ReviewEssays.com - Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays
Search

John Wilkes Booth

Essay by review  •  March 1, 2011  •  Essay  •  954 Words (4 Pages)  •  779 Views

Essay Preview: John Wilkes Booth

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

John Wilkes Booth, born May 10, 1838, was an actor who performed throughout the country in many plays. He was the lead in some of William Shakespeare's most famous works. Additionally, he was a racist and Southern sympathizer during the Civil War. He hated Abraham Lincoln who represented everything Booth was against. Booth blamed Lincoln for all the South's ills. He wanted revenge.

In late summer of 1864 Booth began developing plans to kidnap Lincoln, take him to Richmond (the Confederate capital), and hold him in return for Confederate prisoners of war. By January, 1865, Booth had organized a group of co-conspirators that included Samuel Arnold, Michael O'Laughlen, John Surratt, Lewis Powell (also called Lewis Paine or Payne), George Atzerodt, and David Herold. Additionally, Booth met with Dr. Samuel Mudd both in Maryland (where Mudd lived) and Washington, and he began using Mary Surratt's boardinghouse to meet with his co-conspirators.

On March 17, 1865, the group planned to capture Lincoln who was scheduled to attend a play at a hospital located on the outskirts of Washington. However, the President changed plans and remained in the capital. Thus, Booth's plot to kidnap Lincoln failed.

On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox. Two days later Lincoln spoke from the White House to a crowd gathered outside. Booth was present as Lincoln suggested in his speech that voting rights be granted to certain blacks. Infuriated, Booth's plans now turned in the direction of assassination.

On the morning of Friday, April 14, Booth dropped by Ford's Theatre and learned that the President and General Grant were planning to attend the evening performance of Our American Cousin. He held one final meeting with his co-conspirators. He said he would kill Lincoln at the theatre (he had since learned that Grant had left town). Atzerodt was to kill Vice-President Andrew Johnson at the Kirkwood House where Johnson resided. Powell was assigned to kill Secretary of State William Seward. Herold would accompany Powell. All attacks were to take place simultaneously at approximately 10:15 P.M. that night. Booth hoped the resulting chaos and weakness in the government would lead to a comeback for the South.

The Presidential party arrived at Ford's at about 8:30 P.M. Armed with a single shot derringer and a hunting knife, Booth arrived at Ford's at about 9:30 P.M. Joseph Burroughs, a boy who worked at the theatre, held his horse in the rear alley. Booth went next door to a saloon for a drink. He entered the front of Ford's Theatre around 10:07 P.M. Slowly he made his way toward the State Box where the Lincolns were sitting with Clara Harris and Henry Rathbone. Lincoln's bodyguard, John Parker of the Metropolitan Police Force, had left his post. At about 10:15 P.M. Booth opened the door to the State Box, shot Lincoln in the back of the head at near point-blank range, and struggled with Rathbone. Booth stabbed Rathbone in the arm and jumped approximately 11 feet to the stage below. When he hit the floor he snapped the fibula bone in his left leg just above the ankle. Many in the theatre thought he yelled "Sic Semper Tyrannis" (Latin for "As Always to Tyrants"). Mrs. Lincoln screamed, Booth flashed his knife at the audience, and he made his way across the stage in front of more than 1,000 people. Everything happened so fast no one had time to stop him.

...

...

Download as:   txt (5.6 Kb)   pdf (88 Kb)   docx (11.1 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on ReviewEssays.com
Citation Generator

(2011, 03). John Wilkes Booth. ReviewEssays.com. Retrieved 03, 2011, from https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/John-Wilkes-Booth/44783.html

"John Wilkes Booth" ReviewEssays.com. 03 2011. 2011. 03 2011 <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/John-Wilkes-Booth/44783.html>.

"John Wilkes Booth." ReviewEssays.com. ReviewEssays.com, 03 2011. Web. 03 2011. <https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/John-Wilkes-Booth/44783.html>.

"John Wilkes Booth." ReviewEssays.com. 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011. https://www.reviewessays.com/essay/John-Wilkes-Booth/44783.html.