Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

by Dennis Boggs

Sponsored by Noble Energy, Inc.

From the time that Abraham Lincoln first learned to read, his thirst for knowledge was never ending. He once said, “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read yet.” He also told a friend, “My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.” Lincoln was well aware that to get ahead in life, one needed all the knowledge one could get, and with that in mind, he immersed himself into the written word.

Lincoln was self-taught in every aspect of his life. He grewfrom a backwoods farm-boy to a well-read man of the world, even though he had been exposed to very little formal education.At age 21, Lincoln left his family and very seldom looked back. He moved to New Salem, Illinois in 1831,starting a journey that would take him to places beyond his dreams.As his world grew, so did he. He started a business, enlisted in the militia, became involved in politics, and began to study law.

On April 15, 1837, at the age of 28, Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois. Little did he know that this would exactly mark the halfway point of his life. Notably it was the second half of Lincoln’s life that would play a significant role in shaping our nation’s history forever. He became a husband, a father, a congressman, and a friend to almost everyone he met.In 1860, he was elected the 16th President of the United States, at a time when the country was being torn apart.

Less than a month after Lincoln was elected President, the state of South Carolina seceded from the Union, and the nation was plunged into four long years of bloody battles, which would come to be known as the American Civil War. It was a war that would affect almost every family in America.

Like the7th President, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln believed that the Union was perpetual and could never be dissolved. He also believed in the truths written in the Declaration of Independence, ‘that all men are created equal.’ Lincoln knew that if we were going to survive as a nation, we needed to show the rest of the world that we were willing to do whatever it took to live up to that truth. Thus, upon his shoulders not only rested the future of thenation, but as Lincoln saw it, the future of all mankind.

Throughout the years of tremendous bloodshed, Lincoln never once lost faith in the spirit of America. For what kept him going was not ‘what America was’ or ‘what America had been,’ but it was rather what he knew ‘America could be.’He was always willing to die for this belief, which came to passwhen Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, leaving a nation filled with grief and sorrow.

Recommended Reading

Richard W. Etulain. Lincoln Looks West from the Mississippi to the Pacific.Southern Illinois University Press, 2010.

Allen C. Guelzo. Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. Simon & Schuster,2006.

Harry V. Jaffa. A New Birth of Freedom:Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War.Rowman& Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Howard Jones. Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom: The Union and Slavery in the Diplomacy of the Civil War.University of Nebraska Press,2002.

Karen Judson. Abraham Lincoln: This Nation Shall Have a New Birth of Freedom. Enslow Publishers, Incorporated,2008.

John C. Rodigue.Lincoln and Reconstruction.Southern Illinois University Press, 2013.


Dennis Boggs

Dennis Boggs travels throughout the nation bringing Abraham Lincoln’s story to life for audiences of all ages. With his extensive theatrical background, Mr. Boggs was first introduced to playing the role of President Lincoln for a production group in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Afterwards, he felt a deep need for continued research and study of this historical figure. After reading countless books and papers, he gained an even deeper passion for portraying the 16th President. For 15 years, he has made a career of presenting “Meet Mr. Lincoln”Mr. Boggs travels from coast to coast portraying President Lincoln for schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums, Chautauqua programs, national reenactments, civic groups, fund raisers, as well as many other special events.

His credits include documentaries for the History Channel, Being Lincoln and Looking forLincoln, as well as being featured on several PBS programming stations. He has appeared on the stage of the world famous Grand Ole Opry and has also presented many programs for the National Park Services, including The Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, The Cumberland Gap Park, The Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum, The Vicksburg National Park, and the Andersonville National Historic Site.He has presented programs for the Washington, D.C. Historical Society and was also awarded first place in The National Abraham Lincoln Look Alike & Oratorical Competition. He has even had the honor and privilege of presenting President Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Dennis and his wife Molly live in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. More information on Dennis Boggs can be found atwww.meetmrlincoln.com.



“We must all lay aside our prejudices and march shoulder to shoulder in this great army of freedom.”  

“I believe that each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it does not interfere with many other man’s rights.”  

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.”  

“In giving freedom to the slave, we insure freedom to the free, honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We will nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.”  

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say for one that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.”

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

“Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.”



1809        Born in Hardin County, Kentucky.

1816        Lincoln family moves to Spencer County, Indiana.

1818        Lincoln’s mother (Nancy Hanks Lincoln) dies of milk sickness.

1819        Thomas Lincoln marries Sarah Bush Johnston, who becomes Abe’s stepmother.

1828        Abe’s sister (Sarah Lincoln Grigsby) dies giving childbirth.

1828        Abe takes first flatboat excursion to New Orleans, where he witnesses his first slave auction.

1830        Lincoln family leaves Indiana and moves to Illinois.

1831        Abe makes his second flatboat trip to New Orleans. Upon return, moves out to live on his own inNew Salem, Illinois.

1832        Abe is acandidate for Illinois General Assembly, but later loses election.
                Enlists in the Black Hawk Indian War.

1834        Elected to the Illinois General Assembly (and would serve two more terms); begins to study law.

1837        Moves to Springfield, Illinois and becomes established as law partner of John T. Stuart.

1842        Marries Mary Todd and purchases a home in Springfield, Illinois.

1843        August 1, first child is born, Robert Todd Lincoln.

1846        Second child is born, Edward (“Eddie”) Baker Lincoln.  Nominated to be the Whig candidate for U.S. Congress. Elected to the House of Representatives.

1849        Leaves politics and returns to Springfield, Illinois to practice law.

1850        Second son, Edward Baker Lincoln dies.  Earns the nickname “Honest Abe.”  Third child is born, William (“Willie”) Wallace Lincoln.

1853        Fourth (and last) child is born, Thomas (“Tad”) Lincoln.

1854        Reenters politics opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

1856        Assists in organizing the new Republican Party of Illinois.

1858        Nominated to be Republican Senator from Illinois, against Democratic Candidate, Stephen Arnold Douglass; gives “House Divided” speech and engages Douglass in seven debates inthe following months, but fails to win the election.

1860        Elected 16th President of the United States, the first Republican to hold that position.  South Carolina claims that it has seceded from the Union and followed by 10 other southern states and forming what they called the Confederate States of America.

1861        Leaves Springfield, Illinois for Washington, D.C.  Delivers his First Inaugural Address.  Confederate artillery opens fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, marking the startof the American Civil War.

1862        Third son, William Wallace Lincoln dies at age 11.
Signs an act that would abolish slavery in the District of Columbia.
Issues a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation – the beginning of freeing the slaves.

1863        Issues the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation allowing the freedom of all slaves in territories held by Confederates.  Confederate defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg, marking the turning point of the war.  Lincoln delivers his Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the battlefield as a National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

1864       Appoints Ulysses S. Grant as General-in-Chief of the Federal Armies.  Nominated for a second term as President.  Reelected as President of the United States.

1865       Delivers his Second Inaugural Address.  General Robert E. Lee surrenders his army to General Ulysses S. Grant at AppomattoxCourt House Virginia.  As he attends the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater with his wife, Mary, around 10:30 p.m. in the third act, John Wilkes Booth shoots the President in the head and escapes. President Lincoln is taken across the street to a small boarding house and never regains consciousness.  April 15, President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 a.m.