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Abraham Lincoln and Antebellum America: Society and Politics

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Introduction Part 1
Introduction Part 2

Abraham Lincoln's remarkable life sheds significant light upon a broad spectrum of American history in the decades preceding the Civil War. Like so many other American families, the Lincolns pushed westward in search of enhanced opportunities and a better life.

Source: Harper's Weekly


Lincoln was born on a farm in central Kentucky in 1809. His father Thomas Lincoln moved his family of four west and north to southern Indiana in 1816. Life on the western frontier provided families like the Lincolns with the autonomy of land ownership, but conditions remained severe on the family farm near Pigeon Creek.

Source: Harper's Weekly


Upon first arriving in the forested wilderness of Indiana, the Lincolns lived in a crude shelter enclosed on three sides, with a dirt floor. With the help of other new settlers, Thomas Lincoln constructed a log cabin for greater protection from the elements. Nevertheless, the cold wind swept through the drafty cabin all winter long. Lincoln later recalled that wild animals presented frequent hazards to the family's livestock and filled the night air with their fearsome cries.

Source: Harper's Weekly