Answer: Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room cabin on Feb. 12, 1809, in Hodgenville, Kentucky. At the age of nine, his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln died. A year later, his father, Thomas Lincoln, married Sara Bush, a woman who had considerable influence in Abraham’s life.
To support his family, Abraham worked at a neighboring farm. Having little opportunity for an educational experience, he received less than a year of formal education. To compensate for his lack of education, Abraham used a self-education approach by reading anything he could get his hands on.
Abraham Lincoln had a strong desire to make a difference. In August, 1832, he ran for the Illinois House of Representatives, and lost. However, he was persistent, and won the position in 1834.
On Nov. 4, 1842, he married Mary Todd Edwards. They had four children. In 1836, Abraham won an election to Congress. After his term ended in 1849, he took five years off from politics.
In 1855, Lincoln decided to get back into the political arena and ran for Congress. He was defeated. The next year he ran for the Vice Presidency and was also defeated.
With so many failures, most people would give up. Abraham Lincoln, however, had a dream. He wanted to make a difference in his country. His political dream and goal was to become President of the United States. He knew he had to learn from his failures and so he decided to
Finally, in 1860, Lincoln’s persistence paid off. He was elected as the 16th President of the United States.
On April 14, 1865, after having successfully brought America through the Civil War, saved the Union, and freed the slaves, Abraham Lincoln attended the Ford Theatre with his wife. Half way through the play, John Wilkes Booth, an actor who resented the northern victory and liberation of the slaves, shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln.
Today, the spirit of this great man continues to live in our memories. His persistence against all odds is the motivation for our country as we face the many challenges of our lives.
(Read more about our patriotic leaders in Founding Fathers -- Uncommon Heroes by Steven W. Allen. Ordering information in the sidebar on the right.)
Described as “but a withered little apple-John” by Washington Irving, James Madison was the 4th President of the
Before his Presidency, James Madison proved himself as a leader during the Constitutional Convention. He made major contributions to the ratification by writing, with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, The Federalist Papers.
In Congress, he helped frame The Bill of Rights, and out of his leadership in opposition to
, came the development of the Republican, or Jeffersonian, Party.
Before taking office in 1809,
served as Thomas Jefferson’s Secretary of State. He served in the Presidency until 1817, and then retired at
, his estate in
. Shortly after his death in 1836, a note containing his last words to his beloved country read, “The advice nearest to my heart and deepest in my convictions is that the United of States be cherished and perpetuated."
(Read more about James Madison in Founding Fathers -- Uncommon Heores by Steven W. Allen pages 185-212. Ordering information in the sidebar on the right.)