Abraham Lincoln 3 Essay Research Paper Abraham — страница 5

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issue and was particularly interested in the political news. To earn his board and lodging, he also split rails and worked as a mill hand and hired man. In every spare moment he read or made political talks. In the autumn of 1833 Lincoln gladly took an appointment as deputy county surveyor. To learn the work, he plunged into books on surveying and mathematics. By studying all day, and sometimes all night, he learned surveying in six weeks. As he rode about the county, laying out roads and towns, he lived with different families and made new friends. The wife of Jack Armstrong, the Clary’s Grove “champion,” said: “Abe would drink milk, eat mush, corn bread and butter, and rock the cradle. . . . He would tell stories, joke people at parties . . . do anything to accommodate

anybody.”Elected to Legislature and Becomes LawyerIn 1834 Lincoln’s old friends in New Salem and his new friends throughout Sangamon County elected him to the Illinois General Assembly. They reelected him in 1836, 1838, and 1840. Before his first term began in November 1834 he borrowed 200 dollars to pay the most pressing of his debts and to buy a suit for his new work. Vandalia was then the capital of Illinois. Lincoln soon became popular in the legislature. One representative said that Lincoln was “raw-boned . . . ungraceful . . . almost uncouth . . . and yet there was a magnetism about the man that made him a universal favorite.” By the time he started his second term he was a skilled politician and a leader of the Whig party in Illinois. A fellow Whig declared: “We

followed his lead; but he followed nobody’s lead. . . . He was poverty itself, but independent.”Encouraged by friends in the legislature, he determined to become a lawyer. Between terms he borrowed law books and returned them in New Salem in order to study. Often he walked the 20-mile (32-kilometer) round trip between Springfield and New Salem just to return one law book and to get another. He was doing what he advised a young law student to do years later: “Get the books . . . and study them till you understand them in their principal features. . . . Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” He took some time from his studying to serve as New Salem’s postmaster and did some surveying work. On Sept. 9, 1836, he received his law license.

In New Salem Lincoln boarded in the log inn kept by James Rutledge. Rutledge’s daughter Ann was tall, slim, and blue-eyed, with auburn hair. Legend says that she was Lincoln’s sweetheart and that when she died in 1835, at the age of 19, he nearly lost his mind in grief. The legend apparently grew from a lecture given by William Herndon, Lincoln’s last law partner, a year after Lincoln’s death. Historians today, however, are not convinced that Ann Rutledge promised to marry Lincoln. At the time of her death, from what was called “brain fever,” she was engaged to one of Lincoln’s friends, John McNamar. Two years before Anne’s death Lincoln had met in New Salem a visitor from Kentucky. She was Mary Owens, the well-educated daughter of a wealthy farmer. She was

slightly older than Lincoln. He escorted her to quiltings, huskings, and other social events, but sometimes forgot to help her cross creeks or climb steep hills. Apparently his absent-mindedness did not suit Mary Owens. When, in the summer of 1837, he proposed to her in a rather indecisive way, she “respectfully declined” to marry him.Lincoln in SpringfieldIn 1837 Lincoln led the drive to have the capital transferred from Vandalia to Springfield. The legislature did not meet there until 1839, but in April 1837 Lincoln left New Salem to make his home in Springfield. He put his few belongings into saddlebags and rode a borrowed horse to the thriving town on the prairie. (See also Springfield, Ill.)He was 28 years old and so poor that he did not have the 17 dollars needed to buy

the furnishings for a bed. Joshua Speed, a storekeeper, recalled that when Lincoln said he could not afford it, “The tone of his voice was so melancholy that I felt for him.” Speed immediately invited Lincoln to share his own lodgings. This kindness was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. By 1839 Lincoln was established a reputation for himself as a lawyer in Springfield and was taking part in the busy social life of the city. One of the society belles was a young lady named Mary Todd. She had come from her home in Lexington, Ky., to live with her sister and brother-in-law, son of the governor of Illinois. At that time Mary was 21 years old–small, plump, pretty, and unusually well educated–but also temperamental and nervous. Lincoln first met her in the winter of 1839