My ideal Friday evening! An excellent movie and a little light summer reading. Sadly (or not depending on how you look at it) this is only a portion of the books I hope to make it through before school starts again).
So sorry I haven’t posted anything recently! I’ve been incredibly busy between finishing my spring semester (one more math class to go!!!) and moving to Springfield, IL for the summer for an internship. I’ll try to post more often!
Lincoln was carried across the street to the Petersen boardinghouse where select cabinet members and Mary and Robert Lincoln quickly gathered and began the long wait for the end of the President’s life. “The first indication that the dreaded end had come,” James Tanner revealed, “was at twenty-two minutes past seven, when the Surgeon General gently crossed the pulseless hands of Lincoln across the motionless breast and rose to his feet.” “He is gone,” said Joseph Barnes simply. “Mr. Stanton raised his head, the tears streaming down his face,” noted Tanner. “A more agonized expression I never saw on a human countenance as he sobbed out the words: “He belongs to the angels now.”*
Pretty perfect place to be today.
This is basically my life right now. I do hope that my professor doesn’t see this particular post (but if she does then she’ll probably just realize that I’m even more of a nerd than she already suspected) because I don’t particularly want her to know how much I am thoroughly enjoying writing my 12+ page paper on the formation of the Republican Party in Illinois for her class. This is seriously how I’m spending my Wednesday night and I’m enjoying it far too much.
Excellent birthday present from my sister! Can’t wait to add this to my summer reading list!
“I have received a great many threatening letters but I have no fear of them…I determined when I first came here I should not be dying all the while…[I can] die only once; to go continually in fear would be to die over and over…If anyone is willing to give his life for mine, there is nothing that can prevent it…If I wore a shirt of mail, and kept myself surrounded by a body-guard, it would be all the same. There are a thousand ways of getting at a man if it is desire that he should be killed.” In sum, Lincoln concluded, “I do not believe it is my fate to die in this way.”
Abraham Lincoln’s last day of his life was a day like any other. He had breakfast with his family, led a cabinet meeting, went on a carriage ride with his wife, and eventually went to Ford’s Theatre to attend the comedy Our American Cousin.
Secretary of War Edwin Stanton remarked that Lincoln “was more cheerful and happy than I had ever seen him.” While Lincoln’s friend Senator James Harlan added “He was in fact, transfigured. That indescribable sadness…had been suddenly changed for an equally indescribable expression of serene joy, as if conscious that the great purpose of his life had been achieved.”
As Lincoln headed down for his carriage ride with Mary, he overheard a one-armed soldier declare that he would almost be willing to lose the other arm if it could but shake the hand of Abraham Lincoln. “You shall do that and it shall cost you nothing my boy!” Lincoln announced as he approached the man. During the carriage ride, Lincoln continued to express his sudden change by expressing to Mary that he had never been so happy in his life. “We must both be more cheerful in the future,” cautioned Lincoln. “Between the war and the loss of our darling Willie-we have both been very miserable.”
Unfortunately, the Lincolns would never have the opportunity to fulfill Lincoln’s wish that they both be more cheerful in the coming years because John Wilkes Booth would end his life later that evening at Ford’s Theatre. They never had the chance to travel to Jerusalem or California or the many other places Lincoln wanted to visit. Lincoln also never had the chance to return to Illinois and practice law once his second term was finished.
Booth was undoubtedly a very misguided person. He genuinely believed the problems of the Confederacy were a direct result of Lincoln and his policies as president. He convinced himself that it was possible to give the Confederacy a fighting chance if he managed to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln, Vice-President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward.
Booth supposedly questioned a journalist friend of his regarding his future plans at one point prior to the assassination:
“Suppose Lincoln was killed? What would be the result?” I replied: “Johnson would succeed,” and he said, “But if he was killed?” “Then Seward,” I said, and he continued, “But suppose he was killed, then what?” “Then anarchy or whatever the Constitution provides,” and laughing, I said “but, what nonsense, they don’t make Brutuses now days.” He shook his head and said: “No they do not.”
On the night of April 11, 1865 Lincoln delivered his last public speech in front of a crowd at the White House. The crowd gathered spent the day celebrating what they believed to be the end of the Civil War and they likely expected that Lincoln would join them in their celebration and deliver a rousing and uplifting speech. Instead, they get something quite different.
Instead of delivering what the crowd expected, Lincoln turns to them with Tad at his feet collecting his discarded papers and begins speaking about his tentative plans for Reconstruction and what he intends to do once the war is officially over. He admitted that the problem of Reconstruction was “fraught with great difficulty.”
Unfortunately, Lincoln’s plans for an easy peace with the South did not go over well among the Northerners who expected Lincoln to demand a harsh Reconstruction policy which would punish the South. A particular section of his speech angered John Wilkes Booth even more than previous decisions and policies Lincoln proposed and enacted. Lincoln mentioned giving certain African Americans-those who had served in the war and were literate-the right to vote. Booth supposedly said “Now, by God I’ll put him through. That’s the last speech he’ll ever make.”