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9 Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Transcript of 9 Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
John Wilkes Booth's Plan
Lincoln Goes To the Theater
A Deadly Show
The Manhunt Begins
The theater was later used as a warehouse and office building, and in 1893 part of it collapsed, causing 22 deaths. It was renovated and re-opened as a theater in 1968. During the 2000s, it was renovated again, opening on February 12, 2009, in commemoration of the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth.
The site was originally a house of worship, constructed in 1833 as the First Baptist Church of Washington, DC. In 1861, after the congregation moved to a newly built structure, John T. Ford bought the former church and renovated it into a theater. He first called it Ford's Athenaeum. It was destroyed by fire in 1862, and was rebuilt. Following the assassination, the US Government bought the theater from Ford for $88,000. They issued an order prohibiting the building's
use as a place of public amusement. Between 1866 and 1887, the theater was taken over by the U.S. military and served as a facility for the War Department with records kept on the first floor, the Library of the Surgeon General's Office on the second floor, and the Army Medical Museum on the third. In 1887, the building exclusively became a clerk's office for the War Department, when the medical departments moved out.
By surrendering, the Confederacy’s power was decreasing rapidly. Many citizens who were members of the Confederacy were losing hope, while others were fighting back as a last resort. One Confederate sympathizer named John Wilkes Booth came up with a plan to try and save the Confederacy. His original plan involved kidnapping President Abraham Lincoln and taking him to the Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia.
This attempt at a kidnapping was supposed to be done on March 20, 1865. Abraham Lincoln happened to luck out in this situation when he failed to attend the event where he was planned to be kidnapped. Once John Wilkes Booth first plan fell through, he had to create another plot. This plot consisted of assassinating President Lincoln when he was scheduled to attend Laura Keene’s performance of “Our American Cousin” at the Ford’s Theatre. It also included the murder of Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. In this plan, Abraham wasn’t so lucky. John Wilkes Booth was a famous actor, so when he attended Laura Keene’s performance it wasn’t unusual. Also because of his fame in the field of acting, he was able to enter certain parts of the theatre that a common man could not. These privileges had made Booth’s plan become easier to achieve.
It was after 8 when the Lincolns entered their carriage to drive to the theater. “I suppose it’s time to go,” Lincoln told Colfax, “though I would rather stay.” While nothing had provided greater diversion during the bitter nights of his presidency than the theater, Lincoln required no escape on this happy night. Still, he had made a commitment. “It has been advertised that we will be there,” he told his bodyguard, William Crook, who had the night off, “and I cannot disappoint the people.” Clara Harris—the daughter of Mary’s friend Senator Ira Harris—and her fiancé, Maj. Henry Rathbone, joined the Lincolns in their carriage.
Good Friday, April 14, 1865, was surely one of Abraham Lincoln’s happiest days. The morning began with a leisurely breakfast in the company of his son Robert. Lincoln said,. “The war is now closed, and we soon will live in peace with the brave men that have been fighting against us.”
At 11 a.m., Grant arrived at the White House to attend the regularly scheduled Friday cabinet meeting. Stanton later wrote that Lincoln seemed “more cheerful and happy” than at any previous cabinet meeting. Lincoln “spoke very kindly of General Lee and others of the Confederacy,” exhibiting “in marked degree the kindness and humanity of his disposition, and the tender and forgiving spirit that so eminently distinguished him.”
In the middle of the play that night, Booth slipped into the entryway to the President's box, holding a dagger in his left hand and a Derringer pistol in his right. He fired the pistol six inches from Lincoln and slashed Rathbone's arm with his knife. Booth then vaulted over the front of the President's box, caught his right leg in a flag and landed on the stage, breaking his leg. He waved his dagger and shouted what is reported to be SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS — Latin for “Thus ever to tyrants!" Some reported that he said, "The South is avenged." He then ran, limping, out of the theater, jumped on his horse, and rode off towards Virginia.
Several soldiers carried Lincoln to a boardinghouse across the street and placed him on a bed. When the surgeon general arrived at the house, he concluded that Lincoln could not be saved and would probably die during the night.
Vice President Andrew Johnson, members of Lincoln’s cabinet and several of the his closest friends stood vigil by the president’s bedside in the boardinghouse. The first lady lay on a bed in an adjoining room with her eldest son Robert at her side, overwhelmed with shock and grief.
Finally, Lincoln was pronounced dead at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865, at the age of 56.
Union soldiers were in pursuit of John Wilkes Booth. After fleeing the capital, he and an accomplice, David Herold, headed toward southern Maryland. The pair stopped at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated Booth’s broken leg. They then sought refuge from Thomas A. Jones, a Confederate agent, before securing a boat to row across the Potomac to Virginia.
On April 26, Union troops surrounded the Virginia farmhouse where Booth and Herold were hiding out and set fire to it, hoping to flush the fugitives out. Herold surrendered but Booth remained inside. As the blaze intensified, a sergeant shot Booth in the neck, allegedly because the assassin had raised his gun as if to shoot.
Booth was carried out of the building alive and lingered for three hours before gazing at his hands and uttering his last words: “Useless, useless.”
Four of Booth’s co-conspirators were convicted for their part in the assassination and executed by hanging on July 7, 1865. They included David Herold and Mary Surratt, the first woman put to death by the federal government, whose boardinghouse had served as a meeting place for the would-be kidnappers.
What were some events that occurred that helped to shape Reconstruction?
I can explain what some events were that helped to shape Reconstruction.
"I can" Statement