The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

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The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

John Wilkes Booth
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/13/20

John Wilkes Booth
Booth in 1865
Born: May 10, 1838, Bel Air, Maryland, U.S.
Died: April 26, 1865 (aged 26), Port Royal, Virginia, U.S.
38.1385°N 77.2302°W
Cause of death: Gunshot wound
Resting place: Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Other names: J.B. Wilkes
Occupation: Actor
Years active: 1855–1865
Known for: Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Political party: Know Nothing

[Sole Reference to Booth's party affiliation with Know Nothing in this article]

By age 16, Booth was interested in the theater and in politics, and he became a delegate from Bel Air to a rally by the Know Nothing Party for Henry Winter Davis, the anti-immigrant party's candidate for Congress in the 1854 elections.

-- John Wilkes Booth, by Wikipedia

In Maryland, the party was dead but its past leaders remained active in other parties. The American Party's Governor and later Senator Thomas Holliday Hicks, Representative Henry Winter Davis, and Senator Anthony Kennedy, with his brother, former Representative John Pendleton Kennedy, all supported the Union in a border state.

-- Know Nothing, by Wikipedia

It was primarily an anti-Catholic, Anti-Irish, anti-immigration, populist and xenophobic movement, although it was also progressive in its stances on "issues of labor rights, opposition to slavery, and the need for more government spending" as well as for its "support for an expansion of the rights of women, regulation of industry, and support of measures designed to improve the status of working people."...

Historian Stephen Taylor says that in addition to nativist legislation, "the party also distinguished itself by its opposition to slavery, support for an expansion of the rights of women, regulation of industry, and support of measures designed to improve the status of working people"...

In the Southern United States, the American Party was composed chiefly of ex-Whigs looking for a vehicle to fight the dominant Democratic Party and worried about both the pro-slavery extremism of the Democrats and the emergence of the anti-slavery Republican party in the North...

Louisiana Know Nothings were pro-slavery and anti-immigrant...

In the presidential election of 1856, it was bitterly divided over slavery...

After the Supreme Court's controversial Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling in 1857, most of the anti-slavery members of the American Party joined the Republican Party. The pro-slavery wing of the American Party remained strong on the local and state levels in a few southern states, but by the 1860 election they were no longer a serious national political movement. Most of their remaining members supported the Constitutional Union Party in 1860.

-- Know Nothing, by Wikipedia

When the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, Booth was starring in Albany, New York. He was outspoken in his admiration for the South's secession, publicly calling it "heroic." This so enraged local citizens that they demanded that he be banned from the stage for making "treasonable statements"...

Booth was strongly opposed to the abolitionists who sought to end slavery in the United States. He attended the hanging of abolitionist leader John Brown on December 2, 1859, who was executed for treason, murder, and inciting a slave insurrection, charges resulting from his raid on the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (since 1863, West Virginia). Booth had been rehearsing at the Richmond Theatre when he read in a newspaper about Brown's upcoming execution. So as to gain access that the public would not have, he donned a borrowed uniform of the Richmond Grays, a volunteer militia of 1,500 men traveling to Charles Town for Brown's hanging, to guard against a possible attempt to rescue Brown from the gallows by force. When Brown was hanged without incident, Booth stood near the scaffold and afterwards expressed great satisfaction with Brown's fate, although he admired the condemned man's bravery in facing death stoically.

Lincoln was elected president on November 6, 1860, and the following month Booth drafted a long speech, apparently never delivered, that decried Northern abolitionism and made clear his strong support of the South and the institution of slavery. On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began, and eventually 11 Southern states seceded from the Union. In Booth's native Maryland, some of the slaveholding portion of the population favored joining the Confederate States of America. Although the Maryland legislature voted decisively (53–13) against secession on April 28, 1861, it also voted not to allow federal troops to pass south through the state by rail, and it requested that Lincoln remove the growing numbers of federal troops in Maryland. The legislature seems to have wanted to remain in the Union while also wanting to avoid involvement in a war against Southern neighbors. Adhering to Maryland's demand that its infrastructure not be used to wage war on seceding neighbors would have left the federal capital of Washington, D.C., exposed, and would have made the prosecution of war against the South impossible, which was no doubt the legislature's intention. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and imposed martial law in Baltimore and other portions of the state, ordering the imprisonment of many Maryland political leaders at Fort McHenry and the stationing of Federal troops in Baltimore. Many Marylanders, including Booth, agreed with the ruling of Marylander and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, in Ex parte Merryman, that Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus in Maryland was unconstitutional....

