The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (April 14, 1865) - History Key

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (April 14, 1865)

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in Hodgenville, Kentucky. He was raised in a poor family and by the age of 22 he left his home focusing on education. In the 1830s he was already a self-governed lawyer, leader of the Whig Party and a federal congressman for a mandate in the 1840s. While he was a congressman he promoted a quick modernization of the economy, a development plan of the banking system, construction of railroads and fabrics and also opposed to Mexican-American war in 1846.

The 16th President of the United States

Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln © Alexander Gardner/Image Source: Wikipedia

Thanks to his actions while he was a congressman, Lincoln ensured his candidacy for presidency in 1860. Despite the fact that he didn’t have any support from the states where slavery was legal, Lincoln won the elections and became the 16th President of the United States. His primary goal in his first candidacy was to reunite the states and to end the slavery. One of the most memorable actions was pushing through Congress the “Thirteenth Amendment to the United States”, which eliminated slavery. In 1864, Lincoln managed to win the elections again, despite the fact the war was still being waged. Lincoln’s’ speeches and actions regarded to blacks’ rights weren’t seen too well by certain politicians. This led to certain conspiracies, more exactly the secret service of the Confederation planned to kidnap Lincoln.

The kidnapping plan becomes a murdering plan

John Wickes Booth was a popular actor and also a spy for the Confederation from Maryland. Because of his support, Booth planned to kidnap Lincoln in order to release some confederate prisoners. On April 11, 1865, Lincoln gave a speech about the human rights and he promoted the black’s rights. After Booth heard the speech he changed his initial plan. From that day Booth’s plan was to murder Lincoln.

The assassination scene of a president

A few days later, on April 14, the President attended a play (”Our American Cousin”) at Ford’s Theatre as a celebration that the American Civil War was nearly finished. Without his main bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon, Lincoln was protected by John Parker who left the theatre during his mission to have a drink somewhere near. This moment was perfect for Booth and he took advantage of the opportunity seeing that Lincoln was unguarded at the balcony. Booth went straight upstairs and aimed at the back of Lincoln’s head and fired in a couple of seconds. Right after the shooting, major Henry Rathbone tried to catch him but he was stabbed by Booth, so the murderer escaped right from the murder scene. Booth was found 12 days after the incident. He refused to surrender and he was killed by sergeant Boston Colbert.

Surgeon Charles Leale arrived at the scene and he tried to help the dying President. He found out the Lincoln was unconscious, his breathing was barely noticeable and his pulse was undetectable. After Charles Leale determined that Lincoln was shot and not stabbed, as initially thought, he tried to clear the blood clot. After he managed to clear the blood clot, Lincoln’s breathing was more natural. Unfortunately, after being in a coma for nine hours, Lincoln died the next day, on April 15 at 7:22 AM.

A national funeral

Funeral train of Abraham Lincoln
Funeral train of Abraham Lincoln

Funeral train of Abraham Lincoln © Image Source: Wikipedia

Lincoln’s body was covered in the national U.S. flag and was escorted by Union officers to the White House on a rainy day. At 10:00 AM, vice president Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States. For three weeks, a “funeral train” decorated in black, carried Lincoln’s remains from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois and stopped at several cities. Many people gathered to show their sadness and their respect for one of the most beloved presidents. Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated and the third to die in office.

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