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Home > History > Abraham Lincoln Biography in Seven Pages - the Middle Years Part 1

Abraham Lincoln Biography in Seven Pages - the Middle Years Part 1

This page describes the beginning of the middle years in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Young Abraham Lincoln

Young Abraham Lincoln

Illinois Years

In 1830, Abe’s father moved the family to Illinois following fears of another milk sickness outbreak.  After enduring several plagues and one of the worst winters on record, Abe decided to leave his father’s homestead and set off on his own at the age of 22.  Abe's experience, intelligence, and ingenuity would serve him well. His first job required him to steer a flatboat from Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana.  After leading the construction of the flatboat with two other boys, Abe gained notoriety from the residents of New Salem, when he figured out how to float the stuck flatboat over Rutledge's Dam, by drilling a hole in the bottom of the boat. After successfully unloading the goods in New Orleans, Abe took a steamer to St. Louis and walked home the remainder of the way. The owner of the flatboat was so impressed with Abe, he hired him to work as a clerk in his store in New Salem. 

In New Salem, Abe made many friends, mastered grammar,  and gained a reputation as a master story-teller.  In August of 1832, he decided to become a candidate for one of four representatives of Sangamon County in the Illinois Legislature, despite being a resident in the county for only nine months.  His campaign platform centered on improvements to the navigation of the Sangamon River he would initiate.  During this time, however, Lincoln was made captain of a company of men from New Salem to volunteer their service in the Black Hawk War. The company would become the Fourth Illinois Mounted Volunteers. Lincoln himself served for about three months in the frontier of Illinois, but was never engaged in any real combat. When he returned to New Salem, it was election time. By this time, however, there were thirteen candidates, and he finished eighth on the ballot (though over 90% of the residents of New Salem voted for him).  Discouraged, Abe decided to enter a partnership to purchase the store he clerked at on credit.  Thinking that New Salem was an up and coming town, Lincoln believed the purchase would earn him great profits. Unfortunately, his partner abandoned him, subsequent attempts to sell the store were unsuccessful, and Lincoln was saddled with a debt that would take him seventeen years to pay off. 

Abe Enters Politics

On May 7, 1833, Abe was appointed postmaster of New Salem.  As the population of New Salem declined over the next few years, it became too small for a post office and Abe was out of job.  That same year, Lincoln was hired to survey new lands acquired by Sangamon County, despite the fact he had no training as a surveyor.  According to legend, it took Abe only six weeks to learn the trade and from that point on was considered an excellent surveyor.  In 1834, Abe would campaign again for representative in the Illinois state legislature.  Now that he was well-known in a larger portion of Sangamon County, Abe traveled from village to village giving speeches, attending shooting matches, horse races and other community events.  Again, there were thirteen candidates, but this time Abe won.

Next: Abraham Lincoln Middle Years Part 2

Abraham Lincoln Articles

Abraham Lincoln Reading Comprehension (Grades 5 and up). These Include Between 7-10 Critical-Thought, Multiple Choice Qustions. Online Versions Give Immediate Feedback and Score Reports

