Abraham Lincoln

When historians are asked to choose the greatest Presidents in the history of the United States, one of the names most frequently mentioned is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was President during the greatest ordeal that ever faced the United States-the Civil War.  

Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in the state of Kentucky, but when he was a child, the family moved to the state of Indiana. Abraham’s parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, were farmers who were very poor, and they received only a few years of education. When Abraham was only nine years old, his mother became ill and died. About one year later, Abraham’s father remarried.  

As a young man, Abraham continued to work on the family farm, and he also worked as a laborer. During this time, the Lincolns moved to the state of Illinois. Abraham became known to the local people as an excellent athlete and story-teller. He educated himself by reading many books, most of which he borrowed from neighbours.  

Lincoln was interested in politics, and when he was in his mid-20s, he was elected to the Illinois state legislature. During this time, Lincoln also studied law, and soon became known as an excellent lawyer. People called Lincoln “Honest Abe” because of his personal integrity. In 1842, Lincoln married a woman named Mary Todd.  

During the 1850s, Lincoln became strongly opposed the expansion of slavery into the western parts of the United States. Lincoln held several famous debates against a supporter of slavery named Stephen Douglas.  

In 1860, Lincoln was a candidate in the election for President of the United States. During this election, the issue of slavery and its expansion was very prominent. Lincoln won, but soon after, several of the southern states decided to secede from the United States, and form their own country. A few months later, fighting started between those southern states and the federal government, which was supported by the northern states.  

Lincoln managed the Civil War with skill and determination. Gradually the North began to win the war. In 1863, Lincoln made the “Emancipation Proclamation,” which freed the slaves. Later that year, Lincoln gave his most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. The Civil War had brought terrible suffering to many Americans, and people were very bitter after the war. But Lincoln wanted the country to become united again, and he urged people to forgive. However, in April of 1865, only months after the war ended, Lincoln was shot and killed by an assassin. Many people, even Lincoln’s critics, mourned his death.  

In the generations that have passed since Lincoln’s death, he has continued to be viewed as a great President. Some historians have criticized Lincoln for not being more strongly opposed to slavery, but others have defended him, saying that Lincoln’s approach to the issue was realistic and humane. But nearly all historians agree that Lincoln was an honest and brave leader during the most difficult period in American history.


someone who studies history, or the history of a particular thing
a person who studies history and/or writes about it
art/literary/military etc historian



a difficult or painful experience:
The parents went through a terrible ordeal when their child was kidnapped.

used before the name of a family in the plural to refer to all the members of that family
The Johnsons had lived in this house for many years.


an institution or people that has the power to make or change laws
state/national/federal etc

legislature the state legislature of Virginia


strength and firmness of character or principle; honesty; trustworthiness: a man of complete integrity


when something increases in size, range, amount etc
ᅳsynonym growth
ᅳsee also expand
expansion of
The rapid expansion of cities can cause social and economic problems.
expansion in
an expansion in student numbers


a meeting, esp. in public, in which a question is talked about by at least two people or groups, each expressing a different opinion: There was a long debate in the Assembly on the question of capital punishment. | a heated debate


a prominent Russian scientist play a prominent part/role (in something) Mandela played a prominent role in the early years of the ANC.The World Cup will have a prominent place on the agenda.


if a country or state secedes from another country, it officially stops being part of it and becomes independent
secede from
By 1861, 11 states had seceded from the Union

Bangladesh seceded from Pakistan



Emancipation Proclamation

an announcement made in the US by President Abraham Lincoln which ordered the end of slavery (=the practice of owning people as property) in the Confederate States (=the southern states of the US) from January 1st 1863. The Proclamation was made during the Civil War. Soon after the war, slavery was completely ended by the “13th Amendment” to the US Constitution.


feeling angry, jealous, and upset because you think you have been treated unfairly
ᅳsee also bitterly
bitter about
I feel very bitter about what has happened.
a bitter and vindictive old man


to strongly suggest that someone does something
urge somebody to do something
I got a note from Moira urging me to get in touch.
urge that
He urged that a referendum should be held by December.
urge something on/upon somebody
I have urged upon him the need for extreme secrecy.

The charity urged quick action.


to feel very sad and to miss someone after they have died
ᅳsynonym grieve for
Hundreds of people gathered to mourn the slain president.
mourn for
They mourned for their children, killed in the war.
mourn somebody’s death/loss/passing
She still mourns the death of her husband.

Another Source
to feel and/or show grief (for), esp. because of someone’s death: The old woman still mourns her son’s death/mourns for her son. | We all mourn the passing of the steam train. (=wish that they had not stopped being used)

they mourned the death of their father  
she was mourned by her family as well as by a grateful nation




treating people or animals in a way that is not cruel and causes them as little suffering as possible
ᅳopposite inhumane

the campaign for the humane treatment of criminalsa better, more humane world

Another Source
showing human kindness, thoughtfulness, and sympathy for the suffering and misfortune of others, etc.: a humane method of killing animals (=one that causes the least possible pain) —opposite inhumane



[countable] a method of doing something or dealing with a problem
approach to
a new approach to teaching languages
He decided to adopt a different approach and teach the Bible through story-telling. This book takes an unorthodox approach to art criticism. organizations which take a positive approach to creative thinking