Teaching with Lincoln

Lincoln's Professional Life Timeline

1832 1834 1849 1858 1860 1861 1862 1863 1865
Served in Blackhawk War Began Serving
in Illinois
House of Representatives
Received
Patent
Lincoln-Douglas
Debates
Elected
President
Inauguration Emancipation Proclamation Gettysburg
Address
Inauguration
&
Assassination
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1832 - Served in Blackhawk War

Lincoln joined a volunteer company at the outbreak of the Blackhawk War. He was elected Captain of the Volunteers, this could be said to be Lincoln's first campaign and election. He served three months but did not participate in any battles. Lincoln described his experience as a Captain in the Blackhawk War as "a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since."

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Library of Congress Primary Sources

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1834 »

1834 - Began serving in Illinois House of Representatives

After an unsuccessful run in 1832, Lincoln was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1834. He received the highest amount of votes cast for any candidate. He served in the Illinois Legislature until 1840 serving four terms.

Resources for Teachers

  • Lincoln's Congressional Career History activities from the Collection Connection for American Memories Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress 

Resources for Students

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Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1832 | 1849 »

1849 - Received Patent

Lincoln is the only president to receive a patent. His invention consisted of a buoyant system to allow boats and vessels to pass over shallow waters or bars. His patent was granted on May 22, 1849.

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Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1834 | 1858 »

1858 - Lincoln Douglas Debates

Lincoln participated in seven debates across the state of Illinois with Stephen Douglas campaigning for one of the Illinois State Senate seats. The debates started in Ottawa, Illinois on August 21, 1858 and proceeded to Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston, Galesburg, Quincy and ended in Alton, Illinois on October 15, 1858.

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Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1849 | 1860 »

1860 - Elected President

Lincoln was elected President of the United States on November 6, 1860. His opponents were Stephen Douglas, John Breckinridge and John Bell.

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Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1858 | 1861 »

1861 - Inauguration

President Lincoln's inauguration took place on March 4, 1861. South Carolina and Georgia had already succeeded from the Union and the Civil War seemed inevitable. President Lincoln ended his inauguration speech by asking the South "Shall it be peace or sword?"

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Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1860 | 1862 »

1862 - Emancipation Proclamation

Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation which was his executive order to free slaves of everyone who is in rebellion against the government. President Lincoln would sign the final draft on January 1, 1863.

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Resources for Students

Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1861 | 1863 »

1863 - Gettysburg Address

On November 9, 1863 President Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address. He spoke for less than three minutes in length but became Lincoln's most famous speech.

Resources for Teachers

  • Gettysburg Address  Web Guide Primary Documents in American History
  • Abraham Lincoln  Resource Guide 
  • The Gettysburg Address Library of Congress exhibition that includes drafts of the Gettysburg Address, Lincoln's invitation to Gettysburg and the only known photograph of President Lincoln at Gettysburg.
  • Myth and Truth: The Gettysburg Address A lesson plan from Read Write Think that asks students to think critically about common believed "facts" about this important speech.
  • The Gettysburg Address: Defining the American Union From the Edsitement website, this lesson plan examines the most famous speech in American history to understand how Lincoln turned a perfunctory euolgy at a cemetery dedication into a concise and profound meditation on the meaning of the Civil War and American Union.
  • Preppy Prepositions A language arts lesson plan analyzing the Gettysburg Address submitted to CREATE for Mississippi.
  • Engaging Students in a Collaborative Exploration of the Gettysburg Address This lesson plan from Read, Write, Think, invites groups of students to learn more about the historical significance of President Abraham Lincoln's famous speech as well as the time period and people involved. 

Resources for Students

Library of Congress Primary Sources

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« 1862 | 1865 »

1865 - Inauguration & Assassination

The Civil War was at an end when President Lincoln's second inauguration took place on March 4, 1865.

At Ford's Theatre, John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln while attending the play "Our American Cousin" on April 14, 1865. An unconscious Lincoln was carried to the home of William Peterson. At 7:22 A.M. the next morning, President Lincoln passed away.

Resources for Teachers

Resources for Students

Library of Congress Primary Sources


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« 1863