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The influences of Abraham Lincoln’s family are evident throughout his life.

His parents, Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and later his stepmother, Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, instilled in young Abraham his work ethic and his desire to learn. Even more importantly, though, their opposition to slavery is probably their greatest legacy passed on to the future president.

Much has been written about Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s marriage, but all agree he was a devoted and patient husband, and an indulgent father.

Lincoln’s critics at the time complained about the seeming lack of discipline imposed on their four sons – Robert, Edward Baker (“Eddie”), William (“Willie”), and Thomas (“Tad”). Mary Lincoln, though, described the president’s parenting style approvingly, saying:

“Mr. Lincoln was the kindest man and most loving husband and father in the world. He was very – exceedingly indulgent to his children. Chided or praised them for what they did – their acts, etc. He always said It is my pleasure that my children are free, happy and unrestrained by parental tyranny. Love is the chain whereby to bind a child to its parents.'”