Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincolns Birthday

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States. Upon his election to office in 1860 the long simmering differences between the north and the south over the issue of slavery quickly turned into an open conflict. Even before Lincoln was sworn into office, state legislatures in the south began to pass legislation calling for secession from the Union.

On April 12, 1861 with the firing on Ft. Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina President Lincoln issued an executive order to the states to call out their volunteer militias t0 put down this rebellion. This caused the last holdovers in the south to choose sides and many chose to defend their home states against this "aggression" from the North.

Most famously U.S. Army Col. Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who had been offered command of the Federal forces, assumed command of the Northern Army of Virginia in 1862 and fought for the Confederate States of America. His divided loyalties was just one example of many and a bloody civil war of brother against brother ensued. The American Civil War, or the War between the States, lasted for four years and the fighting cost the lives of over 600,000 Americans on the battlefield.

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