On this date in 1809 Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. Although largely self-taught, Lincoln became a lawyer, legislator and Representative from the state of Illinois. In 1860 he was elected as the first Republican President of the United States.
Viewed as a strident abolitionist, his election led to a declaration of secession first by the state of South Carolina and then by several other southern slave states. This was the beginning of a bitter four year long civil war.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in Fords theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865 by John Wilkes Booth a famous stage actor and southern sympathizer. This was just five days after the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. He died the next day as a result of his wounds.