On this day in 1809, the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. His education consisted of little more than 18 months of formal schooling, but he was an avid reader and focused on the law as a course of study. Admitted to the bar in 1837, Abraham Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois and began a law practice. He was elected to and served four successive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1842 he married Mary Todd with whom he had four sons, only one surviving to adulthood. He was instrumental in the formation of the Republican Party on an abolitionist platform.

Lincoln made extraordinary efforts to attain knowledge while working on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. At age 25 he was elected to the local government in Springfield, Illinois. Once there, he taught himself law, opened a law practice, and earned the nickname “Honest Abe.” His law partner said of him, “His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest.”