The Land of Lincoln
by Brian Foden
America's 16th president was a strong leader with a firm devotion to ending slavery.
There is no doubt that Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents the United States has ever seen. How great was he? In surveys conducted among historians and academics and in public opinion polls, Lincoln is consistently ranked as one of the top three presidents of all time, along with George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Born in a log cabin in rural Kentucky in 1809, Lincoln was raised in a family that suffered from poverty. In his childhood, Lincoln's family moved many times, and most of his education came from books of interest to him that he read by candlelight at night. During his adulthood, Lincoln worked many different jobs, including a storekeeper, surveyor, and postmaster, in addition to having a storied political career.
Lincoln was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 1834, and by reading various law books on his own, he succeeded in becoming a lawyer in 1836. Four years after marrying Mary Todd in 1842, Lincoln was elected to the US House of Representatives, but he was unsuccessful in his two bids to become a senator in the 1850s. Honest Abe, as he became known, was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate in 1860, and he became the 16th president of the United States in March 1861.
Lincoln's presidency proved to be a tumultuous one. His staunch opposition to the expansion of slavery prompted 11 southern states to secede and form the Confederacy. They then established their own government headed by Jefferson Davis. Tensions between the North and South escalated, culminating in the Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865. While Lincoln finally got to see peace restored to the country he led, he was assassinated just five days after the Confederacy surrendered.
美国第 16 任总统是一位坚定献身于终结奴隶制度的强悍领导者。
毫无疑问，亚伯拉罕．林肯是美国有史以来最伟大的总统之一。他有多么伟大呢？在针对历史学家、学者和一般民众进行的民意调查中，林肯一直是名列美国历史前 3 名的总统，其他上榜的还有乔治．华盛顿和富兰克林．D．罗斯福。
林肯于 1809 年出生在肯塔基州乡村的一间小木屋里，他成长于饱受贫困之苦的家庭。在林肯的童年时代，他的家人搬了许多次家，而他所受的教育大部分是来自在夜晚烛光下阅读他有兴趣的书籍。在他成年时，林肯从事过许多不同的工作，除了一个传奇的政治生涯外，还包括商店店主、测量师和邮政局长。
林肯在 1834 年当选了伊利诺伊州议会议员，并靠着自学阅读各种法律书籍，成功地在 1836 年成为律师。在他与玛丽．托德于 1842 年结婚后 4 年，林肯当选众议院议员，但他在 1850 年代两次参选参议院议员都以失败告终。在他以『诚实的埃布尔』打出名号后，他在 1860 年被提名为共和党总统候选人，并在 1861 年 3 月成为美国第 16 任总统。
事实证明林肯的总统任期是动荡不安的时期。他坚决反对扩张奴隶制度，这促使 11 个南方州脱离中央而组成南方联盟。之后该联盟自行建立了以杰佛逊．戴维斯为首的政府。南方和北方之间的紧张局势不断扩大，最终爆发了南北战争，该战争从 1861 年持续到 1865 年。而当林肯终于得以见到他所领导的国家恢复和平时，他就在南方联盟投降的 5 天后遭到暗杀。