I, too, am a Kentuckian." 1809—1865 (Chautauqua)
Born on a farm in what is now Larue County, Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln spent his early years in the Commonwealth. His family moved to Indiana when he was seven, partly because of his father’s opposition to slavery, and never returned. But as his native brilliance and burning political ambition carried him to the presidency and greatness—a panel of historians recently chose him as the most influential American who ever lived—Lincoln always had connections with his native state.
In his law office in Springfield, Illinois, he had a law partner from Green County, Kentucky—William Herndon, who later wrote a biography of Lincoln. His best friend in Springfield was Joshua Speed, a son of Louisville’s prominent Speed family; and in Springfield he found a wife from Kentucky—Mary Todd, the daughter of a well-known Lexington family. Lincoln visited Kentucky to see the Speeds and his in-laws, and took the great Kentucky statesman Henry Clay as his political hero. During the Civil War Lincoln was very unpopular in Kentucky, but when he said, “I too am a Kentuckian,” no one could dispute it.
Funded project of the Kentucky Humanities Council. The Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. The Council is supported by the National Endowment and by private contributions. We are not a state agency, and we receive no state funds, but we are proud partners with Kentucky's cultural, heritage, arts, and tourism agencies.