When Abraham Lincoln took office in 1861, several states had left the Union and the nation was on the brink of Civil War. Less than two months later, when southern soldiers fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, President Lincoln was forced to take a stand. He chose to preserve the Union at all costs. Successfully navigating the bitter differences dividing North and South, he guided our country through four of the most critical and bloodiest years of its history.
Elected for a second term in 1865, Lincoln set forth his plan for bringing the seceded states back into the Union stating, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in – to bind up this nation’s wounds….” He was not to see his plans brought to fruition however, for on April 14, 1865, a bullet from an assassin’s gun took the life of one of history’s most beloved men.
The American people mourned for him as they had never mourned before, and millions lined the railroad tracks as his body was brought back to its final resting place in Springfield, Illinois. Today, the Lincoln Memorial stands in Washington, D.C. as a lasting tribute to this great president.