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Writing A College Essay On Abraham Lincoln's Achievements

Abraham Lincoln is one of the best known of U.S. Presidents. Of course he is famous for having been murdered, but has also gained lasting recognition for the many achievements of his life. These achievements are a popular subject for essays, but it can be hard to know where to start. If you’re writing an essay on this topic there are a few things to think about.

Firstly, what sort of achievements do you want to focus on? Lincoln’s actions had a lasting impact on the world in various ways, but his personal accomplishments were also remarkable. Lincoln came from a family that suffered financial loss, and his mother died when he was a child. He lacked formal education - he spent perhaps 18 months at school - and his early business ventures were unsuccessful. Despite all this he educated himself to a high level and developed into an effective politician. Later he managed to teach himself law well enough to pass the bar exam, and did so in only two years.

As president, Lincoln’s achievements can be broken into several categories. It’s easier to look at these in turn.

Social reform

Lincoln developed a dislike of slavery early in life, probably inheriting it from his father. Throughout his political career he proposed and backed numerous bills intended to prevent the spread of slavery into new U.S. territories and abolish it in states where it already existed. His well-known opposition to slavery was a major factor in the secession of the Confederate States of America in 1861 and his determination to hold the union together led, via the Civil War, to the end of slavery in the USA. Although his famous Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in the CSA - which at the time he had no authority over - it effectively doomed slavery even in the northern states where it did not apply.

War leader

Throughout the Civil War Lincoln maintained his strong moral stance and was a constant boost to the union’s motivation to win the war. He was willing to dismiss ineffectual generals when necessary, as when he replaced the timid George McClellan, and even to sack an incompetent Secretary of War. He used the power of the presidency to fight the war aggressively, while taking diplomatic steps to prevent the British Empire becoming involved.


Lincoln recognized the importance of rebuilding the USA after the war, and in the face of opposition from his political allies insisted on good treatment for the citizens of the defeated CSA.

Lincoln achieved many more things in his life, including reaffirming the importance of the Declaration of Independence and establishing the principles that the Republican Party followed for over 100 years after his death. His greatest fame comes from his leadership during the Civil War, though, so that’s the best place to start when writing about this remarkable man.