Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States. He led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. He was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and grew up on the western frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. Largely self-educated, he became a lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader, and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served from 1834 to 1846. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1846, Lincoln promoted rapid modernization of the economy through banks, tariffs, and railroads.