Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the U.S. He was assassinated on April 14th by a popular actor, John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln had attended the play titled Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in U.S’s capital, Washington, D.C. According to historians, Booth shot Lincoln in the head as he was watching the stage play at around 10 pm. Lincoln warned the South in his Inaugural Address: In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. Booth escaped in the midst of the ensuing confusion as people concentrated on the injured president. Lincoln eventually passed on the following morning at 7:22 a.m. Different scholars and analysts have pondered through the matter and come up with different arguments and opinions. This project requires extensive research on this event and the ones that followed.
In accordance with various researches, it is believed that the assassination was just but a part of a larger conspiracy designated by Booth (Brown, 2016). The conspiracy floundered around the assassination of three most important government officials. David Herold and Lewis Powell were the other conspirators though other scholars argue that their team included a number of people in the background who participated inactively (Brown, 2016).
The vivid description that people tend to get when they look at illustrations depicting the event is mostly false according to some. Some analysts assert that the arts were mere pictures and nothing more. No one knew the actual truth and there was still need for further research on the story (Woodbury, 2017). One argument that sprouted here was the matter in which Booth escaped. When he shot down Lincoln, it is accorded that he jumped from the box where the president, together with his wife and other government officials were watching, to the stage where he fled using the back exit. Many argue that Booth was forced to jump to the stage from the presidential box as he had barricaded other exists from the inside (Johnson, 2018). This made it difficult for help to reach the injured president. Furthermore, it gave Booth the ample time he needed to escape in the ensued confusion.
A number many of historians agree with this part of the story as evidence was vivid. However, some argue that the rest of the story was difficult to be confirmed. Michael W. Kaufman in American Brutus estimated the probability of the crowd in the theatre to be above 1,000 (Woodbury, 2017). Kaufman argues that this magnitude was large enough to provide accurate findings on what exactly transpired (Woodbury, 2017). Nevertheless, many of the eyewitness accounts differed by far and this sprouted further confusion in the process. He suggested that the reason behind this would likely be that the crowd was too mentally flabbergasted to fully process what was going on as everything happened in a flash.
Another argument that came up concerned the manner in which Booth got away. Very few historians agree on this matter. Yan (2015) affirms that the jump Booth took from the presidential box to the stage was rather too treacherous. The jump was estimated to be approximately 12 feet high. He believes that the perpetrator lowered himself to the stage on a flagstaff rather than jumping. Kaufman, on the other hand, replicated the jump using a 12 foot ladder as he investigated the jump and came to conclude that it was not that high as Booth did not injure himself. Booth himself claimed to have broken his legs in the fall. Johnson (2018) suggests that Booth was fine after this and had compelling evidence to support his point. Out of all the witnesses that saw Booth flee, a few of them saw him proceed in pain and anguish while others swore that he did not seem hurt. The sundry is still unsure of the true account.
With regards to Booth’s escape, it seemed improbable for a mere stage actor to efficaciously carry out the operation and get away with it. The room was full of people and to add salt to injury, a good fraction of them were well skilled U.S soldiers such that it would have only taken a couple of minutes to catch up with the perpetrator. Yet somehow, Booth managed to flee. The most logical theory was argued by Yan (2015) who accords that Booth gained immeasurable advantage from the audience’s shock. He was out of the scene even before half of the audience realized that the president was down. Those who were close failed to react quickly and the few seconds gave Booth the space he desperately needed to escape.
In conclusion, there are different accounts that explain how the assassination of Lincoln took place. Many historians agree that the conspirators must have had immense help from inside to successfully carry out the plan. This was just but a part of a larger conspiracy intended to change the country’s course of history. Political researchers were left to theorize what the U.S would have been if Lincoln had survived. Adversely, it is important to note that even though the picture revealing the assassination of Lincoln was vividly clear, the actual facts were omitted and according to many, will remain murky.
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