Born to two uneducated farmers, Abraham Lincoln came from meager origins and had only 18 months of formal education. Yet, he worked himself up from farmer to respected lawyer to U.S. Congressman to the 16th U.S. president. He was a humanitarian who did not believe in killing animals for food. From the start of his political career, he fought for the abolition of slavery, and once elected president, he passed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the freedom of any slaves in territories not under Union control. Despite pressures from the seceded states and the resulting civil war, Lincoln continued his goal of saving the Union while fighting for republican values, and was elected for a second term. He was not popular among all U.S. citizens, however, and was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth only five days after the war was declared over.
Rachel A. Koestler-Grack has worked as an editor and writer of nonfiction books since 1999, focusing on historical topics ranging from the Middle Ages to the colonial era to the civil rights movement. She has also written numerous biographies on a variety of historical and contemporary figures. Koestler-Grack lives in the German community of New Ulm, Minnesota.