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Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln

What are the most salient events leading up to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln?

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John Wilkes Booth, born May 10, 1838, was an actor who performed throughout the country in many plays. He was the lead in some of William Shakespeare's most famous works. Additionally, he was a racist and Southern sympathizer during the Civil War. He hated Abraham Lincoln who represented everything Booth was against. Booth blamed Lincoln for all the South's ills. He wanted revenge.

In late summer of 1864 Booth began developing plans to kidnap Lincoln, take him to Richmond (the Confederate capital), and hold him in return for Confederate prisoners of war. By January, 1865, Booth had organized a group of co-conspirators that included Samuel Arnold, Michael O'Laughlen, John Surratt, Lewis Powell (also called Lewis Paine or Payne), George Atzerodt, and David Herold. Additionally, Booth met with Dr. Samuel Mudd both in Maryland (where Mudd lived) and Washington, and he began using Mary Surratt's boardinghouse to meet with his co-conspirators.

On March 17, 1865, the group planned to capture Lincoln who was scheduled to attend a play at a hospital located on the outskirts of Washington. However, the President changed plans and remained in the capital. Thus, Booth's plot to kidnap Lincoln failed.

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. Two days later Lincoln spoke from the White House to a crowd gathered outside. Booth was present as Lincoln suggested in his speech that voting rights be granted to certain blacks. Infuriated, Booth's plans now turned in the direction of assassination.

On the morning of Friday, April 14, Booth dropped by Ford's Theatre and learned that the President and General Grant were planning to attend the evening performance of Our ...

Solution Summary

This solution identifies and discusses the most salient events leading up to John Wilkes Booth's assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.