Kentucky - Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a log cabin in the central Kentucky town of Hodgenville. Today, the humble home is part of the National Park Service as the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park.
Indiana - Lincoln's Boyhood Home
The National Park Service also maintains the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southwestern Indiana. From the ages of 7 to 21, Abraham Lincoln grew up here. The memorial now includes a museum, a living historical farm, the gravesite of his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and a memorial where the family's cabin once stood.
Illinois - Lincoln's Home
The state of Illinois is known as the Land of Lincoln because it is where Lincoln the statesman got his start. Lincoln was a lawyer and also served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for one term. It was in Illinois that Lincoln established his anti-slavery stance prior to rising to national politics. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site provides context on Lincoln's professional and home life before he became the USA's 16th president.
Washington, DC - The White House
Abraham Lincoln ascended to the presidency of the United States in 1860, at a time when the slave-owning states of the South were threatening to secede from the Union. In 1861, Lincoln moved into the White House, where he gave, in February of that year, a stern Inaugural Address warning the South not to secede. On April 21, 1861, just two months later, Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, thereby beginning the Civil War, which would rage throughout Lincoln's presidency.
While in the White House, Lincoln would also write the famous speech The Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively ended slavery on January 1, 1863. Lincoln wrote this and many other speeches in a room of the White House now known as the Lincoln Bedroom. Lincoln's ghost is said to haunt the Lincoln Bedroom. Should you wish to take a tour of the White House, note that the Lincoln Bedroom is not part of the official White House tour.
The White House website provides more details about Lincoln's life while inside the presidential mansion.
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - The Gettysburg Address
President Lincoln delivered The Gettysburg Address, known as one of the most famous speeches of all time, on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania.
The Battle of Gettysburg, which had taken place in July 1863, was the most costly battle of the Civil War. A total of 51,000 soldiers lost their lives in the battle that was considered a turning point for the Union forces. Visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park provides details on the Battle of Gettysburg as well as Lincoln's famous speech.
Washington, DC - Ford's Theatre
Lincoln lived and died in Washington, DC. His assassination - the first of an American president - is the stuff of legend, well-known by schoolkids, scholars, and the common man. Specifically, Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre while attending the play "Our American Cousin" on April 14, 1865. The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was a pro-slavery southern sympathizer from Baltimore. Visitors to the recently restored Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC, can learn the entire story of Lincoln's assassination, from Booth's plotting to Lincoln's last days.
Washington, DC - The Lincoln Memorial
One of the most famous Lincoln sites to visit is the grandiose, but somber Lincoln Memorial, a marble temple on the National Mall that features an over-sized, seated Lincoln flanked by walls engraved with the texts of The Emancipation Proclamation and The Gettysburg Address. Admission to the Lincoln Memorial is free.
South Dakota - Mount Rushmore
Finally, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota is another well-known memorial to the 16th president. He is joined in memoriam with three other great presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt.