Abraham Lincoln Timeline, 1809-1858


Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Brief Abraham Lincoln Timeline (1809-1858)


February 12, 1809: Lincoln born in Kentucky. (Born the same year as Karl Marx)

1816: The Lincolns moved to Indiana.

1818: Lincoln’s mother died.

1828: His sister Sarah died during child birth.

1830: The Lincolns moved to Illinois.

July 1831: Lincoln moved to New Salem, calling himself a “piece of floating driftwood.” [quoted in Gienapp, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 11].

Circa early 1830s, wrote the New Salem Handbook of Infidelity; embraced the Utilitarian notion of the “Doctrine of Necessity” 

1832: Lincoln ran for the state legislature.  His platform:

  • Internal improvements
  • Educational opportunities
  • A law against excessive interest rates (usury)

1832: First elected office was as captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk War.

1833: Lincoln and a friend bought—on debt—a store; but it failed because his partner drank away all the money; also became postmaster of the village.

1834:  Lincoln elected to state legislature.

1835: Lincoln engaged to Ann Rutledge, the true love of his life; Ann died of Typhoid fever in the autumn of the same year.

1836: reelected to the Illinois State House.  There, he was most famous for getting the capitol moved from Vandalia to Springfield.  But, he also, importantly, served as the Whig Floor Leader and the chairman of the finance committee (even though in the minority party).  Also fought successfully for: 1) the State Bank; and 2) internal improvements, especially canals.

September 9, 1836: Lincoln received his license to practice Law.  New Salem had faded, and he moved to Springfield on April 15, 1837.  There, he had three serial law partners, finally settling with William Herndon in December 1844.

November 4, 1842: Lincoln married Mary Todd; together, they had four sons.

1847-1848: Served one term in the U.S. Congress as a Whig.

1856: Lincoln involved in the official founding of the Illinois Republican Party; gave a speech often remembered (though unrecorded!) as one of his finest.

1858: Debated with Douglas.

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