Our country has had many presidents, all with their own trials and contributions. Some of them stand out more than others, and our nation’s 16th leader is one of them. It’s been more than 150 years since Lincoln held office, but his legacy continues to be felt today. Here are some facts about Abraham Lincoln for kids to share in the classroom.
Our Favorite Facts About Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born poor.
After Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, his father faced many misfortunes, causing the family to live in poverty in a log cabin.
Abraham Lincoln was a hard worker.
He loved to be outdoors and worked alongside his father, Thomas Lincoln, chopping firewood for neighbors and managing the family farm.
Abraham Lincoln lost his mother when he was a child.
Lincoln’s mother died when he was just 9 years old. Just a year later, his father married Sarah Bush Johnston. Fortunately, he had a very good relationship with his new stepmother.
Abraham Lincoln only received 18 months of formal education.
In all, Abraham Lincoln attended less than two years of school, but he taught himself to read by borrowing books from neighbors.
Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Over 12 years, he appeared in 300 matches. He only lost once!
Abraham Lincoln was a self-taught lawyer.
Just as he taught himself to read, he also taught himself law. Incredibly, he passed the bar exam in 1936 and went on to practice law.
Abraham Lincoln was young when he entered politics.
Lincoln was just 25 years old when he won a seat in the Illinois State Senate in 1834.
Abraham Lincoln married a wealthy woman.
Unlike his humble beginnings, his wife, Mary Todd, was well-educated and came from a large and wealthy, slave-owning Kentucky family.
Abraham Lincoln had four kids.
While Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln welcomed four children—Robert, Tad, Edward, and Willie—only Robert survived to adulthood.
Abraham Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846.
He served a term as a U.S. congressman for a year but was very unpopular during that time because he strongly opposed the Mexican-American War.
Abraham Lincoln loved to tell stories.
A gifted storyteller, people loved to gather around to listen to Lincoln tell tales and jokes.
Abraham Lincoln hated the nickname “Abe.”
This might be one of the most surprising facts about Abraham Lincoln. While our 16th president is often referred to as “Abe” Lincoln, or even “Honest Abe,” the truth is that he hated the moniker. Instead, he preferred to be called “Lincoln,” “Mr. Lincoln,” or “President Lincoln” during his time.
Abraham Lincoln established the Secret Service.
Although the Secret Service wasn’t officially implemented until three months after his passing, Lincoln had the legislation for creating the agency sitting on his desk when he died.
Abraham Lincoln was the tallest of all the U.S. presidents.
Lincoln stood at 6 feet 4 inches tall, which is a full foot taller than James Madison!
Abraham Lincoln loved top hats.
Despite his height, he loved wearing top hats, which made him look even taller!
Abraham Lincoln had a distinct voice.
While many imagine Abraham Lincoln as having a deep, commanding tone, his voice was surprisingly loud and high-pitched (journalist Horace White compared it to the sound of a boatswain’s whistle). When he delivered his stirring speeches, he spoke slowly and deliberately, making it easier for people to listen, understand, and reflect.
Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States in 1860.
While he only received about 40 percent of the popular vote, he clinched 180 of the 303 available Electoral votes. This was mostly due to support in the North since he wasn’t even included on most of the ballots in the South.
Abraham Lincoln was the only U.S. president to hold a patent.
While his invention (No. 6469) was registered as a device for “buoying vessels over shoals” in 1849, it was never actually used on boats or made commercially available.
Abraham Lincoln launched the National Banking System.
While president, Lincoln set up the first National Banking System, leading to the implementation of the standard U.S. currency.
Abraham Lincoln led through the Civil War.
Not long after Lincoln was elected president, the southern states seceded from the Union. The Civil War began with their attack on Fort Sumter in 1861. Lincoln was president for the entirety of the war, which was the deadliest in United States history. His opinion of slavery shifted during the conflict, leading him to pioneer the freedom of the slaves.
Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery.
Lincoln delivered his Emancipation Proclamation speech, which expanded the goal of the American Civil War to include freeing the slaves along with preserving the Union. It came into effect on January 1, 1863, and initially only freed slaves in the rebellious states. The 13th Amendment, which was passed in 1965, after Lincoln’s death, abolished slavery in the United States. Read more about Juneteenth here.
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
After completing his four-year term as president (1861-1865), Lincoln was attending a play at Washington, D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre when he was shot by stage actor John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln died the next day, April 15, 1865.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the four presidents on Mount Rushmore.
The massive sculpture carved into the Black Hills region of South Dakota, which has been protested by Native Americans for years, features the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Abraham Lincoln’s last undisputed descendant died in 1985.
Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, the great-grandson of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln’s only surviving son, Robert, died on Christmas Eve in 1985.
The Lincoln Memorial is in Washington, D.C.
A large temple was erected in President Lincoln’s honor, with a massive statue of Abraham Lincoln seated in the center. The following words are written on the wall behind the statue: “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” His final resting place is the Lincoln Tomb in Illinois.
Abraham Lincoln described himself as “a piece of floating driftwood.”
Throughout his life and even at the height of the Civil War in 1864, Lincoln described himself as “an accidental instrument, temporary, and to serve but for a limited time” or “a piece of floating driftwood.”
What are your favorite facts about Abraham Lincoln? Share in the comments below! Plus, check out these History Facts for Kids.
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