Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. Born in Kentucky into a poor family, Lincoln educated himself and worked as a lawyer in Illinois before entering politics. A powerful orator and astute politician, Lincoln used his Gettysburg Address to promote nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. He has been consistently ranked as one of the greatest US presidents, by both scholars and the public.