Lincoln During the Civil War: Facts, Quotes & Timeline

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  • 0:04 Lincoln's First Months…
  • 1:02 Some Facts
  • 2:21 Lincoln Quotes
  • 3:03 Lincoln's Timeline as…
  • 4:12 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

Abraham Lincoln did not know much about war when he became president of the United States in 1860, but the Civil War began a month after he took office. Find out how President Lincoln reacted and what he did and said to become one of the greatest leaders the country ever had.

Lincoln's First Months in Office

If you ask someone to name an American president, there's a good chance that Abraham Lincoln will be at the top of the list. He was a great leader during the Civil War, a very difficult time in the United States.

Back then, slavery was allowed, and African Americans could be bought and sold and had no rights. Slaves were a big part of the farming system in the South. More people began to feel that slavery was wrong, especially in the North.

Lincoln, who didn't want slavery in new lands being added in the West, was elected president in November 1860. Between the election and when Lincoln took office in March 1861, some southern states seceded or left the United States. The Civil War began in April. What a tough first month! The long, bloody war between the northern states (the Union) and the southern states (the Confederacy) lasted until 1865.

Some Interesting Facts

Here are some interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln and his role as president:

  • At the beginning, Lincoln's main goal was to keep the Union together.
  • Some of the first things Lincoln did was get more soldiers and start a navy blockade, which meant that ships could not bring supplies to the South.
  • As President, Lincoln was Commander in Chief of all the armed forces, but he didn't know much about war. He studied military strategy and learned quickly.
  • On January 1, 1863, Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation, which was a speech saying that millions of slaves in the Confederacy should be free. It took time for the slaves to really become free, but this was a huge step.
  • Lincoln asked people with different views to give him advice and tried hard to keep everyone working together.
  • Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, in the place where over 50,000 soldiers died in a terrible battle. The main speaker talked for two hours, while Lincoln spoke ten sentences. It became one of the most famous speeches.
  • Lincoln ran his campaign for reelection in 1864 and won.

Lincoln: Quotes

Lincoln had many important quotes, and it's hard to pick. Here are a few of the most meaningful:

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