31 Interesting Facts for Kids About Abraham Lincoln!
One of the most fascinating figures in all of human history, Abraham Lincoln is revered for his leadership during the American Civil War and his commitment to preserving the Union and resolving the issue of slavery once and for all
However, beyond his many well-known accomplishments, there are many less-known interesting facts and stories about Lincoln that provide a much deeper understanding of his life and legacy. From his humble beginnings growing up in a one-room log cabin to his enduring impact on the nation as the 16th President of the United States of America, this article will highlight some of the more amusing and surprising facts about Abraham Lincoln.
These interesting facts all about President Lincoln are perfect for sharing in a history or social studies class of practically any grade level!
Here are my favorite lesser-known facts about Abraham Lincoln!
Fact #1 - Penny-Pincher: Lincoln was known for his frugality, for example, he was known to walk long distances instead of taking a carriage and was always looking for ways to save money and reduce government spending.
Fact #2 - Skilled Carpenter: Before becoming a lawyer, Lincoln worked as a carpenter and was known for his carpentry skills. He built his own cabin in the woods, and his carpentry work is said to have had a major influence on his ability to think creatively and solve problems.
Fact #3 - Strange Sleeping Habit: Lincoln was known to have a habit of sleeping for just a few hours at a time and then waking up for a few hours, before going back to sleep again. This pattern is said to have been the result of his intense work schedule and busy mind.
Fact #4 - Master of Disguises: During his days as a young lawyer in Illinois, Lincoln was known to use disguises to play pranks on his friends. He was especially good at changing his appearance, and his friends often had trouble recognizing him in his various disguises.
Fact #5 - Talented Wrestler: In his younger years, Lincoln was known for his wrestling skills. He was so good that it was said that he only lost one match in his entire wrestling career.
Fact #6 - Joke Teller and Prankster: Lincoln had a great sense of humor and loved to tell jokes and play practical jokes on his friends and family. It's said that he could lighten up even the most tense of situations with his wit and humor - probably a good trait to have when a portion of the nation you're leading breaks off to form the Confederate States of America
Fact #7 - Gifted Orator: Lincoln was famous for his speeches and was known for his ability to move people with his words. He honed his public speaking skills during his time as a circuit-riding lawyer in Illinois and as a Congressman.
Download a FREE WEEK of lesson plans HERE!
Fact #8 - Skilled public speaker: Similar to Fact #7, what separates many gifted orators from others is their ability to be a skilled public speaker to audiences of hundreds or thousands of people as Lincoln often did during his time as president. This can be seen with Lincoln for example, in both his First and Second Inaugural Address. On top of that, Lincoln had a keen ability to connect with large audiences and convey complex ideas in a simple and straightforward manner.
A brief study of Lincoln's life will illustrate this as he delivered some of the most memorable speeches in American history. In particular when it comes to one of his most famous speeches, now etched in marble on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial, the Gettysburg Address which he delivered shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg.
Fact #9 - Voracious Reader: Lincoln was known for his love of books and was a voracious reader. He was largely self-educated, and reading was one of his favorite pastimes. He was especially fond of books about history, politics, philosophy, and of pieces of literature written by the author mentioned in our next fact...
Fact #10 - Fan of Shakespeare: Lincoln was a big fan of William Shakespeare and was known to quote the Bard's works in his speeches and letters. He was especially fond of Shakespeare's tragedies, and many of the themes and characters in Shakespeare's plays are said to have influenced Lincoln's thoughts and beliefs.
Fact #11 - Prolific writer: In addition to his speeches, Lincoln was a prolific writer and is said to have written thousands of letters during his lifetime. He was known for his clear and concise writing style, and his letters have been praised for their insight and wisdom. He was known for his ability to express complex ideas in simple and straightforward language, and his writing has been praised for its clarity and directness.
Looking for some fun and interesting facts about the Civil War, check out my other article "21 Interesting and Unusual Facts About the Civil War!"
Fact #12 - Self-taught musician: Lincoln was a self-taught musician and was known to play the violin. He was also fond of singing and was said to have a good singing voice.
Fact #13 - Self-taught lawyer: Lincoln never went to law school but taught himself the ins and outs of the law by reading books and studying legal cases. He went on to become one of the most successful lawyers in Illinois.
Fact #14 - Lifelong lover of nature: Lincoln was a lifelong lover of nature and was known for his fondness for the outdoors. He was a keen observer of nature and was said to have had a deep appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.
Fact #15 - Pet goat: That's right, Lincoln was a goat-loving president. He owned a pet goat named Nanny, who was known to wander around the White House grounds and was even featured in some presidential photos!
Fact #16 - Animal lover: In addition to his pet goat, Nanny, Lincoln was also known to have a general fondness for animals. He once rescued two snakes from being killed and released them back into the wild, saying that "they are as much entitled to live as you or I."
Have a look at my curriculum bundles HERE!
Fact #17 - "Honest Abe": Abe Lincoln was given the nickname because of his reputation for integrity and honesty. Throughout his life, Lincoln was known for his strict adherence to moral and ethical principles and for his unwavering commitment to truth and honesty.
The nickname "Honest Abe" is thought to have originated in the 1850s, when Lincoln was still a practicing lawyer in Illinois. He was known for his strict adherence to the law and his refusal to take advantage of his clients or make false or misleading arguments in court. His reputation for honesty was such that he was widely respected by his colleagues and clients, and he was said to have a deep sense of personal responsibility when it came to his work.
The nickname stuck with Lincoln throughout his life, and became an important part of his public image and legacy. Today, it remains one of the most widely recognized nicknames in American history, and is often used to describe Lincoln's unwavering commitment to honesty, integrity, and the rule of law.
