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Lincoln was elected President because the Democratic Party finally divided over the slavery issue. He had to re-unite the new Confederate States of America, but he could only unify the nation through war. Lincoln succeeded, but was then shot by a Confederate sympathizer. His successors, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses S. Grant, each had different opinions about how Reconstruction should be handled, in the gilded age.

Abraham Lincoln

16th President 1861-1865

Title [Gardner portrait of Lincoln.]Contributor Names Gardner, Alexander (Photographer) Created / Published November 15, 1863

Title [Gardner portrait of Lincoln.]Contributor Names Gardner, Alexander (Photographer) Created / Published November 15, 1863

Fast Facts:

  • Born: February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky
  • Died: April 15, 1865 in Washington, D.C.
  • Home: Springfield, Illinois
  • Parents: Thomas (1778-1851) and Nancy Hanks (1784-1818) Lincoln
  • Stepmother: Sarah Bush Johnson (1788-1869) Lincoln
  • Wife: Mary Todd (1818-1882)
  • Marriage: November 4, 1842
  • Children: Robert Todd (1843-1926) and Thomas “Tad” (1853-1871) survived childhood, William Wallace (1850-1862) survived infancy
  • Occupations: Storeowner, Surveyor, postmaster, and lawyer
  • Religion: Episcopalian
  • Political Party: Whig (Until 1856), Republican (After 1856), Union (1864)
  • Political Offices Before Presidency: Member of Illinois Legislator, Member of U.S. House of Representatives
  • Military Service: Served in Volunteer Company in 1832
  • Election Results: 1860: 180 Electoral Votes to 72 for John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, 39 for John Bell of Tennessee, and 12 for Stephen Douglas of Illinois
  • Election Results: 1864: 212 Electoral Votes to 21 for George McClellan of New York
  • Vice Presidents: Hannibal Hamlin of Maine 1861-1865 and Andrew Johnson of Tennessee 1865
  • States Admitted to Union: West Virginia and Nevada

More Facts:

  • Lincoln’s mother died when he was 9 years old
  • Lincoln was the first Republican elected President
  • Lincoln’s son, William, died in the White House
  • Lincoln put many documents and letters in his famous top hat
  • Lincoln was the first President to be assassinated
  • Lincoln’s wife, Mary was committed to an asylum in 1875

Grading: A+

Lincoln is considered to be the greatest President in American History

  • Lincoln led the Nation through a disastrous Civil War and managed to Re-Unite the Union
  • Lincoln also signed the Homestead Act, granting public land in the West to anyone who settled on and took care of 160 acres for 5 years
  • Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, and even former Confederates were shocked by his death
  • Lincoln would be succeeded by weak Presidents under the control of Congress

Lincoln was succeeded by his Vice-President.

Andrew Johnson

17th President 1865-1869

Title: Andrew Johnson   Date Created/Published: c1865.

Title: Andrew Johnson
Date Created/Published: c1865.

Fast Facts:

  • Born: December 29, 1808 in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Died: July 31, 1875 in Carter County, Tennessee
  • Home: Greenville, Tennessee
  • Parents: Jacob (1778-1812) and Mary McDonough (1782-1856) Johnson
  • Wife: Eliza McCardle (1810-1876)
  • Marriage: December 27, 1827
  • Children: Martha (1828-1901), Charles (1830-1863), Mary (1832-1883), Robert (1834-1869), and Andrew Jr. (1852-1879)
  • Occupations: Tailor
  • Religion: None (Christian)
  • Political Party: Democratic, Union (1864)
  • Political Offices Before Presidency: Mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee, Tennessee State Senator and Representative, U.S. Representative, Governor of Tennessee, U.S. Senator, Vice President
  • Military Service: Military Governor of Tennessee
  • Election Results: None
  • Vice President: None
  • States Admitted to Union: Nebraska
  • Amendments to the Constitution: Thirteenth and Fourteenth

More Facts:

  • Johnson’s father died when Johnson was only 4 years old
  • Johnson was the youngest future President to get married (He was 18)
  • Johnson was taught how to read by his wife
  • Both Johnson’s State of Birth and his Home State seceded from the Union, but Johnson remained loyal to the Union, the only Southern Senator to remain in the Senate
  • Johnson was the second Vice President to succeed a President upon his death
  • Johnson was later elected to the Senate again in 1875  

Grading: F

Johnson tried to pass Lincoln’s lenient policy of Reconstruction, but the Radical Senate opposed him and went with its own policy, meaning that Johnson did little as President other than veto bills that later passed

  • Johnson vetoed many bills giving Black slaves rights and tried to readmit Southern states to the Union
  • Johnson purchased Alaska for $7.2 million. This was known as “Seward’s Folly”
  • Johnson was the first President impeached by the Senate, falling one vote short of impeachment. He was impeached for firing his Secretary of War without the Senate’s consent, violating the Tenure of Office Act

Johnson was succeeded by the hero of the Civil War and the interim Secretary of War.

Ulysses S. Grant

18th President 1869-1877

Title: [President Ulysses S. Grant, half-length portrait, seated, facing right]   Date Created/Published: [between 1869 and 1885, printed later]

Title: [President Ulysses S. Grant, half-length portrait, seated, facing right]
Date Created/Published: [between 1869 and 1885, printed later]

Fast Facts:

  • Born: April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio
  • Died: July 23, 1885 in Mount McGregor, New York
  • Home: Ulysses S. Grant House in Galena, Illinois
  • Parents: Jesse Root (1794-1873) and Hannah Simpson (1798-1883)
  • Wife: Julia Boggs Dent (1826-1902)
  • Marriage: August 22, 1848
  • Children: Frederick Dent (1850-1912), Ulysses Simpson Jr. (1852-1929), Ellen Wrenshall (1855-1922), Jesse Root (1858-1934)
  • Occupations: Soldier, Farmer, and Clerk
  • Religion: Methodist
  • Political Party: Republican
  • Political Offices Before Presidency: Interim Secretary of War
  • Military Service: Second Lieutenant in U.S. Army, Captain in U.S. Army, Brigadier General in Union Army, Commander-In-Chief of Union Army, Lieutenant General in U.S. Army
  • Election Results: 1868: 214 Electoral Votes to 80 for Horatio Seymour of New York
  • Election Results: 1872: 286 Electoral Votes to 66 for Various other Candidates; Grant’s opponent, Horace Greeley of New York, died before the election
  • Vice Presidents: Schuyler Colfax of Indiana 1869-1873 and Henry Wilson of Massachusetts 1873-1875, died in office
  • States Admitted to Union: Colorado
  • Amendments to the Constitution: Fifteenth

More Facts:

  • Grant’s birth name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but he later changed it
  • Grant had no true political experience before becoming President
  • Gant held the highest rank in the military since George Washington in 1798
  • Both of Grant’s parents were alive while he became President
  • Grant was the last President to serve two full, consecutive turns until Woodrow Wilson
  • Grant wrote his memoirs days before his death
  • Grant died of throat cancer from smoking cigars

 Grading: D

Grant may have been a great President had he not brought his corrupt Ohio friends to offices in the government

  • Grant faced many scandals involving these friends, one of these scandals was Black Friday, which forced Grant to sell $5 million worth in Gold to prevent Jay Fisk and James Gould from cornering the Gold Market
  • Grant signed the Treaty of Washington, settling the Alabama Crisis with Great Britain and forcing Britain to pay damages for all Confederate ships built in British Ports
  • Grant continued the Radical Reconstruction Policy, giving Blacks more rights and preventing White Southerners and Confederates from voting
  • Grant also resumed Specie and backing money with Gold

Grant was succeeded by a Senator and Civil War Veteran.