Many historians rank him as the greatest U.S. president, a towering figure who emancipated America's slaves, guided the Union through the Civil War, and spoke eloquently for reconciliation with the defeated Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln reached unsurpassed heights of leadership; and he started life from the depths of disadvantage. Born in a log cabin in Kentucky, Abe Lincoln grew up there and on the Indiana frontier, where his family scratched out a meager living farming the land. His mother's tragic death plunged the Lincolns into abject poverty when Abe was nine, but his father remarried a year later and the new Mrs. Lincoln restored a measure of stability to the household. She called her stepson "the best boy I have ever seen," and that boy "honest and hardworking, with a delightful sense of humor and an unquenchable love of learning" would grow up to become one of the most revered leaders in American history.
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