Fact #18 - Champion of Freedom and Equality: Despite being born into humble circumstances, Lincoln was a passionate advocate for freedom and equality. He is best remembered for his role in ending slavery in the United States and for his speeches and writings, which continue to inspire people all over the world to fight for justice and equality.
Fact #19 - Lifelong Abolitionist: Lincoln's opposition to the institution of slavery is the primary reason the slave states despised him as a politician, as well as why he's been nicknamed the "Great Emancipator". Despite the fact that slavery was legal in the United States during his lifetime, Lincoln was a lifelong abolitionist and was passionate about ending the institution of slavery.
Among his many greatest achievement is his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that all slaves in Confederate territory were to be freed and allowed black men to join the Union Army. Lincoln would go on to further protect the rights and freedoms of ALL U.S. citizens, regardless of color, by seeking a constitutional amendment that would explicitly do so - which would ultimately result in the Thirteenth Amendment.
Fact #20 - Strong supporter of education: Lincoln was a strong supporter of education and believed that it was essential for building a strong and democratic society. He was a firm believer in the idea that every person had the right to an education, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Fact #21 - Thomas Lincoln: President Lincoln's father, Thomas Lincoln, has been described as a hard-working and simple man, who struggled with poverty throughout his life. Thomas Lincoln had a profound impact on Abraham, from instilling a strong moral code in him, as well as a strong sense of values and ideals from very early on, to remaining a great source of pride and inspiration for him throughout his life.
Fact #22 - Member of the U.S. House of Representatives: Little more than a decade prior to being elected president, one of the lesser known Abraham Lincoln facts is that he served in the House of Representatives from March 4, 1847 to March 3, 1849. He served just one term and during his time in Congress was known for his opposition to the Mexican-American War and his support for the Wilmot Proviso, which would have banned slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico as a result of the war.
He was also known for his speeches on the floor of the House, which were characterized by his clear and concise speaking style, and for his opposition to the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Despite his relatively brief time in the House of Representatives, Lincoln's service in the House helped to establish him as a prominent political figure, garnered some national attention and helped to lay the foundation for his later political career and presidency.
Fact #23 - Whig Party: Lincoln was elected to the House of Representatives from Illinois as a member of the Whig Party. It would be during the back half of the 1850s after a new Republican Party was formed that Lincoln would abandon the Whigs (which as a party was fading fast) in favor of the Republicans (as many Whigs had).
Fact #24 - Illinois Legislature: Prior to being elected to the U.S. Congress, Lincoln served four terms in the Illinois State Legislature as part of its General Assembly from 1834 to 1842. Lincoln's service in the Illinois General Assembly was an important part of his political career, and helped to establish him as a prominent political figure in the state of Illinois.
Fact #25 - New Salem, Illinois: Between 1831 and 1837 Lincoln lived and worked in the then small frontier village of New Salem, Illinois. These were some of his most formative years as he worked as a storekeeper, surveyor, and postmaster. As he became well-known throughout the village for his honesty, integrity, willingness to help others, and engage in friendly debates with friends and neighbors, it was from here where he began his political career.
Fact #26 - Left off the Ballot: Lincoln's election victory to the presidency in 1860 came when he wasn't even on the ballot in ten southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas).
Fact #27 - He was the tallest U.S. President: Standing at 6'4", Lincoln was the tallest President in U.S. history. He used his height to his advantage, using his long arms to reach items on high shelves and towering over his competitors in debates and courtrooms.
In addition to being the first president to be assassinated while in office, Lincoln had numerous other presidential firsts
Unfortunately, when it comes to presidential firsts, most of us think of President Lincoln as being the first president to be assassinated while in office. The Confederate sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated President Lincoln as he snuck into the presidents balcony at Ford's Theatre and shot Lincoln in the back of his head. There was no secret service back then as there is today which allowed Booth to simply walk up to the presidents balcony unimpeded. Booth was also a famous actor, so seeing him meander around Ford's Theatre as a play was being performed on stage was nothing out of the ordinary.
Fact #28 - Lincoln was the first U.S. President to be born outside of the 13 original colonies: Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky on February 12, 1809, making him the first U.S. President to be born outside of the 13 original colonies.
Fact #29 - He was the first President to have a photograph taken while in office: Lincoln was the first U.S. President to have his photograph taken while in office. He was famously depicted in a series of photographs taken by Mathew Brady, which are now considered some of the most iconic images of any U.S. President.
Fact #30 - First President to have a beard: Before Lincoln, no U.S. President had ever worn a beard while in office. Lincoln grew his iconic beard at the suggestion of a young girl, Grace Bedell, who wrote him a letter suggesting that a beard would make him look more Presidential.
Fact #31 - First Republican President: The presidential election of 1860 not only had 4 main candidates running, with the ascension of the new Republican Party in the mid-to-late 1850s, most of those who'd occupied the presidency had been members of other political parties such as the Federalists, Democrats, Democratic-Republican, or Whig.
I hope that you and your history class students have found these interesting and lesser-known facts about President Lincoln both fun and enjoyable!
Spending more time on teaching and less on lesson plans
More time on nights and weekends to share with friends and loved ones
No longer endlessly searching for amazing lesson plans and resource
Click HERE to learn more about my amazing history curriculum bundles!
I *think* you'll be happy you did 😉
What other teachers are saying about my curriculum:
I hope you enjoyed this article!!
-Jillian (a.k.a. the "Lesson Plan Guru")
Receive a FREE Week of Lesson Plans!
Join my mailing list to receive exclusive offers and promotions, the latest tips, and news on product updates!
Don't worry, your information will NEVER be shared.
I hate SPAM too and will NEVER sell it to a third-party. EVER