A great president of America

Little Abraham wanted to study, but the school was far away, and he had to stay at home to help on thee farm. Hard work made him strong. Soon he could outrun and outwrestle all the other boys of his age. Not only was he physically strong but he was also very witty. So he became leader of all the boys who lived around little Pigeon Creek. Abe never went hunting as other boys and men folk did for he loved animals and would not harm them.

For two happy years Abe and his family lived in their cabin in the woods. But when he was nine a dangerous sickness came to the wildness, and his mother became sick and died. Then the woods seemed gloomy and dark, and the days grew long for Sally, his sister, and Abe.

A year or so later their family went off on a trip, and for many weeks Abe and Sally were left all alone. Then one day, a big wagon, drawn by four horses, stopped in front of the cabin. Out of the wagon jumped their father and a kind, rosy-cheeked woman. She ran over to Abe and Sally and hugged them to her bosom. She had come to be their new mother. The step-mother had come with her three children and all her household goods. She washed and scrubbed the cabin and took charge of the family right away.

`Let Abe have time to read,’ she said when she saw how eager to learn he was. At night, after the others had gone to sleep, she let him lie by the fireplace and study. In the flickering light he practiced writing and reading.

Abe grew tall like a fir tree. Long and thin he was, with big hands and feet. The great Ohio River flowed by some miles from little pigeon Creek, and it was there that he earned his first dollar, rowing people across the river.

One night his boat was attacked by five pirates. He fought them alone, and for the rest of his life he had a white scar over his eyebrow.

As Abe traveled south he saw more and more Negro slaves working in the cotton fields. Some ran about with loads on their heads, others were led in chains through the streets to be sold at slave markets. Abe saw how Negroes were paraded like horses to show that they were strong and healthy. He saw Negro mothers weeping, for they never knew if they would ever see their little babies again. Sometimes a man who bought the mother would refuse to take the children and then they would be sold to someone else the family would be broken up. Abe Lincoln thought that was cruel.

At twenty –one he felt home, for now he was big enough to do as he pleased. Abe went to war as a Caption and defeated the enemies. When he came back to New Salem he opened a store with another young man. Very soon Abe’s friends were saying that he was too clever to stand behind a counter all day long. He should go ground making speeches so that people could elect him to go the capital of Illinois. Abe thought this was a very good idea. So he began making speeches and joking with the people. When he mounted a tree stump he would say, `I am humble Abraham Lincoln’ and the people liked what he said and his funny ways, and they elected him. One day as he was standing in his store, a covered wagon stopped at his door and danger came in with a barrel of old stuff the wanted to sell. Abe did not need the stuff but he bought it for half a dollar to help the man. When he opened the barrel he found at the bottom the book he needed to study law. From then on Abe spent most of the time at the counter studying the book. And the school master helped him with grammar and English.

Then he went to Springfield for further studies. There he walked into the store of Joshua Speed and said, `I have no money, but if I succeed I will pay you back’. Speed took pity on Abe and asked him to share his own bed for nothing. From that time on Joshua Speed was Abe Lincoln’s best friend. Slowly Abe bought himself clothes, put a fashionable hat on his head, and gradually the country lad changed into a well-known lawyer.

Late one evening Lincoln got the message that he had been elected president of the United States. Now he grew a beard. He knew he was not handsome, and he thought a beard might make him look after better. So with his life and his boys Abraham Lincoln traveled to the white House in Washington.

He tried to make friends with the southern states, but the south would not listen to him. So on New Year’s Day in 1863 Lincoln solemnly signed a paper that made the slaves free for ever. It was called the Emancipation Proclamation.

The next day president Lincoln walked into the town, holding little Tad, his son, by the hand. An old /Negro recognized the long thin man with the tall stovepipe hat. `Here is our savior,’ he carried, and threw himself at Lincoln’s feet.


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