Last week I wrote about the irony of the outcome in John Wilkes Booth’s deed in murdering Lincoln. He thought that he would hailed as a hero- but instead was largely condemned for his actions. Abraham Lincoln became a “secular saint” while Booth was being likened to the Devil. I also mentioned Booth’s timing in committing the assassination on Easter weekend-inspiring the comparisons between Lincoln and Christ. However, it should also be further noted that Booth did have those who supported what he had done-although to vocalize that support carried it’s risks. There were those who stated publically that they agreed with what Booth had done and were imprisoned and/or treated very badly. Carl Sandburg mentions that Booth did receive some approval for Lincoln’s killing in the book Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and The War Years Illustrated Edition. Sandburg notes:
“…Booth had not entirely miscalculated. A small extremist minority element North and South exulted over his deed. New York, the major draft-riot city, saw more of this tumult than other places. From coast to coast, however, there was a Copperhead minority to whom Booth was a hero. The Lincoln-haters at first had no notion of how crushed with grief, how exquisitely sensitive, were an overwhelming number of Lincoln loyalists.” page 430
has his supporters. At AbesBlogCabin.org I receive a steady stream of comments from readers who think Booth acted morally and that Abraham Lincoln deserved to be killed. People are sometimes surprised when I tell them this. The fact is, there are many today who hate Lincoln. Some of them state that they hate him for the very reason most consider him the greatest president in United States history- for freeing the slaves. Others talk about how he “started the Civil War” and “caused” thousands to die. Still others cite Lincoln’s “unconstitutional actions” during his tenure in office. It seems to me that these objections were pretty much the same as those voiced by Booth. I don’t mean to imply, by the way, that the modern anti-Lincoln folks condone Lincoln’s murder-clearly not all do-but like I said-some do.
The Bible gives us the conclusion that “there is nothing new under the sun.” When it comes to many things about Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War-that seems to be true. In the end, we as individuals sort out what we think happened and why. We come to our own conclusions; don’t we? It’s amazing that we are still talking about these things some 150 years later. But then again, the issues that existed then are still with us today is many respects. Was Booth a hero? Not in my opinion. If you have deemed him to be, I respectfully disagree with your choice. I would want you to give me the same respect also.Mail this post