Another view of John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth the failure?

John Wilkes Booth the failure?

I have written previously about John Wilkes Booth and what may have motivated him to murder Lincoln. I don’t believe he was insane or crazy. He was a man possessed by beliefs. He saw Lincoln as a tyrant. He thought Lincoln was the cause of all the South’s problems. He held Lincoln responsible for the spilled blood of the war. He shot Lincoln because he felt honor bound to do so. He said it was his “duty.”
Booth is often portrayed as a very successful man of his time. In fact, he was so. He made a substantial salery for the standard of that day. He was popular and sought after. He enjoyed the “good life.” And, he gave it all up for his “mission” to kill Lincoln.
According to author Constance Head, maybe this portrait of Booth is wrong-or at least not the complete story. Head contends that Booth was a “vastly confused and unhappy man.”  In the essay “John Wilkes Booth, 1864: Prologue to Assassination” the author describes Booth as follows:
“Deeply dissillusioned by his recurring bouts of ill health and by the succession of difficulties he had suffered in his chosen profession the previous spring, he was very likely tormented by fears that he would again face vocal problems should he attempt to return permanently to the stage. His ventures in the oil fields had simply heaped additional disaster upon him. He was, moreover, caught in the web of a difficult romance…”  “Beneath the facade, he was miserable; and hanging like a dark cloud over his own disrupted young life was the seemingly inevitable defeat of his beloved south. It is altogether likely, then, that Booth’s motivation for plotting against Lincoln is deeply rooted in his desire to escape his own personal difficulties…”
While it is interesting to learn what may have influenced Booth to commit murder, it doesn’t excuse him. We are not used to hearing of John Wilkes Booth as “unhappy” and basically failing in life. Everything about him seemed to say he was such a success. I wonder if his personal life had been better would he still have assassinated President Lincoln?
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2 Responses to “Another view of John Wilkes Booth”

  1. Richerd says:

    i love john wilkes booth he is my hero im am sad he is dead i will use my magical powers to make him come back from the dead

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