Abraham Lincoln (1809 - April 15, 1865) was the President of the United States from 1860 to 1865, during the American Civil War. As a young man, he won renown for his debating and persuasive skills as a country lawyer in Illinois. He then became a Senator, and participated in the famous Douglas-Lincoln debates against Stephen Douglas. In the late 1850s, he increasingly drifted toward the Republican Party on the issue of slavery, and he was nominated for President on their ticket. The Democratic Party nominated two different candidates, splitting their vote and leading to Lincoln's victory.
His election triggered the secession of the Confederate States of America from the United States. He fought to preserve the union, and mobilized the remaining states. Although frequently defeated in battle at first, their greater numbers and industrial economy allowed them to prevail. In 1863, after the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln approved the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all the slaves in Confederate territory. In 1865, the Confederacy was defeated and reintegrated into the union. On April 15, just 6 days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in the Ford Theater.