Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky in 1809 and was largely self-educated. As his family moved to Indiana and then Illinois, he worked as a hired hand, clerk, and surveyor until, in his twenties, he began to study law. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1834. After marrying Mary Todd, Lincoln set up his own law practice and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1846. As a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 1858, he debated Senator Stephen A. Douglas across the state and became a national figure. Nominated for president by the Republican Party, Lincoln was elected in November 1860 and took office in March 1861. Commander in chief of the Union forces during the Civil War, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Reelected in 1864, Abraham Lincoln was shot to death by an embittered Southern actor, John Wilkes Booth, in April 1865, five days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Allen C. Guelzo is Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of A Very Short Introduction: Lincoln, as well as two winners of the Lincoln Prize: Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America and Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President.
Richard Beeman, the John Welsh Centennial Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania, has previously served as the Chair of the Department of History, Associate Dean in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences, and Dean of the College of Arts of Sciences. He serves as a trustee of the National Constitution Center and on the center's executive committee. Author of seven previous books, among them The Penguin Guide to the United States Constitution and Plain Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution, Professor Beeman has received numerous grants and awards including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Huntington Library. His biography of Patrick Henry was a finalist for the National Book Award.show more