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Abraham Lincoln: The Assassination of a Hero

The Death of a Hero

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln - Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863.jpg
Portrait of Abraham Lincoln – Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Abraham_Lincoln_November_1863.jpg

150 years ago the United States lost one of its greatest presidents, a president who had turned the world upside down to rid the United States of slavery. On April 14, 1865 in Ford’s Theatre, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close, Abraham Lincoln decided to unwind following the four stressful years of war which had devoured his energy. He sat victorious in the Presidential Box watching the play Our American Cousin with his wife…

Portrait of the Lincoln Assassnation by CORBIS - Source: http://www.history.com/images/media/slideshow/abraham-lincoln/abraham-lincoln-shot.jpg
Portrait of the Lincoln Assassnation by CORBIS – Source: http://www.history.com/images/media/slideshow/abraham-lincoln/abraham-lincoln-shot.jpg

… Charles Sabin Taft and Charles Leale cut away Lincoln’s blood-stained collar and opened his shirt, Leale discovered a bullet hole in the back of his head right next to his left ear. Eventually, realising the bullet was lodged too deep into Lincoln’s skull, Leale finally announced that it made no difference: ”His wound is mortal, It is impossible for him to recover.”

Depiction of Lincoln on his deathbed - Source: http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/1-president-lincolns-deathbed-war-is-hell-store.jpg
Depiction of Lincoln on his deathbed – Source: http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/1-president-lincolns-deathbed-war-is-hell-store.jpg

John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered has massive army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War. Following this, Booth escaped and one of the largest manhunts in history had begun, with 10,000 police, detectives and federal troops tracking down the assassin to bring him to justice for killing a man who freed a nation. News of the assassination travelled across the nation at a rapid pace, by the end of the day, flags across the country flew at half mast, it completely change the attitudes of the public who recently rejoiced at the end of the Civil War were now mourning the end of their beloved president.

Portrait of John Wilkes Booth - Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/John_Wilkes_Booth-portrait.jpg
Portrait of John Wilkes Booth – Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/John_Wilkes_Booth-portrait.jpg

Although his life was cut short, Lincoln’s life is celebrated by many and is widely considered to be (along with George Washington and Franklin D. Roosevelt) one of the greatest presidents of the United States. Along with John F. Kennedy,

Current Views

As you would imagine, the long term effects of the American Civil War and the assassination of Lincoln has different implications from the south to the north. Interestingly, in 2005 Goodrich concluded ”For millions of people, particularly in the South, it would be decades before the impact of the Lincoln assassination began to release its terrible hold on their lives.” (Goodrich 2005: p. 289) Concluding from his texts he also believed the majority of Northerners viewed Booth as a madman or monster who murdered the saviour of the Union, while in the South, many cursed Booth for bringing upon them the harsh revenge of an incensed North instead of a reconciliation promised by Lincoln, (Goodrich 2005: p. 294) which I believe as a man of his word, Lincoln would deliver, but his death brought the wrath of the North to clampdown on the old outdated views of the South. Lets not forget however although the war was fought for a good cause from a Union standpoint, it was among the deadliest conflicts and would cost some 750,000 American lives, a figure which counts for everyone as if the Confederates won that statistic would have been compromised by who the viewed as American. It cost more casualties for the American people than all other American conflicts combined.

Lincoln could have been Kidnapped

After doing some reading on the assassination and the weird and eerie coincidental events that happened, I found out John Wilkes Booth actually initially planned to kidnap the President. When the 1864 Presidential election was drawing closer, the chance for a Confederate victory was becoming futile and Booth in particular could not stand the prospect of Lincoln continuing as president. He hated Lincoln who he blamed for the war and all the problems in the South. Interestingly, Booth began to formulate plans to kidnap Lincoln from his summer residence at the Old Soldier’s Home, three miles from the White House, and to smuggle him to Richmond across the Potomac River. The whole point of the kidnap would be to exchange Lincoln for Confederate prisoners held captive in prisons of the North, he would have also used it to force Union recognition of the Confederate government. (G. C. Ward: 1990, pp. 361-363).

I did mention the weird and eerie coincidences that surrounded the Lincoln assassination, History have provided a good list of some of those things which if you consider them all together then it is quite creepy:

http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-abraham-lincoln

This article is very brief and for this I apologise as Lincoln deserved better, I will begin to post better articles on Lincoln however I’m cut short by work and this was just poor time management. If you know of any strange facts on Abraham Lincoln then please feel free to comment of add to the post itself. I will probably add to the article, and make it into a substantial piece of writing. 🙂

Sources

Ward, Geoffrey C. (1990). The Civil War – an illustrated history. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

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