22 March 2013
Negative Effects of the Lincoln Assassination
Soon after President Abraham Lincoln died on Good Friday, April 15, 1865, the fatal bullet with which he was murdered was removed. Dr. Curtis, one of the doctors who performed the procedure, later wrote, “‘There it [the bullet] lay upon the white china, a little black mass no bigger than the end of my finger—dull, motionless and harmless, yet the cause of such mighty changes in the world’s history as we may perhaps never realize’” (Swanson 135). The doctor was correct in his statement that Lincoln’s death would have substantial and far-reaching effects. The assassination of the sixteenth president of the United States of America had many negative results that affected people all over the country. Although John Wilkes Booth thought he was helping the South, his assassination of President Lincoln brought hardship to the entire nation.
The Lincoln assassination brought ignominy to Lincoln’s family. The family had experienced deaths of two loved ones before, when Lincoln’s sons Eddie and Willie died in 1850 and 1862, respectively. The death of Lincoln himself seemingly brought a curse on his family. The most noticeable effect was on his wife, Mary. Author James Swanson lists several ways in which Mary was put to shame after his death:
During the months after Mary left Washington, there were rumors that she had plundered the White House of valuables; and in 1867, a scheme she hatched with Elizabeth Keckly to exhibit her dresses for money [. . .] made her a national laughingstock. [. . .]
Mary continued to live as an unsettled wanderer, spending much of her time in Europe. Irrationally, she believed herself destitute. She made mad, vicious accusations of dishonesty and theft against her son Robert, which led him to have her committed to a sanitarium for four months in 1875. [. . .] She finally returned to Springfield and moved into the home of her sister, Elizabeth Todd Edwards. It was
Cited: Curry, Angus. "The Lincoln Assassination and Its Aftermath." American Civil War Roundtable of Australia. American Civil War Roundtable of Australia, 2006. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. . "The Effect of President Lincoln 's Death on National Affairs." New York Times 17 Apr. 1865: n. pag. Web. 12 Feb. 2013. . Foner, Eric. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. New York: Norton, 2010. Print. Kunhardt, Philip B., III. "Lincoln 's Contested Legacy." Smithsonian Magazine. Smithsonian Institution, Feb. 2009. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. . McKinney, Cynthia. "Slavery, Segregation and Reparation." Race, Racism and the Law. Race, Racism and the Law, 11 Aug. 2001. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. . "Reconstruction." The History Channel Website. A&E Television Networks, 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. . Swanson, James. Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln 's Corpse. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Print. Titone, Nora. My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy. New York: Simon, 2010. Print.