Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin on February 12, 1809 in rural Hardin (now Larue) County, Kentucky, the son of an illiterate carpenter and farmer. Young Lincoln received little formal schooling and was largely self-taught. The family moved to Indiana and later to Illinois.
In 1832, he led a militia contingent in the Black Hawk War, but saw no action. Back in New Salem, Lincoln worked as a surveyor and rail-splitter and began the study of law.
In 1860, Lincoln was nominated for president by the Republican Party on a platform of restricting slavery. As a result of Lincoln winning the election, South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, followed in 1861 by 10 other southern states. The first shots of the Civil War were then fired on April 12, 1861.
Lincoln was re-elected in 1864 and fatally shot on April 14, 1865 in Washington D.C. Lincoln died the next day. He is buried in Springfield at the historic Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.