John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth was born in 1838, in Maryland. He was one of the youngest of ten siblings, children of Junius Booth, a drunkard and actor. Following in his father’s footsteps, he made his debut in theater in 1856. In 1860, he gained praise for his acting and became quite well known. He used his fame as a platform to discuss slavery, which he supported, and Lincoln, whom he despised. He recruited some men to help him abduct Lincoln. After many plans failed, however, he decided to take a new angle: he would kill the president.

On April 14th, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln went to Ford’s theater. He was going to see a comedy, Our American Cousin. To Booth, this seemed the perfect opportunity to put his plan into action. Together with his conspirators, they hatched the perfect plan. Booth, the leader, claimed the right to kill the president for himself.

In the middle of the play, Booth entered the presidential box and shot Lincoln. His daring escape led him over the railing of the box, where he landed in the middle of the stage, injuring his leg in the fall. Always with a flair for the dramatic, the actor yelled, “Sic semper tyrannis!” Then, he continued on his escape attempt, despite his being injured.

Booth was later found holed up in a barn with one of his conspirators. Although his friend surrendered, Booth refused, and so was shot. He died soon after, on April 26. Booth’s conspirators were later captured, put on trial, and found guilty, some received life sentences and several were sentenced to execution by hanging.

Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, he was the first president to be assassinated.


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