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US MINT programs

In 2009, the United States Mint will mint and issue four different one-cent coins in recognition of the bicentennial of President Abraham Lincoln's birth and the 100th anniversary of the first issuance of the Lincoln cent. While the obverse (heads) will continue to bear the familiar likeness of President Lincoln currently on the one-cent coin, the reverse will reflect four different designs, each one representing a different aspect, or theme, of the life of President Lincoln.

The new one-cent reverse designs will be issued at approximately three-month intervals throughout 2009. Reverse inscriptions will continue to include "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum" and "One Cent." And the four 2009 Abraham Lincoln one-cent coins will maintain the same metal content (2.5% copper, balance zinc) and other specifications as the current one-cent coin.

At the conclusion of the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One-Cent Program, the 2010 (and beyond) one-cent coin will feature a reverse design that will be emblematic of President Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country.

Early Childhood (1809-1816)
Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin near Nolin Creek, three miles south of present-day Hodgenville in Hardin (now Larue) County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809, the second child of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. He was named after his paternal grandfather.

The Lincoln family lived on 30 acres of the 228-acre Knob Creek Farm near Hodgenville from the time Abraham was two-and-a-half until he was nearly eight years old. It was here that he grew big enough to carry water and gather firewood.

The approved reverse design for aspect one of Abraham Lincoln's life features a log cabin that represents his humble beginnings in Kentucky with the inscriptions, "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum," "One Cent" and "1809."

Formative Years (1816-1830)
In the fall of 1816, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln left Kentucky for southern Indiana, settling in Spencer County. As he grew older, young Abraham became skilled at using a plow and, especially, an axe. Although the demands of frontier life left little time for formal schooling, his parents instilled in him a love for books and Abraham educated himself by reading such works as Life of Washington, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Robinson Crusoe and The Arabian Nights all by the age of 11. He could often be seen carrying a book along with his axe.

In October 1818, the family suffered a terrible tragedy when Nancy died from drinking contaminated cow's milk. For Abraham, whose mother had encouraged him to read and explore the world through books, it was a devastating blow. Thomas later married Sarah Bush Johnston, a kind stepmother who helped raise Abraham as her own

The approved reverse design for aspect two depicts a young Lincoln reading while taking a break from working as a rail splitter in Indiana and includes the inscriptions "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum" and "One Cent."

Professional Years (1830-1861)
In 1830, Thomas decided to move the family to Illinois, where he had relatives and where the soil was rich and productive. Early on, Abraham took a variety of jobs, including piloting a steamboat, but he was beginning to develop a serious interest in politics. In 1834, he was elected to the Illinois General Assembly, and began studying the law in earnest. In September 1836, he received a law license and embarked on the career that would propel him to the White House.

In April 1837, he settled in the new Illinois state capital, Springfield. Here, he met and married Mary Todd and their first child, Robert Todd Lincoln, was born in August 1843. Lincoln continued to make a name for himself as a lawyer, and in 1846 he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives as a member of the Whig Party.

Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas was up for reelection in 1858, and in June the state Republican convention nominated Lincoln for the seat. The series of famous Lincoln-Douglas debates took place that fall, and while he did not win the seat, Lincoln's logic, moral fervor, elegant language and debating skills transformed him into a national figure. At the 1860 Republican convention, he secured the nomination for President and was elected that fall.

The approved reverse design for aspect three representing the Illinois phase of Lincoln's life depicts him as a young professional standing in front of the state capitol building in Springfield. It includes the inscriptions "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum" and "One Cent".

Presidential Years (1861-1865)
When Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861, the Nation was already on the verge of civil war, and fighting soon broke out at Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Shortly after the Battle of Antietam, in late 1862, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in rebel territory free as of January 1, 1863. The Union victory at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863, marked a crucial turning point in the war in favor of the North.

The summer of 1864, however, proved to be one of the most difficult of Lincoln's Presidency, and his reelection was in doubt. Peace negotiations began, but collapsed, and his cabinet was divided. But the war-time President prevailed easily that November, carrying 22 of 25 participating states. The war ended with General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Just five days later, on April 14, President Lincoln was mortally wounded by an assassin, John Wilkes Booth, while watching a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington. Army physicians worked to save him throughout the night, but he never regained consciousness and died at 7:22 a.m. the next morning at the age of 56.

The approved design for aspect four of Lincoln's life features the half-finished United States Capitol dome, symbolizing a Nation torn apart by civil war and the resolve Lincoln showed as he guided the country through its most grave crisis. It also bears the inscriptions "United States of America," "E Pluribus Unum" and "One Cent."

It was in front of the rising dome that Lincoln began his Presidency and under the completed dome that his body lay in state, having made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the Union and defend freedom and democracy.

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