Abraham Lincoln Activities

  • Important Places in the Life of Abraham Lincoln Interactive Map - This interactive map allows students to explore the important places in Abraham Lincoln's life such as New Salem, Springfield, New York City, and many others.
  • Mr. Polk's War - This captivating printable requires students to understand the concept of manifest destiny and to conduct a mock interview in which they answer tough questions in the role of Abraham Lincoln (against the Mexican-American War) and in the role of President James K. Polk (in support of the war).
  • Futility Versus Immortality - This activity requires students to analyze the qualities of poor leaders such as Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan and contrast them with a leader such as Abraham Lincoln.
  • I'll Always Remember Where I Was - This historical prompts requires students to imagine the earth-shaking effect the news of the Emancipation Proclamation had on Americans in 1862. In the spirit of the Emancipation Proclamation, students must write about the biggest news event of their lives and describe its impact.
  • The Power of Dreams - This printout describes Abraham Lincoln's famous dream about his own assassination and then requires students to describe and draw a scene from a powerful dream they've had.
  • Oh Captain! My Captain! - This printout describes Walt Whitman's famous Oh Captain! My Captain! elegy to President Lincoln and then asks students to think of their own hero and to write a similar poem.
  • Primary Source Analysis - Lincoln's Letter to Fanny McCollough This printable activity requires students to analyze a famous condolence letter written by Abraham Lincoln to a teenage girl after her father was killed in the Civil War.
  • With Malice for None, With Charity for All Decoding Puzzle - This activity requires students to decode and interpret the famous presidential quote uttered by Abraham Lincoln.
  • Dr. Samuel Mudd - Critical Thought Questions The printable narrative that describes the role Dr. Mudd played after Lincoln's assassination. It includes three short-answer questions regarding the main ideas of the article content, critical thought about the content, and vocabulary from the passage.
  • Ms. Laura Keene - Critical Thought Questions This printable narrative that describes the role Ms. Laura Keene played after Lincoln's assassination. It includes three short-answer questions regarding the main ideas of the article content, critical thought about the content, and vocabulary from the passage.
  • The Execution of Mary Surratt - Critical Thought Questions - This printable narrative describes the circumstances in the Mary Surratt execution . It includes four short-answer questions regarding the main ideas of the article content, critical thought about the content, and vocabulary from the passage.
  • Abraham Lincoln Paragraph Paramedics - Find and correct the spelling, punctuation, and usage errors in the paragraph. Click on the error and then type in the correction. Immediate feedback is given.
  • Presidential Quotes - This activity first requires students to match the famous quote with the president. Next, students must choose their favorite quote and attempt to explain it in detail.
  • Presidential Heights - Did you know James Madison was the shortest president? Did you know Abraham Lincoln was the tallest president? This fun math activity requires students to answer questions about the heights of presidents by viewing the bar graph and making conversions from feet to inches and inches to feet.
  • Printable Presidents Word Search
  • - All 45 are in there!
  • Illinois State Quarter (Featuring Lincoln) Coloring
  • Lincoln Memorial Coloring
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site Video

Online Games Involving Lincoln

  • Presidential Mismatch - Students must rearrange the presidential chart so that the presidents are in the correct order in which they served. The number of presidents used in the game is customizable. The timer allows for friendly competitions. Students who enjoy history will love this game!
  • Currency Mismatch - This is a wildly fun game that requires students to drag and drop the correct presidential faces to their correct dollar bills. The game is timed and makes for awesome friendly competitions within a classroom.
  • Glamour Legends - This fun game allows students to dress up George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Tubman, or Christopher Columbus in more modern, or more primitive clothes.
  • Presidents Word Search - This is an online word search with the 45 presidents. Choose with or without a timer.

United States Presidents

 1. George Washington  16. Abraham Lincoln  32. Franklin D. Roosevelt
 2. John Adams  17. Andrew Johnson  33. Harry S. Truman
 3. Thomas Jefferson  18. Ulysses S. Grant  34. Dwight D. Eisenhower 
 4. James Madison  19. Rutherford B. Hayes  35. John F. Kennedy
 5. James Monroe  20. James A. Garfield  36. Lyndon B. Johnson
 6. John Quincy Adams  21. Chester A. Arthur  37. Richard Nixon
 7. Andrew Jackson  22/24. Grover Cleveland  38. Gerald R. Ford
 8. Martin Van Buren  23. Benjamin Harrison  39. Jimmy Carter
 9. William Henry Harrison  25. William McKinley  40. Ronald Reagan
10. John Tyler  26. Theodore Roosevelt  41. George H.W. Bush
11. James K. Polk  27. William Howard Taft  42. Bill Clinton
12. Zachary Taylor  28. Woodrow Wilson  43. George W. Bush
13. Millard Fillmore  29. Warren G. Harding  44. Barack Obama
14. Franklin Pierce  30. Calvin Coolidge  45. Donald J. Trump
15. James Buchanan  31. Herbert Hoover  


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