21. Abraham Lincoln: America's Greatest President

Abraham Lincoln is a name that is forever into the collective conscience of every American. It perhaps the most recognizable name in the history the country even as his death occurred approximately years ago. Lincoln presided over the country during, is perhaps, the most divisive era in its . Lincoln served as president for only four short , but his impact on the country at the , and today, has been huge.

During his presidency, United States was in the middle of a civil war. At the center of the split the two sides was slavery. The north was fast-growing, industrial region that was more progressive than southern counterpart. The southern economy was based on production that mostly used forced labor. The north this practice as unethical, and immoral, while southerners it was an integral part of their culture. Lincoln won the election, the southern states began secede from the Union, and the war began.

vowed to end slavery during his campaign for , while never speaking about how the country would its relationship with the southern states when slavery ended. This angered many southerners who promised to if Lincoln won. The war lasted four years, about 620,000 soldiers died. In what is considered turning point of the war, Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863. This statement freed people in the state of slavery in the states, but had no effect on southern slaves. it did do was gain international favor from world because of its ethical qualities. It put on those countries doing business with the south review their practices. It effectively put an end the war. Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, by a southern sympathizer as he sat in theater with his wife.