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Linc oln 's Au to bio gr aphy


AB RA HAM LIN COLN (1809 – 1865)

I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were
both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families-- second families,
perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a
family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adams, and
others in Macon Counties, Illinois. My paternal grandfather, Abraham
Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Kentucky,
about 1781 or 2, where, a year or two later, he was killed by Indians,
not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in
the forest.

My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age; and he
grew up, literally without education. He moved from Kentucky to what
is now Spencer County, Indiana, in my eighth year. We reached our
new home about the time the State came into the Union. It was a wild
region, with many bears and other wild animals, still in the woods.
There I grew up. There were some schools, so called; but no
qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond "reading, writing,
and ciphering". If a stranger supposed to understand Latin happened
to reside for a time in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a
Lincoln's Autobiography Abraham
Lincoln

wizard. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education.


Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I
could read, write, and cipher, but that was all. I have not been to
school since. The little advance I have now made upon this store of
education, I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of
necessity.

I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty-two. At


twenty one I came to Illinois, and passed the first year in Macon
County. Then I got to New-Salem (at that time in Sangamon, now in
Menard County), where I remained a year as a sort of Clerk in a store.
Then came the Black-Hawk war; and I was elected a Captain of
Volunteers--a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have
had since. I went the campaign, ran for the Legislature the same year
(1832) and was beaten--the only time I ever have been rejected by the
people. The next, and three succeeding biennial elections, I was
elected to the Legislature. I was not a candidate afterwards. During this
Legislative period I had studied law, and removed to Springfield to
practice it. In 1846 I was once elected to the lower House of Congress.
I was not a candidate for re-election. From 1849 to 1854, I practiced
law more assiduously than ever before. I was losing interest in politics,
when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I
have done since then is pretty well known.

If any personal description of me is thought desirable, it may be said, I


am, in height, six feet, four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing on an
average one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse
black hair, and grey eyes--no other marks or brands recollected.

Comprehension questions

1. What state did Lincoln’s parents come from?


What kind of family did they belong to?
2. How did Lincoln’s paternal grandfather die?
3. How old was Lincoln when his father moved to Indian?
4. Describe the region where they lived?
5. Did Lincoln receive a good education? Why?

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6. How did he become well educated?


7. What different kinds of work did Lincoln do as a young man?
8. What profession did he practice later?
9. What elective position did he win?
10. Give a personal description of Lincoln?

Prepositions; supply the correct preposition for each blank


space.
1. Lincoln’s parents were born……Virginia… …undistinguished families.
2. His grandfather emigrated……..Virginia……..Kentucky.
3. He was killed…….the Indians when he was laboring to open a farm…….the
forest.
4. …….that time, Lincoln’s father was six years old.
5. He grew up……. education.
6. The family reached its new home about the time the state came …….the Union.
7. It was a wild region ………many wild animals……..the woods.
8. No qualification was required………a teacher beyond ‘’reading writing, and
adding’’
9. He happened to reside ……….a time…….the neighborhood.
10. There was no reason to have ambition……..education.
11. Lincoln did farm work ………the age of twenty-two.
12. ………..twenty-one, he come……..Illinois.
13. He worked ………..a year……a clerk…….a store.
14. He remained………Salem, Illinois……...a year.
15. Two years later, he was elected………the Legislature.

Synonyms; select the correct synonym for the underlined

word in each sentence


Undistinguished wizard complexion reside
Repealed emigrated defeated supposed
Excited laboring rejected pretty
Literally assiduously ambition regions

1. I was born of common people.

2. Some of the Hanks family now live in Adams County.

3. My grandfather departed from Virginia to Kentucky.

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4. He died when he was working hard to open a farm.

5. He grew up actually without education.

6. It was a wild area.

7. The stranger was thought to understand Latin.

8. He was looked on as a magician.

9. There was nothing to stimulate ambition for education.

10. I was beaten.

11. It was the only time I’ve even been turned down by the people.

12. I practiced law more diligently than ever before.

13. The revocation of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again.

14. What I’ve done since then is fairly well known.

15. I have a dark skin color.

Language study; narrative tenses

The past simple


The past simple is used to express a finished action in the
past.

Agatha Christie wrote many famous detective stories.

She saw peter last Sunday and they went for walk.

They met in 1980 but they didn’t marry until 1992.

This tense is also used to express a past habit.

When I was a child we went to Spain every summer.

I wore a uniform at school.

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The Past Continuous


The past continuous is used to express an activity in progress
in the past. The events of a story are in the Past Simple but
descriptions and interrupted activities are in the Past Continuous. In
other words, the past simple tells a story in chronological order,
whereas the past continuous refers to longer, ‘background’ events
and gives activities duration.

When we arrived, she was making some coffee.


When we arrived she made some coffee.

It was raining and she was feeling miserable when suddenly


she saw Peter and smiled again.

The Past Perfect


This tense is used to make clear that one action in the past
was completed before another past action.

When we arrived at the library, Jack had already left.

The past perfect continuous


This tense expresses longer activities that happened over a
period of time. All verbs in continuous tenses express duration.

They had been walking for nearly three hours when they saw the
village in the distance.

Language work: Fill in all the gaps with the given verbs.
didn't realize discovered had been playing had broken
heard hurt jumped killed
looked phoned saw tried was happening
was playing watching went were driving
were escaping ran

Exercise 1. While I______ (play) football I _______ (hurt) my leg.


