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History - Science
Lately, America's collective attitude towards its founding fathers and its early presidents has come under new scrutiny. 12 American Presidents were known to be slave owners — some while in office — and plenty of others held views that weren’t exactly evolved, even compared to others at the time.
We all know that Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation. However, NPR describes his attitude towards slavery as “complicated” and something that “evolved” over time, which leads many to wonder if he ever owned slaves.
The History Channel finds that it was not possible for Lincoln to have owned slaves, based on the circumstances of his upbringing. Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky, where slavery was legal, and grew up in Indiana, where it was illegal, but his family was too poor to own slaves regardless.
As a young man, the future 16th President served in various jobs in Illinois, another state where slavery was illegal. Since the only other place where he lived was Washington, it’s clear that he was never a slaveholder.