Just days before Lincoln’s death he uttered the words, “With malice toward none…” but those words didn’t move John Wilkes Booth. Discover the last days of the Lincoln Presidency.
A country divided, battered, exhausted, limping towards the end of the bloodiest war in American history.
“With malice toward none, with charity, for all. Let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds.” Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln’s second inaugural speech is attended by thousands of citizens eager for their president’s inspiring words to illuminate the path forward. But Lincoln, as often was the case during his presidency is under threat. In the crowd looks John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer who is planning an attack with other conspirators that will change the course of the nation.
Take a journey into this pivotal time. Lincoln’s Last Days.
April 14th, 1865: John Wilkes Booth slips into the presidential box at Ford’s Theater and discharges a single bullet from a pocket pistol into the back of Abraham Lincoln’s head. At 7:22 the next morning, death close the scene.
No President had ever been assassinated. It was a brutal act that shocked America. And while the country was stunned, had Lincoln seen this unthinkable act coming, Lincoln had always had his detractors. His election in 1860 was so controversial that it proved to be a major trigger of the Civil War. His family and advisors often worried for his safety, even warning him of potential killers before the first inauguration. Rarely seen personal letters show that outwardly, Lincoln projected confidence. “I will take care of myself,” he assured his Secretary of War only days before his death. But internally, Lincoln’s dreams were filled with ominous signs.
In the final weeks of his life, Lincoln relayed a vision of death that would become his own. The corpse of an unidentified president murdered by an assassin. And on the day of his assassination, president Lincoln recalls a curious dream to his cabinet. One he had remembered for weeks, in which he seemed to be in some indescribable vessel, moving with great rapidity toward an indefinite shore. But these visions didn’t stop Lincoln from conducting the president’s business. After the official end of the Civil War, he was full of activity, sending out many letters and signing important documents.
Lincoln’s early grave was a tragedy for a nation. He was a moral compass to a people finding its way home. Without him, both the North and the South suffered a catastrophic reconstruction period, and the black slaves of the Confederacy Lincoln helped free would have to wait nearly 100 years before they would truly become equal American citizens. Questions of Lincoln’s final days remain. What was behind his visions and dreams before his death? What was Lincoln doing in those last days that could have helped mend the torn country? And most ominously, could his death have been prevented? Take an in-depth look at the unique historical letters that begin to answer these questions. Continue the journey of Lincoln’s Last Days.