However, until I_________ (see) a doctor I _________ ( not realize)
that I __________ (break) it.

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Exercise 2. The police__________ (go) to the bank after a


neighbor________ (phone) to tell them what__________ (happen).
They soon_________ (discover) that the robbers_________ (escape)
in a stolen car. The men_________ (kill) one of the guards
who_________ (try) to stop them as they_________ (drive) away.
The guard ________ (jump) out in front of them but they just
________ (run) over him.

Exercise 3. Suddenly they_______ (hear) a strange noise and


________ (look) at each other in terror. All evening they __________
(play) cards and________ (watch) television without thinking of the
ghost.

Composition Topics

1. Write a brief autobiography.

2. Write a brief biography of a famous person in your country’s


history or literature.

Further Reading

Julius Caesar- Hero or Villain


Although the famous Roman Julius Caesar lived two thousand years
ago, his legend lives on in the annals of history. Some historians see
him as a power-hungry villain. Others feel he was a reformer whose
brutal assassination almost destroyed Rome. However, there is
unanimity of opinion on one issue: Caesar was a unique and towering
figure.

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Born about 100 B. C., Caesar came from a noble, but poor, family. At
the time, the rulers of Rome were divided into two parties. The
aristocratic party wanted to keep power in its own hands. The radical
party wanted the support of the people, many of whom had lost their
lands and were living in poverty in Rome. Caesar joined the radical
cause.
A successful roman leader had to conquer new lands and to help
expand the republic. Caesar made conquests of great magnitude. He
decimated resisting forces in Gaul (new Belgium and France) and
added this territory to the Roman Empire. He invaded England, where
he met strange tribes who painted their bodies and worshiped trees.
Caesar was anxious to tell the Romans of his conquests. Although the
seven books he wrote about the wars in Gaul tell an interesting story,
his self-praise can become monotonous. On the other hand, he could
be brief at times, as in his famous statement, ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici’ ( I came,
I saw, I conquered).
A decade of conquest gained Caesar considerable political power. He
had formed a ruling ‘triumvirate’ in 60 B.C. with Crassus and Pompey.
Later, after Crassus’s death, Caesar and Pompey started to fight for the
leadership of Rome. At first Caesar felt ambivalent about attacking his
former friend. Then, he decided that he must do it. In the first act of
the conflict, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C. to challenge
Pompey. (To this day the phrase ‘crossing the Rubicon’ means to take
an irreversible step.) Caesar’s victory over Pompey is recorded in a
trilogy, his commentary on the Civil War. His triumph gave him a
monopoly on Roman leadership, and he took the title of dictator.

Despite his busy career, Caesar took time for several romantic
interests, among them the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Caesar aroused
considerable disapproval when he invited her to Rome.
In his short time as dictator, Caesar accomplished many reforms. He
extended roman citizenship to the whole of Italy. He improved the
disintegrating condition of farmers by giving land to soldiers gained
him loyalty of poorer citizens. However, Caesar’s reform of the
calendar had the most long-lasting effects. He replaced an inaccurate
calendar with the improved Julian version. In a more trivial action, he
named the month of his birth, July, after himself.
Unfortunately, Caesar’s successes made him many enemies. He was
the victim of the perennial problem of successful people: the jealousy
of others.

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Caesar had shown magnanimity in not executing old enemies, but they
now started to plot against him. Jealousy increased as some thought he
might crown himself as emperor. One nobleman, Cassius, was
particularly angry over his own power and prestige. Cassius plotted to
assassinate Caesar, and week by week his list of treacherous
conspirators grew. The day of Caesar’s murder was planned for March
15, 44 B.C.
Legend records that Caesar was warned to ‘beware the Ides of March’,
but decided to face his fate. The assassins gathered on the floor of the
Senate building. When Caesar entered, they attacked him with
daggers. Caesar resisted until he saw that his old friend, Brutus, had
turned against him. “Et tu, Brute” (You too, Brutus) was his expression
of anguish as he submitted to the weapons of his murderers.

1. What are the contradictory ideas about Julius Caesar?


2. What is the idea on which all historians agree?
3. What was Julius Caesar’s family background?
4. Why did he join the radical party?
5. What was the objective of the aristocrat party?
6. What were the Julius Caesar’s victories?
7. Why did he write books? What picture did he present of himself in his
books?
8. What does the fact that Caesar’s crossing Rubicon has changed to a
proverb show about his action?
9. What were his accomplishments during his emperorship?
10. Describe the nature of relationship between Caesar and his soldiers.
11.Why did he have many enemies as well as many friends?
12. According to the text, what was the result of Julius’ generosity towards
his old enemies?
13.What was he warned against? Why didn’t he heed the warning?
14.What was Caesar’s last statement?
15.Do you judge Caesar as a ‘hero’ or a ‘villain’?

Paraphrase; Rewrite the following sentences in your own words.

1. My parents were both born of undistinguished families.

2. No qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond


"reading, writing, and ciphering.

3. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education.

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4. I practiced law more assiduously than ever before.

5. There is unanimity of opinion on one issue.

6. Caesar made conquests of great magnitude.

7. He decimated resisting forces in Gaul.

8. At first Caesar felt ambivalent about attacking his former friend.

9. His integrity in keeping promises to his soldiers gained him the


loyalty of poorer citizens.

10. Caesar had shown magnanimity in not executing old enemies.

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