The life of Abraham Lincoln is probably more familiar to us than that of any other American, but every youngster will be stirred anew by Miss Baker's story of that great and humane man.
Young Abe and his sister Sally had a rough time in their dirt-floored cabin in Indiana, where their mother had died not long after their move from Kentucky. But then their father brought home a new wife. Their stepmother cleaned and comforted them and sent them off to the "blab" school where everyone studied aloud and where young Abe got his first taste for learning. In the evenings he used to study by the firelight and he worked three days to earn his first book—a damaged copy of a biography of Washington.
At seventeen Abe was well over six feet tall and a great wrestler. It was then he first became interested in the law after being brought into court for running a ferry without a license. But it was only after a good many busy years—during which he went to New Orleans and was revolted at the first slave auction he had ever seen, fought in the Black Hawk War, and served in the Illinois Legislature—that he finally turned to the study of law. After his admission to the bar he went to the state capital at Springfield where he attracted considerable attention. There he met and married Mary Todd.
A few years later Abe ran for U.S. Senator against Stephen A. Douglas, his old rival for Mary Todd's hand, and took part in the historic Lincoln-Douglas debates on slavery. Abe was defeated in that election but two years later he was elected President and went on to Washington to take his country through the perilous and trying years of the Civil War.
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