The End of Suffering (Or Was It?)
One week after Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops, the first presidential assassination took place when Abraham Lincoln was murdered. Lincoln was attending a play on Good Friday, titled “Our American Cousin,” at Ford’s Threatre in Washington D.C., with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. The president was shot point blank in the back of the head by Southern sympathizer and famous actor John Wilkes Booth, who jumped from the presidential balcony and hollered, “Sic semper tyrannis,” meaning “Thus always to tyrants” in Latin. After surviving the night, Lincoln died early the following morning. Secretary of War Stanton said, “Now he belongs to the ages.”
Booth managed to escape with a broken leg, but he was cornered several days later and shot inside a burning barn. Meanwhile, Lincoln’s funeral train traveled across the country so that people could pay their respects. The train’s final destination was Lincoln’s home state of Illinois.
It was discovered after his death that he had a Confederate five dollar bill in his wallet. For his second inauguration, he had requested that the song “Dixie” be played. It was his intention to bring the Confederacy back into the Union as quickly and gently as possible, and to maintain a unified country at all costs. Ultimately, he paid the price with his own life.