Mourning for Abraham Lincoln combined the use of traditional military rites, the need for official governmental commemoration, and the desire to provide a means for the public expression of grief. As his body was transported to his hometown of Springfield, Illinois, the two-week-long funeral procession retraced the train journey Lincoln had taken to Washington as president-elect, allowing one million Americans to pay their respects to "the savior of the Union." In many of the cities the train passed through there were parades to honor Lincoln.
The assassination of President Abraham Lincoln almost exactly 140 years ago–Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth while watching the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. around 10:15 p.m. on Friday, April 14, 1865, and died at 7:22 a.m. the following morning–was, in the words of historian Edward Steers, Jr., “a cataclysmic event in American history” which “gave rise to an ominous cloud that spread across the American landscape leaving its fallout on subsequent generations.” The prolongation of widespread virulent racism in this country, the calamitous failure of Reconstruction, the rise of the Jim Crow system, the continued economic and social oppression of African Americans and their transformation from slaves to underclass–all in some way resulted from the fact that Lincoln’s violent, early death deprived America of his brilliant leadership when it was needed the most.
Every wound must get worse before it gets better. The African Americans did not get justice in their freedom until Martin Luther King's days. Considering Lincoln was the first president to be assasinated, the assasination inkling grew rapidly. Therefore, MLK's death was due to an assasination simillar to Lincoln.
Lincoln speaks to a large crowd of ex-slaves and others celebrating the news of the Union victory. Booth, listening to the speech with Louis Weichmann, resolves that it will be "the last speech" the President ever gives.
For President Abraham Lincoln, things looked brighter on Friday, April 14, 1865 than they had for a long time. Five days earlier, General Robert E. Lee effectively ended the long nightmare of the Civil War by surrendering the Army of Northern Virginia, and just the previous day, the city of Washington celebrated the war's end by illuminating every one of its public building with candles. Candles also burned in most private homes, causing a city paper to describe the nation's capital as "all ablaze with glory." The President decided he could finally afford an evening of relaxation: he would attend a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in downtown Washington.
On April 17, shortly after eleven at night, a team of military investigators again arrived at the Surratt home to interview her and other residents about the assassination. While they were doing so, Lewis Powell, carrying a pick-axe, knocked on the door. Powell--at the unlikely late-night hour--claimed to have been hired to dig a gutter. Mary Surratt refused to back up his story. Surratt told investigators, "Before God, sir, I do not know this man, and have never seen him, and I did not hire him to dig a gutter for me." While in the Surratt home, investigators uncovered various pieces of incriminating evidence, including a picture of John Wilkes Booth hidden behind another picture on a mantelpiece. Facing arrest, Surratt asked a minute to kneel and pray. Surratt and Powell were taken into custody, where William Bell, Secretary's Seward's servant, identified Powell as the man who had stabbed the Secretary.
Abraham Lincoln was liked by much of the north, but loathed by a large amount of the south. Some residents of the north disliked Lincoln as well. John Wilkes Booth and the other co-conspirators plotted against him in a house in Surrattsville, Virginia ^(1).
In death, Lincoln achieved the adoration and popular appeal that eluded him in life. He became a martyr for national unity and equality and a hero to the millions who responded to his death with an unprecedented outpouring of grief.
The manner in which America mourned Abraham Lincoln evolved into rituals that shaped the way the country has reacted to tragedies ever since, including John F. Kennedy's assassination one hundred years later.
In order to get to Lincoln inside that box, Booth had to enter consecutively two closed, unlocked doors. The first, outer door opened into a short passageway leading on the left side to a second, inner door, which in turn opened directly into the rear of the private box where Lincoln was seated. Everyone agrees that there was no one stationed in the passageway, and that once Booth made it through the outer door there was nothing to prevent him from opening the inner door and stealthily approaching Lincoln from behind. And as for that outer door, the traditional view–set forth in innumerable accounts of Lincoln’s death–is that at the time Booth approached the door Lincoln’s police officer bodyguard, John F. Parker, had unaccountably left the chair placed for him practically in front of that door and had gone somewhere else, that no one else had stationed himself there either, and that Booth was therefore able to enter that door unchallenged by anyone at its entrance.
On April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was enjoying the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre. During the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth gained entry into the president's box. Standing behind the president, Booth fired the shot that would kill President Lincoln.
John Wilkes Booth and the defendants conspired to kidnap Abraham Lincoln to effect an exchange of military prisoners; the abduction scheme was eventually abandoned in favor of assassination; Mary Surratt's boardinghouse in Washington was the forum for much of the conspiracy and she directly participated in the plan; John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln April 14, 1865, in Ford's Theatre; Lewis Powell (Payne) wounded and almost killed Secretary of State William Seward and members of his household; George Atzerodt was assigned the responsibility of assassinating Vice President Andrew Johnson but aborted the mission and ran; Booth, after fleeing Ford's Theatre, his leg broken in flight, was joined by David Herold and made his way to southern Maryland where his broken leg was treated by Dr. Samuel Mudd; Booth and Herold were surrounded by Union troops on the Garrett farm near Port Royal, Virginia, and the barn set on fire; Booth was shot there and mortally wounded; and no other conspiracies were established by competent evidence.