Abraham Lincoln, Americans 16th president, was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, on April 14, 1865. The death of Abraham Lincoln plunged the country into despair, especially the African Americans. Several theories have been theorized, explaining the exact motives for Booth’s assassination of Abraham Lincoln. One account points out his desire to avenge the South. At the same time, another highlights that Booth’s motivation is partly linked to sibling rivalry with his famous brother, a fine actor Edwin Booth who was a loyal unionist. Other accounts state that John Wilkes Booth was a fervent believer in the supremacy of the white race and passionately supported the slave system. Other historical accounts highlight that Booth’s admired the abolitionist John Brown.
It follows that on the evening of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, his wife, and other guests were watching a comedy, Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre, in the presidential booth. Learning that the president was at Ford’s Theater, Booth made his way to the presidential box and shot Abraham Lincoln at the back of the head with a. 44 caliber derringer. Besides Lincoln’s assassination, multiple other attacks had been planned simultaneously, including the assassination of Lincoln’s top officials, including; the vice president Andrew Johnson General Grant, and the secretary of state William Seward. It appears that Booth and his accomplice plotted the murders believing that simultaneous assassinations of the top officials in Lincoln’s administration would fragment the Republican Party and the North into chaos long enough to force a settlement on the ongoing civil war. Ultimately, the group only managed to kill Abraham Lincoln and severely injured the Secretary of State William Seward.
In essence, John Wilkes Booth had made several failed attempts on President Abraham Lincoln long before the assassination. After Abraham Lincoln’s reelection in 1864, booth devised a plan to kidnap the president and take him to Richmond, where he was ransomed in exchange for Confederate prisoners. In the winter of 1864, Booth enlisted a group of friends to help him in his endeavors. Booth and his accomplice devised a set of plans. The first involved capturing Abraham Lincoln in his presidential box and lowering him with ropes on the stage. However, eventually, Booth gave up on both plans and instead spent more than $10,000 to purchase outfits for his kidnappers. Nonetheless, both plans were futile. Another ploy was set on March the 17th to capture Abraham Lincoln as he traveled in his carriage; however, the plan collapsed when the president switched his itinerary.
Before the plans, on April 11, the president had made a speech, informing the public that Robert E. Lee had surrendered the Northern Virginia army. After struggling for years, it was clear that the Union would triumph. In his speech, Lincoln’s also highlighted his renewed ideologies of rebuilding the nation, integrating both African-Americans and the Confederate states into the Union, and extending voting rights to African-Americans literates. It is believed that Booth stood amongst the audience, and the notion seemed to have amplified his rage. So with the fall of Richmond, the only viable plan would be for his co-conspirators and himself to carry out simultaneous assassinations to top officials. Abraham Lincoln ended up as being the only fatal victim of the planned attacks. With Lincoln’s death, the vice president Andrew Johnson ascended to the presidency. The country mourned for the loss of one man that contemporary historians believed could uniting the nations after four years of civil war.