Abraham Lincoln was born 12 February 1809 near Hodgenville, Kentucky, and grew up with little formal schooling. Self-educated, he was eventually elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and served from 1834 to 1842. Admitted to the bar in 1836, Lincoln used law as a gateway into politics, which dominated his life. He became Vice-Presidential candidate for the (new) Republic Party in 1856 and was elected 16th President of the United States, serving from 1861 to his assassination by John Wilkes Booth in Washington on April 15, 1865. Lincoln's slave emancipation principles led to the civil war between the North and the South in 1861. He was survived by his wife Mary Todd, whom he married in 1842 in Springfield, Illinois, and one son.
Lincoln's favourite poem was "Mortality" by the Scottish poet William Knox. Its religious melancholy ran through Lincoln's own, always occasional poems, which set down personal thoughts on his life in the context of Biblical time.
- The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Ed. Roy P. Basler, Marion Dolores Pratt, and Lloyd A. Dunlap. 9 vols. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953-55. E 457 .91 Robarts Library