President Lincoln’s Assassination
President Abraham Lincoln was not well-liked in the South before and during his presidency. His stance on slavery bothered white southerners. As the Civil War was coming to a close, President Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth. He became the first president of the United States to be assassinated.
President Lincoln’s assassination Facts for Kids
- President Lincoln was shot in the back of the head on the evening of April 14, 1865.
- His assailant was John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, and actor from Maryland.
- John Wilkes Booth was shot in Virginia farmhouse on April 26, 1865.
- President Lincoln was watching a play named Our American Cousinat the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C with his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone, and Clara Harris.
- When John Wilkes Booth jumped onto the stage after shooting President Lincoln, he shouted out the Virginia State motto “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which translates to “Thus Always To Tyrants.”
- John Frederick Parker was assigned to protect the president. He was not in the theater box at the time of the attack. Some believe he was at a local pub.
- The Ford Theatre was closed and bought by the federal government. The theater reopened as a museum and theater in 1968. No one may sit in the Presidential Box.
- John Wilkes Booth was a strong supporter of slavery. He even attended the execution of abolitionist John Brown after he raided Harpers Ferry.
The Ford Theatre
On the night of April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was watching a play named Our American Cousin at the Ford Theater in Washington, D.C. With him was his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone, and Clara Harris.
During a climax in the play where there was a big joke and plenty of laughter, John Wilkes Booth sneaked into President Lincoln’s private box. Booth immediately shot President Lincoln in the back of the head. Major Rathbone was stabbed during the process of trying to stop Wilkes. Booth escaped by jumping down from the box onto the stage. The fall broke his leg, but he was able to flee the theater on his horse.
Many people came to help President Lincoln, and he was taken to a boarding house owned by William Petersen. Many doctors were on hand to help President Lincoln’s wound. President Lincoln officially died on the morning of April 15, 1865.
Plot to kill President Lincoln and disrupt the government
John Wilkes Booth sympathized about the fate of the Confederacy. The Civil War was ending. He felt the Confederacy would lose if nothing was done about President Lincoln.
Wilkes formed a plan with several other men to kill the president and disrupt the government. The group of men tried to kidnap President Lincoln at first but was unsuccessful. Wilkes then assassinated President Lincoln.
The group of conspirators formed a plan for Wilkes to assassinate the president and two other government officials that included Secretary of State William H. Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson. It was the job of Lewis Powell to kill Seward, and George Atzerodt was to eliminate Vice President Andrew Johnson. Powell could not kill Seward, and Atzerodt never attempted to assassinate Vice President Andrew Johnson.
Three days before President Lincoln was assassinated, he had dreams of being killed. There are numerous sources, including his friend and biographer Ward Hill Lamon, that outlined Lincoln’s dreams. On the night of the assassination, President Lincoln had spoken to his bodyguard William H. Crook about his dreams. Crook advised the president not to go to the theater that night. Lincoln insisted on going because he had promised his wife.
After Booth fled the Ford Theater, he rode his horse to a barn south of Washington, D.C in Virginia. Here on April 26, 1865, he encountered Union soldiers and was shot to death after he refused to surrender. The other conspirators were eventually captured and hanged for their crimes against the government.
- Where was President Lincoln shot in the back of the head?
Ford Theater in Washington, D.C.
- Who were the other two people that John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators wanted to kill?
William H. Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson
- What did Booth shout out when he jumped onto the stage after shooting President Lincoln?
The Virginian State motto, “Sic Semper Tyrannis.”
- How many days did it take Union soldiers to find John Wilkes Booth after the assassination?
- When did the Ford Theatre reopen to the public?