Lincoln Inauguration
Photo: Abraham Lincoln’s Inauguration, March 4, 1861 (Library of Congress)

In the 4 months between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and his inauguration on March 4, 1861, momentous changes rocked the foundations of the still-young United States of America. Fearing that Lincoln’s election spelled doom for the South’s slavery-based social and economic system, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas seceded from the Union. The first stirrings of what would eventually become the bloodiest war in American history took place in the standoff between South Carolina and Federal troops over Fort Sumter. In his First Inaugural Address Lincoln attempted to steer a course of compromise, but by then the path to Civil War had reached the point of no return.

March 4, 2011, marks the 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s historic inauguration, and several events are planned around the country to mark the occasion. From Washington, DC, to the Chickamauga Battlefield, commemorative lectures, performances and parades are scheduled. Check out our slideshow of Lincoln destinations to plan your own Lincoln-themed vacation. And don’t forget the other presidents — we’ve got that covered, too.

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