SPRINGFIELD - Born February 12, 1809 in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln's family moved 10 miles west of Decatur, in Macon County, Illinois, another free, non-slave state in 1830. Canoeing down the Sangamon River, Lincoln ended up in the village of New Salem in Sangamon County. In the spring of 1831, hired by a New Salem businessman Denton Offutt and accompanied by friends, he took goods by flatboat from New Salem to New Orleans via the Sangamon, Illinois, and Mississippi rivers.
After arriving in New Orleans—and witnessing slavery firsthand—he walked back home. moved to New Salem, Illinois in 1835. He was admitted to the bar in 1836, he moved to Springfield, Illinois, and began to practice law under John T. Stuart, Mary Todd's cousin. Six years later, Lincoln married Mary Todd Lincoln on November 04, 1842.
He first ran for the Illinois General Assembly in 1832 at age 23, but didn't win a seat until 1834, where he served four successive terms.
In 1846, Lincoln was elected to the U.S. Congress, and returned to Springfield to practice law after fulfilling his promise to serve just one term in D.C.
Twelve years later, the Illinois Republican Party nominated Lincoln to be their candidate for U.S. Senate to run against incumbent Stephen Douglas. Lincoln's challenge failed in the 1858 bid for Senate, but two years later he was nominated to be the Republican Party's presidential candidate. Lincoln won election that fall to be the U.S. 16th president and moved to the White House.
Overseeing a Union at tragic war between the North and the South over the issue of slavery and state's rights, Lincoln signed into law the Emancipation Proclamation September 22, 1862. Put into effect on January 1, 1863, the proclamation freed the slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas already under Union control in two states.
In 1864, he was re-elected to the Presidency after the Southern Confederacy surrendered to the Union. Then six months later, at age 56, Lincoln was assassinated while in a Washington DC theatre.
His body was returned to Springfield Illinois after a time of national mourning.