Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are two of the most famous presidents in United States history. They both served two terms in office during their own time and are memorialized in the present by statues, U.S. currency, and Mount Rushmore.
George Washington was the first president of United States. He served from 1789–1797. Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.
|Abraham Lincoln||George Washington|
|Political Party||Republican Party||Was not a member of any political party. He never officially joined the Federalist Party, America's first political party, but supported its programs.|
|Religion||No formal affiliation||Anglican / Episcopal; Deism|
|Children||Four sons; only one survived to adulthood.||None. Adopted Martha’s two children.|
|Date of birth||February 12, 1809||February 22, 1732|
|Vice President||Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865); Andrew Johnson (1865)||John Adams|
|Parents||Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln.Step Mother Sarah Bush Johnston||Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington|
|Place of birth||Hardin County, Kentucky(now LaRue County)||in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Pope's Creek Estate (now Colonial Beach)|
|Profession||Country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator.||Tobacco farmer and plantation owner.|
|Full Name||Abraham Lincoln||George Washington|
|Education||Self educated from independent study.||Seven to Eight years of tutoring by his father and half brother Lawrence, and training in surveying.|
|Spouse||Mary Todd||Martha Dandridge Custis|
|Death||On Friday, April 14, 1865, aged 56, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. by John Wilkes Booth.||December 14, 1799, aged 67, Washington died from pnuemonia.|
|Philosophy||Believed that America should be "united not divided ". He disliked slavery and wished for the people to be as one.||Against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars. He was a Deist who had a profound belief and faith in "Providence" or a higher "Devine Will"|
|Presidency||16th President of the United States. Served 4 years. Elected first in 1860. Re elected but assassinated in 1865.||1st President served April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797 (2 terms)|
|Background||Not a wealthy family. The second child to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln.Step Mother Sarah Bush Johnston.||Wealthy Family The first child of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington.|
|Military Service||Member of the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War/Union Commander during the Civil War.||Militia: 1752–1758; Continental Army: 1775–1783; Army: 1798–1799|
|Legacy||Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.; face on $5 bill and the cent. The state nickname for Illinois is ‘Land of Lincoln’. Mount Rushmore holds his face.||Called ‘Father of the Nation’; face appears on $1 bill and the quarter coin; the Confederate Seal features him on horseback. Nation’s capital, Washington, D.C and Washington state are named after him. Mount Rushmore holds his face.|
|Notable Contributions||Led country during Civil War; On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves.||Led Revolutionary War; Washington presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787; Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 .|
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, the second child to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln (née Hanks), in Hardin County, Kentucky (now LaRue County). He had an older sister Sarah Grigsby. The family was not wealthy. He was nine when his mother died. His father remarried to Sarah Bush Johnston, whom Lincoln liked and called her mother.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia, Pope's Creek Estate (now Colonial Beach). He was the first-born child of Augustine Washington and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington. He had two older siblings and five younger siblings. He belonged to a wealthy family. George’s father died when George was eleven years old, after which George's half-brother, Lawrence Washington was his surrogate father.
Lincoln grew up to be 6 feet 4 inches in height while Washington was 6 feet 2 inches tall.
Likes and dislikes
Lincoln avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like killing animals while Washington’s favorite leisure activity was Fox hunting.
Lincoln served as New Salem's postmaster for sometime then by studying on his own he became a country lawyer, an Illinois state legislator while Washington started his career as a tobacco farmer and plantation owner.
Marriage and children
Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd who belonged to a wealthy slaveholding family in Lexington, Kentucky on November 4, 1842. He had four sons; only the first born son lived to adulthood.
Washington married Martha Custis who was a rich widow on January 6, 1759; she had two children. He and Martha did not have children together. He adopted Martha's two children.
George Washington was a hardcore military man. In 1754 as a Lieutenant Colonel he led an expedition to Fort Duquesne to drive out the French Canadians. In 1755, he was an aide to British General Edward Braddock on the Monongahela expedition. In 1758, he participated as a Brigadier General in the Forbes expedition. In 1775 he was appointed as Major General and elected by Congress to be Commander-in-chief. From 1775 to 1781 he fought from several fronts. He delivered the final blow to the British in 1781. On December 23, 1783, he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief.
Abraham Lincoln's military exposure was limited to serving as a Captain in the Black Hawk War, in a non-combat role.
Before the Presidency
George Washington was a successful businessman who acquired a lot of land and owned slaves. Highlights from his life before becoming president:
- 1758 - He was elected to the Virginia provincial legislature, the House of Burgesses
- Up to 1769 he remained somewhat aloof from politics.
- May 1769 - Washington introduced a proposal drafted by his friend George Mason, which called for Virginia to boycott English goods until the Townshend Acts were repealed.
- 1774 – He regarded the passage of the Intolerable Acts as "an Invasion of our Rights and Privileges."
- Between 1775 and 1783 he actively participated in the American Revolution. The most significant contribution of George Washington was that he led America's Continental Army to victory over Britain in the American Revolutionary War, playing a major role in America's independence and the subsequent formation of the United States. He is seen by Americans as the "Father of Our Country".
- After the war ended in 1783, Washington resigned and returned to his plantation at Mount Vernon instead of holding on to power.
- Washington presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787 because of general dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation.
Abraham Lincoln loved to read and studied on his own and became a lawyer. Highlights from his life before becoming President include:
- March 1832 - He first announced his candidacy for the Illinois General Assembly.
- 1834 - He won an election to the state legislature and he ran a bipartisan campaign.
- He then decided to become a lawyer.
- 1837- He and another legislator declared that slavery was "founded on both injustice and bad policy." This was the first time he publicly opposed slavery.
- 1841 – As a lawyer he partnered with Stephen Logan.
- 1844 - He began his practice with William Herndon.
- 1846 - He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served one two-year term.
- 1848 to 1854 he concentrated on practicing law in Springfield
- 1854 returned to politics
- He served four successive terms in the Illinois House of Representatives as a representative from Sangamon County, affiliated with the Whig party.
- In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election with that he was unsuccessful the second time as a candidate for election to the United States Senate.
- In May 1859, Lincoln purchased the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, a German-language newspaper in Springfield.
As President, Lincoln successfully led the United States through its greatest internal crisis, the American Civil War, preserving the Union and ending slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and promoted the passage of the 13th Amendment that resulted in the abolition of slavery. In 1861, Lincoln successfully defused the Trent Affair, a war scare with the Britain.
Having sided with federalists, Washington presided over the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787. His support convinced many, including the Virginia legislature, to vote for ratification; the new Constitution was ratified by all 13 states. His unilateral Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 provided a basis for avoiding any involvement in foreign conflicts. Washington passed the Fugitive Slave Clause law in 1793 which made assisting an escaped slave a federal crime. Hamilton and Washington designed the Jay Treaty to normalize trade relations with Britain.
On April 14, 1865, Age 56, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth. George Washington died while getting treatment for pneumonia on December 14, 1799, aged 67.
Memorials and Legacy
Lincoln's name and image appear in numerous places. These include the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The $5 bill and the cent depict his face. The state nickname for Illinois is 'Land of Lincoln'.
George Washington is called 'Father of the Nation'. His face appears on the one-dollar bill and the quarter coin, and on U.S. postage stamps. The Confederate Seal features him on horseback. The nation's capital, Washington, D.C, is named after him, as is Washington State.