How Much Do You Know About Abraham Lincoln?



9 Questions

What was Lincoln's party affiliation when he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives?

What was the Wilmot Proviso?

What was the purpose of Lincoln's Spot Resolutions?

What was the purpose of Lincoln's Cooper Union speech in 1860?

What was the purpose of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation?

What was the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?

What was the purpose of Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill?

What was Lincoln's experience with Native Americans?

What was the purpose of Lincoln's Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, 1863?


Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States, serving from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. He led the Union during the American Civil War to defend the nation as a constitutional union and succeeded in abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy. Born into poverty in a log cabin in Kentucky, Lincoln was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, and U.S. Congressman from Illinois. He was angered by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which opened the territories to slavery, and re-entered politics, becoming a leader of the new Republican Party. He mobilized forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union after the Confederate States attacked Fort Sumter. Lincoln was a moderate Republican who had to navigate a contentious array of factions with friends and opponents from both Democratic and Republican parties. He managed the factions by exploiting their mutual enmity, carefully distributing political patronage, and appealing to the American people. Lincoln closely supervised the strategy and tactics in the war effort, including the selection of generals, and implemented a naval blockade of the South's trade. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared the slaves in the states "in rebellion" to be free. He also promoted the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, except as punishment for a crime. Lincoln managed his own successful re-election campaign and sought to heal the war-torn nation through reconciliation. He was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, just five days after the war's end at Appomattox. Lincoln is remembered as a martyr and a national hero for his wartime leadership and for his efforts to preserve the Union and abolish slavery.Abraham Lincoln's Early Life and Political Career

  • Lincoln began practicing law in Springfield, Illinois, in partnership with William Herndon.
  • As a member of the Whig party, Lincoln supported economic modernization in banking, tariffs to fund internal improvements, and urbanization.
  • Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1846 and served on the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads and the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department.
  • Lincoln supported the Wilmot Proviso, a failed proposal to ban slavery in any U.S. territory won from Mexico.
  • In his Spot Resolutions, Lincoln demanded that President James K. Polk show Congress the exact spot on which blood had been shed and prove that it was on American soil, which cost him political support in his district.
  • Lincoln served as a prairie lawyer, handling a variety of cases, including transportation cases in the midst of the nation's western expansion.
  • Lincoln argued in an 1858 criminal trial, defending William "Duff" Armstrong, who was on trial for the murder of James Preston Metzker, and used a fact established by judicial notice to challenge the credibility of an eyewitness.
  • Lincoln sought election to the United States Senate in 1858 but was unable to obtain a majority, instructing his backers to vote for Lyman Trumbull instead.
  • Lincoln joined the newly formed Republican Party in 1854 and opposed slavery, but initially resisted early Republican entreaties, fearing that the party would become a platform for extreme abolitionists.
  • Lincoln won the nomination for the Illinois Senate seat in 1858 and engaged in a series of debates with incumbent Stephen A. Douglas, becoming a leading Republican in Illinois.
  • Lincoln purchased the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, a German-language newspaper, in 1859, which mobilized Republican support from the state's 130,000 German Americans.
  • In his Cooper Union speech in 1860, Lincoln argued that the Founding Fathers of the United States had little use for popular sovereignty and had repeatedly sought to restrict slavery, demonstrating intellectual leadership and bringing him into contention for the presidency.
  • Despite overwhelming support in the Midwest, Lincoln was less appreciated in the East, and his compromising position on slavery and reluctance to challenge the court's Dred-Scott ruling were used against him by his political rivals.Abraham Lincoln's early life, political career, and presidency can be summarized as follows:

Early Life and Political Career

  • Lincoln gave a speech in 1854 denouncing the Kansas-Nebraska Act and slavery expansion, which gained him national attention.
  • In 1858, he engaged in a series of debates with Stephen A. Douglas, which helped him gain support for the presidency.
  • Lincoln won the Republican nomination for president in 1860, beating out William Seward and Salmon P. Chase.
  • His campaign team used effective imaging, presenting him as the "Rail Candidate" and "Honest Abe".
  • Lincoln won the presidency with 39.8% of the popular vote, carried the free Northern states, and won in the Electoral College with 180 votes.


  • The South seceded from the Union before Lincoln's inauguration, and he called on states to send 75,000 troops to recapture forts and protect Washington.

  • Lincoln expanded his war powers, imposed a blockade on Confederate ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, suspended habeas corpus, and arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers.

  • Lincoln embraced two priorities in his war strategy: ensuring that Washington was well-defended and conducting an aggressive war effort for a prompt, decisive victory.

  • General George B. McClellan was appointed general-in-chief but took months to plan his Virginia Peninsula Campaign, frustrating Lincoln.

  • Lincoln valued the advice of Gen. Winfield Scott and consulted with him for five hours regarding the handling of the Civil War and the staffing of the War Department.Summary Title: Abraham Lincoln's Presidency and Legacy

  • Lincoln removed McClellan from command in 1862 for inaction and elevated Henry Halleck and appointed John Pope as head of the new Army of Virginia.

  • Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan, Lincoln restored him to command of all forces around Washington, leading to the Battle of Antietam, which facilitated Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in January.

  • Lincoln replaced Buell with William Rosecrans and McClellan with Ambrose Burnside after the 1862 midterm elections, which the Republicans suffered severe losses.

  • Lincoln was optimistic about upcoming military campaigns in 1863, including attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston.

  • Lincoln promoted Grant to supreme commander, fearing he might be considering a presidential candidacy in 1864.

  • Lincoln ran for re-election in 1864, while uniting the main Republican factions and War Democrats Edwin M. Stanton and Andrew Johnson.

  • Reconstruction preceded the war's end, and Lincoln led the moderates in Reconstruction policy and was opposed by the Radicals.

  • Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held, and his Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, 1863, offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office.

  • Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the nation with a constitutional amendment, and the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865.

  • Lincoln signed Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate needs of former slaves.

  • Lincoln's experience with Native Americans started early with their killing of his grandfather in front of the family.

  • Lincoln's legacy includes his Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address, and leadership during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

  • Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, shocked and saddened the nation.


Test your knowledge of one of America's most iconic presidents with our Abraham Lincoln quiz. From his humble beginnings to his presidency and legacy, this quiz covers it all. Challenge yourself with questions on Lincoln's early life, political career, and presidency. See how much you know about Lincoln's leadership during the Civil War, his decision to emancipate the slaves, and his impact on Reconstruction. Take the quiz now and see if you can earn the title of Lincoln expert!

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