In what was arguably the single most dramatic moment in American political history, John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC.
Booth leapt from the presidential box, raised his dagger over his head and yelled “Sic semper tyrannis, The South is Avenged!” Thus always to tyrants is the state motto of Virginia.
In his last speech in Washington, Abraham Lincoln had endorsed the idea of making the former slaves into citizens and voters. Now that the Confederacy was dying, Lincoln reversed his carefully calculated public position on deporting all the freed slaves to Africa or the Caribbean.
John Wilkes Booth was among the audience that day at Lincoln’s speech. He told a friend, “That means nigger citizenship. Now, by God, I’ll put him through. That is the last speech he will ever make.”
Three days later, Booth assassinated Lincoln and his fellow conspirators attempted to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson. Booth was from Maryland which wanted to secede but was only prevented from doing so by Union troops.
The following is an excerpt from John Wilkes Booth’s diary:
“After being hunted like a dog through swamps, woods, and … chased by gun boats till I was forced to return wet, cold, and starving, with every mans hand against me, I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for, what made Tell a Hero. And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common cuttthroat … I hoped for no gain. I knew no private wrong. I struck for my country and that alone … I do not repent the blow I struck. I may before my God but not to man.”
John Wilkes Booth saw himself as a Confederate martyr.
Is it racist to share this story? If you are reading this article and objecting to me posting this because of Booth’s racism, why don’t you grow the f**k up and try to study and learn about history as I have done? I want our audience to learn something new here every day about Southern history.
Note: I’m compiling and editing all of this old material into a free e-book as well as a book which I will self-publish and sell here.