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Home > History > Abraham Lincoln Biography in Seven Pages - the Middle Years Part 2

Abraham Lincoln Biography in Seven Pages - the Middle Years Part 2

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

Young Abraham Lincoln

Young Abraham Lincoln

Abe Reveals His Views on Slavery

Abe became an influential force of the Whig party in the Illinois legislature and was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. During this time, the issue of slavery became more and more contentious in Illinois and many other states. In 1837, Lincoln first spoke publicly to the legislature concerning his views on slavery when it passed a set of resolutions against abolitionist (anti-slavery) groups.  Although Illinois was a free state at the time, it had many people who supported slavery, especially in its southern portions.  In addressing the legislature, Abe opposed the resolutions and asserted that he believed slavery was an evil institution. Despite his feelings against slavery, Lincoln admitted he did not think the time was right to free all of the slaves.

Abe Earns his Law License

In 1836, Lincoln endeavored to study law.  Not surprisingly, by the end of 1836, he was admitted to the Illinois state bar and obtained his license to practice.  The next year, he moved to Springfield, where he was already popular with the city's residents for his efforts to get the state capital moved there from Vandalia.  Despite the fact he had become a lawyer, Abe was still in debt, had no money, and had no place to live. Sometime shortly after arriving in Springfield, Abe took up residence in the upstairs room above a store owned by Joshua Speed.  Abe could not afford to pay the price for his own room so Joshua offered to share his room.  Abe, who was carrying all of his possessions in two saddlebags when he inquired about the price for a room, remarked “Well, Speed, I am moved!" after setting his saddlebags on the floor of the room.  Abe and Joshua quickly became inseparable and forged a lifelong friendship.

Joshua Speed

Joshua Speed

The Master Storyteller

Abe soon became a respected lawyer, known for his honesty, wit, oratory and hard work.  In the 1830's, lawyers and lawmakers were expected to travel to circuit courts throughout the state, often times covering great distances.  Abe was assigned to what was called the eighth judicial circuit. As a politician and lawyer, Abe would travel to such courts to explain to the people the meanings of the laws created in the legislatures that were being applied to the local cases.  Abe endeared himself to the people with the anecdotes and stories he used to explain the difficult concepts to people in terms they could understand.  Often times, such educational "sessions" were held in the village tavern or meetinghouse, would include meals, and would last well into the night.  It was at these "sessions" where Abe's legend was born and grew; where his stories, speeches, and explanations became legendary.  Though poor, Abe was beginning to make a name for himself beyond the confines of New Salem or even Springfield.


Next: Middle Years Part 3

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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