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Lincoln and His Predecessors

December 3, 2014

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States.  At the start of his administration five former Presidents were still living.  The 8th and 10th Presidents died during Lincoln’s first term, but the 13th, 14th, and 15th lived to see the conclusion of the Civil War.

One of the five had run as a Free Soil candidate in 1848 and lost.

One of the five was elected to the Confederate Congress.

One of the five lived longer than the rest, continued to offer his opinion on national politics, but was generally ignored.

One of the five was a Northerner who opposed the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation.

One of the five was blamed for causing the Civil War through executive inaction.

Each of Lincoln’s five living predecessors were men of accomplishment.  Four had been U.S. Representatives.  Four had been U.S. Senators.  Three had been Vice President.  Two had been governors.  Two had been Secretary of State.  All five became foils for the 16th President.

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