U.S. History 1 H 4B
11 April 2013
Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination
The sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated on April 14, 1865. This period of time in American history will forever be marked by his tragic death. He was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer at Ford’s Theater. Booth, along with Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt planned to bring chaos among the federal government and have the Confederacy step in to overthrow them (Boardman, 1865). His plan succeeded in the death of President Lincoln. However, his scheme to overthrow the government backfired. Lincoln was not viewed very well by the people before his assassination. However, due to Booth’s decision to murder Abraham Lincoln, he was and still is considered and American hero because of his assassination. Abraham Lincoln grew up through a modern background of the 1800s. According to an unknown author of “Abraham Lincoln” on the history channel website, he was born in Hardin County, Kentucky on February 12, 1809. However, when he was seven, his family moved north to Indiana. Even though public education was newly popular at the time, Lincoln had very limited education due to the fact that he needed to provide for his family on their farm. Later in his life, Lincoln became more involved in politics after moving to Salem, Illinois. Lincoln soon established his political beliefs, became a member of the Whig party and was against slavery from the very beginning of his political career. The first job Lincoln had in government was as an Illinois states legislature in 1834. Due to his lack of education, Lincoln had to teach himself law. He moved to Springfield and became a lawyer. This is where he earned his legendary nickname “Honest Abe.” He soon met his future wife Mary Todd and they married in 1842.
Lincoln moved to Washington D.C. and the election into the House of Representatives in 1846. Even though Lincoln was not very well known in the elections at this time, he soon became popular over a series of debates between him and a political rival Stephen Douglass. In addition to his great ability of persuasion, Lincoln also won the northerners over with his anti-slavery beliefs as well. Over time, Lincoln was building a reputation for himself that divided the nation in half. The northern half of the nation loved Lincoln and his beliefs because they were mainly abolitionists. Seven southern states, according to “American Civil War”, seceded from the Union after Lincoln was elected in 1860. This essentially proves the point of Lincoln not being liked by many American citizens of the 1860’s.
Although the main reason for the Civil War was over slavery, many people forget that the nation was suffering from other disagreements as well. In an unknown author’s brief synopsis of the American Civil War, it states that many decades of building tension between the north and the south were due to issues such as state government versus federal authority and settlement west. Those states that seceded in 1860 called themselves the Confederate States of America and were quickly joined by more states after the war. “The Civil War proved to be the costliest war ever fought on American soil,” expresses the unknown author of “American Civil War.”
As the president, Lincoln had no problem supporting the north openly and honestly. His opinion on slavery had been known from the beginning. Most of what he wanted to come out of his presidency was equality for the slaves. On April 9, 1865, Lincoln succeeded in fulfilling his dream for America by bringing the Union to victory. From the words of James Gilden in Good Brother Bad Brother, that day was a great day for the Union sympathizers. In the small town of Appomattox, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Everywhere in the south, there was much mourning to say the least. On the other hand, the American Flag flew proudly in...
Cited: “Abraham Lincoln.” 2013. The History Channel website. Mar 20 2013, 7:09 http://www.history.com/topics/abraham-lincoln.
“Abraham Lincoln 's Assassination.” 2013. The History Channel website. Apr 13 2013, 1:14 http://www.history.com/topics/abraham-lincoln-assassination.
“American Civil War.” 2013. The History Channel website. Mar 20 2013, 7:10 http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war.
Boardman, George. 1865 . The Death of President Lincoln. Binghampton, N.Y.: F.N. Chase.
Hall, Gordon. 1865. President Lincoln 's Death: Its Voice to the People. Northampton, Mass.: Trumbull & Gere.
Oates, Stephen B. 1977. With Malice Toward None. Harper & Row.
Schwartz, Barry. 1991. “Mourning and the Making of a Sacred Symbol: Durkheim and the Lincoln Assassination,” Social Forces, 70, (2): 361.
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