You may recall that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States (thanks history class), but what he’s largely respected and remembered for is his remarkable work during the Civil Rights Movement. Lincoln was in office during the Civil War when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free all slaves in the Confederacy. He also ordered the army to treat those still enslaved in the Union as they would any other free man.
Lincoln fought for equality for all people, which resulted in the civil rights we enjoy today. Speaking of today (Feb. 12)... did you know Abe would have turned 204? Crazy, right? Here are 7 more facts you (probably) didn’t know about Abe Lincoln:
- President Lincoln gave his first inaugural address (modern writers/historians believe it to be one of the finest ever given) while the U.S. Capitol Building Dome was being renovated in 1860. The site had construction cranes and scaffolding still in place.
- As a child, Lincoln refused to hunt with his father because he was averse to killing animals. He was mocked and bullied by other boys his age because of it.
- Lincoln was looked down upon for being the leader of the “Black Republicans”, which was a group that supported blacks’ rights in the south. In fact, people created Effigy dolls (aka Voodoo dolls) of him and would throw them into bonfires as a symbol of their distaste for his political and personal worldview.
- He took out loans to open a retail store, but the business did so poorly that he ended up in $1,000 of debt (equivalent to about $13,000 today). It took Abe 17 years, but he paid back every penny of the money he owed.
- Lincoln was the first major leader in the U.S. to believe women should have equal rights as men. It wasn’t until 1920 (56 years after his death) that women won the right to vote in the states.
- Many know that Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth shortly after being re-elected for a second term. What they don’t know is that Booth’s motivation for killing him was to help the south. Unfortunately, Booth’s actions were in vain, because Abraham was the biggest advocate for freedom and unity in the south.
- Lincoln was the first American president with a beard. #trendsetter