Free «The Lincoln Assassination» Essay Sample

The Lincoln Assassination

The assassination of President Lincoln happened in 1865 on Easter. He visited Washington DC with the intent of watching a play. His wife, Mary Todd, accompanied him to watch the play. Their favorite joint was Ford’s Theatre. As they planned on how they could attend the theatre, Wilkes Booth was strategizing to assassinate President Lincoln. He had a chance to kill him owing to his acting role in the play. This provided him with an excellent opportunity to execute his evil plan. It is these developments that made Booth conspire to engage in a conspiracy and terminate President Lincoln’s life. In addition, he opted to involve three other people, namely Powell, Atzerodt, and Herold.

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During that time, the Civil War in America was about to end. Were they to succeed, President Lincoln would become the first president of the U.S. who was assassinated. Back in 1835, there was a botched attempt to kill President Jackson. The assassination of Lincoln, Seward, and Johnson would grind the American government to halt and stifle continuity (Helfand, Lewis, and Manikandan 112). Lewis and Herold were to be involved in the assassination of William Seward, who was the State Secretary. On the other hand, Atzerodt was to assassinate Andrew Johnson, the then Vice President. Eliminating Johnson, Seward, and Lincoln could cripple the entire U.S. government. Neither Lewis was able to kill Seward nor did Atzerodt manage to assassinate Johnson.

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On the other hand, Booth continued to monitor Lincoln as the play progressed. He took a derringer pistol as the play continued. Booth managed to find his way to where the president together with his wife was seated. Consequently, Booth killed him. The research paper will delve into the events surrounding the assassination of Lincoln.

Born in 1838, Booth was a racist, Confederate sympathizer as well as a Southerner. He detested everything President Lincoln advocated for, and this marked the beginning of his hatred towards the President. Booth blamed Lincoln for the ills that were bedeviling the South. All he needed was revenge. On March 1864, Ulysses Grant, the Union commanding general suspended exchange of war prisoners. This was upon the realization that such an exchange between the South and the North was prolonging the ongoing war through return of soldiers to the manpower-starved and outnumbered South. Booth planned to first kidnap President Lincoln. His intention was take him to Confederate Army. Holding Lincoln hostage would guarantee resumption of prisoners’ exchange between the North and the South. He recruited Surratt, Arnold, O’Laughlen, Atzerodt, Herold, and Powell. Lincoln often watched Booth performing in many different plays.

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Booth also attended the inauguration of President Lincoln in 1865 but could not succeed in killing him. The only feasible and excellent moment to execute the plan was to wait for him to attend the play. Together with the conspirators, they planned to kidnap and hold him hostage. Unluckily, President Lincoln failed to attend the play. During this period, the Confederacy was falling apart fast. It was on 3 April 1865 that the Union Army succeeded in capturing Richmond, the capital. The Southern army surrendered. The unfolding of such events endangered Jefferson, Confederate president, and his government. To them, this heralded their defeat by the troops of Major Grant. Moreover, the Southerners lost hope. Booth, together with the conspirators, did not abort their evil plan. Booth attended Lincoln’s speech in White House on 11 March 1865. In his speech, Lincoln supported enfranchisement of the former slaves (Stern 81). The U.S. government led by Lincoln was to allow black citizenship. This gave Booth and his friends a leeway to proceed with their plan. Booth went to pick some mails from the theatre. Here, he learnt that only Major Grant was going to escort Lincoln to watch the play. This would give Booth a room to actualize the malevolence. The theatre layout was familiar to him as he worked as an actor there.

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Luckily to Booth and his plotters, Lincoln and Grant would come to watch the play together. However, the Grants turned down the invitation. The plan by Booth and his schemers was ruined. Nevertheless, it was Rathbone and Clara who accepted accompanying the Lincolns. Booth and his plotters realized later that the Grants would not accompany the Lincolns to watch the play. They arrived later, and the hall was occupied by approximately 1,700 people. Frederick Parker was the police officer given the role of guarding the box. A break ensued where Parker went to a tavern with Lincoln’s footman and coachman. What transpired has never been clear. Booth successfully gained access to the Presidential Box. He managed to barricade the door behind him using some timber-made stick. The stick lodged between the wall and the door. Upon seeing Booth, Lincoln leaned forward (Helfand, Lewis, and Manikandan 54). Booth took advantage of the hysterical laughter that permeated the theatre to open the door and then creep forward to shoot Lincoln at a direct range. Booth mortally hurt Lincoln. The bullet struck his head hard behind his left ear and entered the skull. Accordingly, Lincoln fell unconscious. His wife grabbed him and started to scream hysterically after realizing what had happened.

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Rathbone grabbed Booth as he tried to escape. Booth flashed a sharp knife after dropping the pistol. He stabbed the Major Rathbone brutally in the left forearm. Rathbone recovered after sometime. He successfully managed to grab Booth’s coat again after a struggle. In the subsequent bedlam and hubbub, Booth was terribly injured. Major Stewart began pursuing him as he was trying to run away. The screams notified people in attendance that there was something wrong. Actually, something terrible had occurred. Chaos started and people began chasing Booth who was then trying to escape.

Unfortunately, they could not manage to catch him. Booth successfully exited the Ford’s Theatre. Upon getting outside, he stabbed William Withers. After getting out of the theatre, Booth rode a horse that was waiting him (Pitman 68). He then struck Joseph Burroughs. Burroughs was holding Booth’s horse.

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