sixteenth President, 1861–1865

“With malice toward none, with charity
for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

—Second Inaugural Address, 1864

Political Pro:
Lincoln was one of the least popular presidents when elected. Even a supporter called the fanatically honest Illinois lawyer "a first-rate second-rate man." Yet Lincoln proved them wrong as he guided the nation wisely and fairly through the perilous Civil War. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, forever freeing slaves in Confederate territory. Later that year, he delivered his Gettysburg Address on the site of the war’s bloodiest battle. He proclaimed that the soldiers did not die in vain, "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Finally, in 1865, Confederate troops surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia. Lincoln had generous and conciliatory post-war plans for rebuilding the nation, but he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth just five days after the surrender.

Portrait by George P.A. Healy , 1887 . NPG.65.50 , Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery .

Fast Facts
Party: Republican
Date of Birth: Sunday, February 12, 1809
Date of Death: Saturday, April 15, 1865
Vice President: Hannibal Hamlin, Andrew Johnson
First Lady: Mary Todd Lincoln

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