Jason Feldt

Abraham Lincoln

Born in a log cabin in 1809, Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States.  The presidency gave him the job of Commander-in-Chief of the Union Army in which he had the responsibility for making key decisions and appointing leaders.  Halfway through the American Civil War, while fighting to end slavery, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 to declare that all slaves in the Confederate States would be free.  He also gave his Gettysburg Address in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at a cemetery to honor all the soldiers who had fought and died during the war.  While many citizens thought he was a great president, others disliked his views on slavery.  Five days after the South surrendered President Lincoln was shot and killed on April 14, 1965 by John Wilkes Booth while watching a play at the Ford’s Theater. 

Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis was born in 1808 in Kentucky and was appointed to West Point military academy at the age of 16.  He was involved in many battles with different Indian groups and was a colonel during the Mexican- American War.  He was appointed as Congressman of Mississippi in 1845 and to the United States Senate in 1847.  He later became President of the Confederate States of America and as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Army, he instructed the confederate generals on decisions during the Civil War.  After the surrender of the Confederate Army, he was imprisoned for a short time and then released.  In 1889, he died in New Orleans and is buried in Richmond, Virginia, which was the capitol of the Confederacy. 

Ulysses S. Grant
Born in 1822, he was appointed to West Point in his mid twenties, Ulysses Simpson Grant graduated 21st in his class of 39.  He became a second Lieutenant and held the rank during the Mexican-American War.  He rose to the rank of Captain, however resigned from military service in 1854.  His short farming career failed and soon he joined the Union Army after the North began to lose a series of battles during the Civil War.  He served as a General during the Civil War, and is known to have required “Unconditional Surrender” of the Confederacy for surrender.  In 1866 he was promoted to full General and oversaw military operations during the Reconstruction period.  He was elected President of the United States in 1869 and served for two terms.  In 1885, he died and was buried in New York City. 

Robert E. Lee
Born the son of a Revolutionary War hero in 1807, Robert E. Lee trained at West Point military academy and served as a Colonel in the Mexican-American War.  During the Civil War, he had strong ties and emotions towards the Union, and had negative feelings toward slavery.  Throughout the Civil War, he won many battles, however on April 9, 1865 he surrendered to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House.  He died and is buried in Virginia.

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was born on December 29, 1808 in North Carolina. Politics were a part of his life beginning in his early years. He was a United States Senator in Tennessee and later became the military general. He worked his way up to being Vice President, along side of Lincoln. After President Lincoln was assassinated, Johnson filled his shoes as President from 1865-1869. During those four years, he focused on the Presidential Reconstruction. Through this phase of the Reconstruction, Johnson restored all rights and privileges of the southern states, giving them the entitlement to be part of the U.S. Congress. After his term as President concluded, he tried for other government positions. He was unsuccessful in being elected as a senator and as a representative in the House. Finally, in 1874, he was elected into the Senate. Johnson served the country until his death on July 31, 1875.

Rutherford Hayes
Rutherford Hayes was born on October 4, 1822 in Ohio. He spent a good portion of his early adult years being involved in the military. He joined as a volunteer for three years and became a commissioned major of the 23rd Regiment in Ohio. Because of his leadership in the military, Hayes was elected in the 39th and 40th Congresses. He later resigned because he had been nominated to be Ohio’s governor. Hayes won the election and became governor from 1868-1872. He was then reelected as governor and served for just over a year, beginning in January 1876. Hayes then won the vote to become the 19th President of the United States, governing from 1877-1881. During his four years in office, he signed numerous bills. One of the most powerful was one in which female attorneys were allowed to bring a case in front of the Supreme Court. Hayes did not seek re-election at the end of his term, as he said in the beginning that he would not. In 1893, Hayes passes away because of complications during a heart attack.

Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan, also known as the KKK, was founded in 1866 by a group of Confederate Army veterans. Their purpose for forming this group was mainly to show their disapproval of the Reconstruction. The idea behind their fraternal organization was to scare people. They targeted those who moved to the north because of Resconstruction, those that were white, from the south and joined the Republican Party, and the freed slaves from the south. They used very violent methods to get people’s attention and to get their point across. The KKK wanted to be able to control the freed slaves, including their political and social status. They did not want blacks to become educated, to advance in the economy, to be able to vote, or to be able to bear arms. They wanted total control over these people and used a scare tactic to make it happen. In 1871, the Ku Klux Klan Act was passed by President Ulysses S. Grant. This Act enforced civil rights to be given to all citizens, no matter their skin color. Members of the KKK who still continued in their racist acts were prosecuted in federal court.  Small KKK groups continued throughout the 1800’s and through the early 1900’s.