Why Was Lincoln Assassinated?

Before talking about the WHY of the event, let’s talk about the WHEN, WHERE, HOW, and WHO.

When: April 14, 1865      10:00 PM

Where: Ford’s Theater, Washington D.C. , attending a special production of “Our American Cousin”.

How: Actor John Wilkes Booth, a Southern southern sympathizer, sneaked into the presidential box and shot Lincoln. The President was badly wounded. He had been shot through his left ear, and the bullet was stuck at the back of his right eye. He was carried to the Peterson’s Boarding House nearby, and he was declared dead the next day. Booth and his fellow accomplices escaped but were soon caught, and Booth was shot while trying to escape (Booth had also shattered his leg while escaping from the theater after he shot Lincoln). Lincoln was carried home to Springfield, IL, and at every place he passed through, there were people paying their respects and grieving the legendary president.

Who: John Wilkes Booth and his fellow co-conspirators, Lewis Paine, who attempted to kill the Secretary of State, George Atzerodt, David Herold, and Mary Surratt. Booth was shot while trying to escape and the rest were hanged.

WHY: Booth was a lover of the South, and he believed that if Lincoln was dead (or kidnapped, as were his original plans), the Union would be nicer to the Confederacy that had just surrendered. What Booth didn’t know was that Lincoln had been planning a very generous welcome-back, hence the 10% plan. Booth and his conspirators thought that slavery was good and that Lincoln should have left the South and its people alone. He also hated the fact that the South was in ruins economically and physically while the North was still rolling in dough. Booth and his conspirators tried to kill the VP and the Secretary of State too, among other people, and believed that these death would shatter the Union and create an opportunity for a rebound from the Confederacy.


USA. Library of Congress. The Assassination of President Lincoln. Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

“Lincoln Papers: Lincoln Assassination: Introduction.” Lincoln Papers: Lincoln Assassination: Introduction. Abraham Lincoln Papers, n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.

Assassination of President Lincoln. Digital image. Assassination of President Lincoln. The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2013.

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