John Wilkes Booth was the man who would become the most despised, disgusting assassin not just of the Civil War but also in the history of America.
This is not to say that the assassination of the great, maybe greatest President of The United States, Abraham Lincoln was not applauded by the Confederacy, it is to say that he was hated by most.
To understand the actual repercussions of this cowardly act of treason, one has to look at the beginnings of a life lost. John Wilkes Booth was an actor. Not just your garden-variety actor that was so popular in the times leading up to and during the war.
He commanded a relatively large audience and paycheck for his performances once his name was established in the theatrical community.
Booth had an obsession, that guided or misguided logic prevented him form attaining greater heights in the acting business.
John Wilkes Booth
The talent was there, the showmanship, ever present and the gift of elocution, omni-present. His main issue was with Lincoln’s Emancipation proclamation. A racist by heart, Booth blamed Lincoln for the favoritism he imagined the black man was receiving in the North. “This country was made for white men” was a common saying that Booth would recite and shout in the streets of the Union.
Booth hatched a plan that started off as just a kidnapping event but lead to the assassination of the beloved and honorable Abraham Lincoln. The who what when and why will not be addressed further in this listing but the what if should be. What if Abraham Lincoln was not killed by Booth?
A country of the size and population of America in the 19th century could have grown in size stature and wealth, if it was lead by such a president as Lincoln. Booth destroyed so much when he aimed his pistol, from three feet, at the back of Lincoln’s head and fired. The shot heard around the world had nothing on this disgusting act. By killing the President, Booth had hoped for a revolt and the overthrow of political regions within the United States.
He failed there as the entire country mourned the loss of the President and did not revolt or overthrow the political environment. Many people claimed that Booth was a Confederate spy and was sent by the South to kill the president. No proof of this exists to this day, so it cannot be substantiated. After Booth assassinated the president at Fords Theater, he leapt from the balcony and landed on the stage, fracturing his leg in then process.
Booth was eventually tracked down to a barn in where he was hiding, refusing to surrender he was shot in the spine by a Union soldier. He laid paralyzed and dying on the ground finally uttering his final words after asking to see his hands, he said “useless, useless”. The loss experienced by the entire country not just the Union or the Confederacy, would be felt for decades to come.