Abraham Lincoln Inaugurated President

Monday, March 4, 1861

Illustration of James Buchanan leading Abraham Lincoln into the Senate Chamber before Lincoln's inauguration. Image courtesy of the Internet Archive.

After weeks spent at his home in Springfield, Illinois, during which he received news of Southern states seceding from the Union, President-elect Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated president of the United States. Although he declares himself a moderate on the slavery issue (pledging only to oppose its expansion), Southerners widely see him as a radical abolitionist and continue to support secession from the Union. Lincoln presides over a brutal Civil War that results in the death or wounding of roughly 3% of the entire population, and a larger number of American casualties than in all other U.S. wars combined. The Union victory will result in the reunification of the United States and the emancipation of 4 million American slaves. Lincoln serves as president until his assassination on April 15, 1865; long enough to witness the Northern victory, but not long enough to oversee the federal Reconstruction policies.


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