Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

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Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

Introduction

Any type of leadership is often characterized by different forms of oppositions that stem from the conflict of interests. This is a common characteristic of any society and it is ingrained in the diversity and differences in personality that characterizes humanity. However, this has the capacity to culminate in far reaching implications if it is left to persist for a long period of time. In particular, it does not only threaten social cohesion that is fundamental for sustainable living but it also undermines the security of the individuals in power.

Lincoln’s assassination is a classic example of the extent of this type of opposition. Although he was an ideal leader whose mode of leadership was admired b various individuals, it is certain that the segment of the population that was opposed to his leadership could explore all possibilities to ensure that his ideologies are brought to an end. Notably, they were opposed to his mode of leadership and this contributed significantly to their feelings of contempt for him. It is in this consideration that this paper presents an explicit analysis of his assassination and underscores the events that characterized the same.

Lincoln Abraham was the first American president to be assassinated on 14th April 1865. This mission was carried out by a confederate sympathizer and actor, John Booth who conspired with George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell. The other government officials that the trio planned to assassinate were Andrew Johnson who was the vice president and William Seward, the secretary of state. The assassination took place at the Ford’s center while he was watching a performance together with two guests and his wife.

Initially, Goodwin indicates that Booth had planned to kidnap the president and not to kill him[1]. As indicated earlier, Booth was a confederate sympathizer who was angered by Grant’s suspension of the much awaited exchange of the prisoners of war that was expected to take place in 1864. This had massive implications with the most profound being the cut off of the imperative reinforcement for the manpower than was required to provide reinforcement in the south.

This was also perpetuated by the fact that the soldiers in the south had limited resources and led desperate lives. Thus Booth’s initial thought was to kidnap Lincoln and hold him hostage to the south. This according to Jim would make the government to review its previous policy about the exchange of the soldiers[2].  His close associations with Lucy Hale gave him a chance to monitor the operations of the president and make plans accordingly. However, these initial plans were cut short after Booth attended Lincoln’s speech that supported the idea of according African Americans equal voting rights. He became furious and swore that instead of kidnapping him, he would simply assassinate him.

On the day of the assassination, Kauffman recounts that the president was in a very jovial mood[3]. This was atypical of him as in the past, he had been very pale. Before proceeding to his daily activities, he held a meeting with his cabinet and then with the vice president whom they had not met since his day of inauguration. This was because the president was annoyed with his drunken state on this important day. Booth found out about the president’s plan to attend the Ford Theatre and watch “Our American Cousin” at noon. He decided that this provided the right environment to assassinate the president together with his allies. He believed that the plot would be a success because he knew the layout of the theatre and had even performed there in the previous month. According to Goodwin, Booth believed that his would give the confederacy an opportunity to mount resurgence[4].

Booth proceeded to Washington DC and ordered for the preparation for his gun and ammunition in readiness for the operation in the evening. In the evening, he held a meeting with Atzerodt, Powel and Herold. According to their plan of action, Seward was to be killed by Powell and Johnson by Atzerodt. Herold was to play a critical role of leading Powell to the house of Seward and guiding them out of the city together with Powell after the action. Booth planned to Stab Grant using his knife and shoot Lincoln. Booth insisted that this needed to be done simultaneously after a few minutes past ten at night. Goodwin cites that despite the fact that Atzerodt made attempts to back off from the plan on the premise that had not been informed that the entire plan would involve killing, Booth insisted that it was late and as such nothing could be done to change the plans[5].

Lincoln attended the play with his wife, Cara Harris and her father Major Henry Rathbone. The Grants were absent because of the fact that Mrs. Lincoln was not in good terms with Grant’s wife. A policeman named Parker was assigned the duty of guarding the President’s box but left with his coachman. Sandburg posits that it is not clear whether he was on duty at the time the president was shot[6]. Since booth knew the play very well, he waited for perfect moment when the gun shot would not be heard by the audience. When this moment reached, he took a practical action and shot Lincoln on his head. Immediately, the president slumped in his chair and was unconscious. His wife had a look at him and screamed.

On seeing this, Rathbone made rushed forward and made an effort to prevent Booth from escaping. However, Booth used his knife to stab him on the arm violently. Nonetheless, Rathbone recovered quickly and again made efforts to stop Booth from escaping but this were again stabbed.  He jumped from the rill box and landed on the stage in an awkward manner. Despite.............


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