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Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination research paper due and don’t know how to start it? How about like this?

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln attended the play "Our American Cousin" at Washington D.C.'s Ford Theatre with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. During the performance, John Wilkes Booth, a popular actor, shot Lincoln in the back of the head. Booth sympathized with the Confederacy during the Civil War. He hoped that killing the President would reinvigorate the South's attempt to gain independence. President Lincoln died the next morning.

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination

Booth and Killing Lincoln

Booth's decision to kill President Lincoln shocked the United States for two important reasons.

  1. First of all, Abraham Lincoln was the first president to be successfully assassinated. President Andrew Jackson was once targeted by an assailant in 1835 but the assassination attempt was unsuccessful. Lincoln's death demonstrated that even the leader of the nation was susceptible to a mortal attack. Lincoln's assassination was mourned around the country.
  2. Lincoln's assassination occurred less than a week after Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses Grant. Many people expected the end of the war to lead to a period of relative quiet. However, Lincoln's death shattered the peace and caused political turmoil. Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's Vice President, assumed the Presidency and proved very unpopular. Johnson, in turn, would become the first President of the United States to be impeached by Congress.

Beloved Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is one of our most beloved Presidents because he ultimately had a clear moral center, which he based on the Founding Fathers, giving rise to the better angels of our American character.
In July of 1862, Lincoln finally moved to the position that something needed to be done about slavery.  Lincoln also said that if he could win the war without freeing any slaves, or freeing some, he would do so.  However, he recognized that a blow needed to be struck at the Confederacy, one that would weaken them internally and internationally.  Therefore he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. However, on the advice of his cabinet, Lincoln agreed to table the document.  His reasoning was the he needed a decisive military victory to support the emancipation movement.  Were he to issue it in July, it would seem the desperate act of a losing side.  By holding on to the Proclamation until after Antietam, he elevated the Civil War into a moral struggle.  In doing so, Lincoln led the government in a series of baby steps, rather than one disastrous leap.

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