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November marks several key events and anniversaries in the life of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln became the first candidate from the Republican Party to win a presidential election on November 6, 1860, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, and Constitutional Union Party candidate John Bell.
Lincoln's election, secession of Southern states, and subsequent Civil War spilt the United States between Union and Confederate sympathizers fighting bloody battles that would eventually claim the lives of as many as 750,000. Soon after the Battle of Gettysburg, Lincoln proclaimed that the nation should set aside the last Thursday of November as "a day of Thanksgiving and Praise."
Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address" at the consecration ceremony for the Gettysburg National Cemetery on November 19, 1863. In this short speech, Lincoln stated that the Civil War was being fought to preserve the Union and ensure equality for all citizens of the United States.
The reshaping of the Civil War's goals in the Gettysburg Address was tested a year later during the November 8, 1864, presidential election. Although George B. McClellan objected to the platform the Democratic Party nominated him to represent, he was obliged to promise supporters that if elected, he would end the war and concede to the Confederacy's demand that slavery be protected if that was what was necessary to preserve the Union. Despite increasing concern over mounting casualties and a desire to end the war, Lincoln received 55 percent of the popular vote, earning 212 electoral votes to McClellan's 21.
Here are some more interesting facts of Abraham Lincoln's impact upon our nation and our daily lives:
On November 20, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that the population of the United States reached 200 million at 11:03 a.m., according to the population clock at the Department of Commerce headquarters in Washington, DC.
Henry Leland, a former manager of the Cadillac division of General Motors, and his son, Wilfred Leland, formed The Lincoln Motor Company in August 1917. Henry named the company after President Abraham Lincoln for whom he cast a vote in 1864. Following Lincoln's bankruptcy filing on November 8, 1921, the Ford Motor Company purchased the company to compete against Cadillac in the luxury automobile market.