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Anton van Leeuwenhoek was born in the town of Delft, Holland, in 1632.  He had a rather unusual background for a scientist, beginning in the cloth trade in Amsterdam, and then becoming City Chamberlain of his native town.  He became interested in the making of microscopes, however, and used them enthusiastically in his studies almost until his death in 1723.

It is probably true to say that no scientific publication during the nineteenth century started a bigger storm of general protest and argument than a book produced in 1859.

Abraham Lincoln, a self-taught Illinois lawyer and legislator with a reputation as an eloquent opponent of slavery, shocked many when he overcame several more prominent contenders to win the Republican Party's nomination for president in 1860. His election that November pushed several Southern states to secede by the time of his inauguration in March 1861, and the Civil War began barely a month later. Contrary to expectations, Lincoln proved to be a shrewd military strategist and a savvy leader during what became the costliest conflict ever fought on American soil.

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