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U.S. Census Bureau History: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd
on November 11, 1842.

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:

  • Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, in Hodgenville, KY. He married Mary Todd in Springfield, IL, on November 11, 1842, and died in Washington, DC, on April 15, 1865.
  • Although President George Washington was first to declare a day of Thanksgiving on October 3, 1789, Lincoln's Thankgiving Proclamation on the same date 74 years later permenently established the holiday as an annual celebration at the end of November.
  • Abraham Lincoln has left an indelible mark on our nation's geography in the nearly 150 years since his death. The United States is home to many towns, counties, and landmarks named for Abraham Lincoln, including Lincoln, NE; Lincoln, IL; Lincoln County, KS; and Lincoln County, NM. More than 100,000 commuters travel under the Hudson River between Weehawken, NJ, and Midtown Manhattan, NY, using the Lincoln Tunnel; transcontinental travellers cross the nation using the Lincoln Highway; the Metropolitan Opera performs at New York City's Lincoln Center for Performing Arts; and Chicagoans enjoy the museums, outdoor activities, and zoo in their city's Lincoln Park neighborhood.
  • The U.S. Navy has named two ships after Abraham Lincoln. Construction began on the first, a George Washington Class fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN-602) at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, on November 1, 1958. Construction of the present-day USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier (CVN-72) began on November 3, 1984, at Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, VA, and it was commissioned on November 11, 1989. The carrier's motto, "Shall not Perish," is a quote from Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
  • Got Abe in your pocket? Abraham Lincoln is found on pennies produced since 1909, the Illinois and South Dakota state quarters, the fourth of the U.S. President dollar coins produced in 2010, the $5 bill, and hundreds of stamps produced by the U.S. Postal Service.

Lincoln at Gettysburg
President Abraham Lincoln delivers his "Gettysburg Address" on November 19, 1863, in this sketch by A.R. Keller.
Photo courtesy of the National Park Service


Historic census records from 1790 to 1940 are maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, not the U.S. Census Bureau.

Visit the National Archives Website to access the 1940 census records
http://1940census.archives.gov/

Online subscription services are available to access the 1790-1940 census records. Contact you local library to inquire if they have subscribed to one of these services.



This Month In Census History

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.

Hollerith's Electronic Tabulator

Did You Know?

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.

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Census History Staff | Last Revised: November 13, 2014