In early 1863, Booth was arrested in St. Louis while on a theatre tour, when he was heard saying that he "wished the President and the whole damned government would go to hell." He was charged with making "treasonous" remarks against the government, but was released when he took an oath of allegiance to the Union and paid a substantial fine.

Booth is alleged to have been a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society whose initial objective was to acquire territories as slave states....

Plans to seize Lincoln and inaugurate Breckinridge as president

Several members of President James Buchanan's administration were members of the order, as well as Virginia's secessionist Senator James M. Mason.102–104 The Secretaries of War and Treasury, John Floyd and Howell Cobb respectively, were members of the circle, in addition to Vice President John Breckenridge. Floyd received instructions from the Order to "seize Navy-yards, Forts, etc. while KGC members were still Cabinet officers and Senators". The plan was to prevent Lincoln from reaching Washington by capturing him in Baltimore. Then they would occupy the District of Columbia, and install Breckinridge as president instead of Lincoln. Floyd used his position as Secretary of War to move munitions and men to the South towards the end of Buchanan's presidency. His plot was discovered, and led to greater distrust of secret societies and Copperheads in general.

-- Knights of the Golden Circle, by Wikipedia

As the 1864 presidential election drew near, the Confederacy's prospects for victory were ebbing, and the tide of war increasingly favored the North. The likelihood of Lincoln's re-election filled Booth with rage towards the President, whom Booth blamed for the war and all of the South's troubles. Booth had promised his mother at the outbreak of war that he would not enlist as a soldier, but he increasingly chafed at not fighting for the South, writing in a letter to her, "I have begun to deem myself a coward and to despise my own existence." He began to formulate plans to kidnap Lincoln from his summer residence at the Old Soldiers Home, three miles (4.8 km) from the White House, and to smuggle him across the Potomac River and into Richmond, Virginia. Once in Confederate hands, Lincoln would be exchanged for Confederate Army prisoners of war held in Northern prisons and, Booth reasoned, bring the war to an end by emboldening opposition to the war in the North or forcing Union recognition of the Confederate government.

Throughout the Civil War, the Confederacy maintained a network of underground operators in southern Maryland, particularly Charles and St. Mary's Counties, smuggling recruits across the Potomac River into Virginia and relaying messages for Confederate agents as far north as Canada. Booth recruited his friends Samuel Arnold and Michael O'Laughlen as accomplices. They met often at the house of Confederate sympathizer Maggie Branson at 16 North Eutaw Street in Baltimore. He also met with several well-known Confederate sympathizers at The Parker House in Boston.

In October, Booth made an unexplained trip to Montreal, which was a center of clandestine Confederate activity. He spent ten days in the city, staying for a time at St. Lawrence Hall, a rendezvous for the Confederate Secret Service, and meeting several Confederate agents there. No conclusive proof has linked Booth's kidnapping or assassination plots to a conspiracy involving the leadership of the Confederate government, but historian David Herbert Donald states that "at least at the lower levels of the Southern secret service, the abduction of the Union President was under consideration." Historian Thomas Goodrich concludes that Booth entered the Confederate Secret Service as a spy and courier.

Lincoln won a landslide re-election in early November 1864, on a platform that advocated abolishing slavery altogether, by Constitutional amendment. Booth, meanwhile, devoted increased energy and money to his kidnapping plot. He assembled a loose-knit band of Southern sympathizers, including David Herold, George Atzerodt, Lewis Powell (also known as Lewis Payne or Paine), and rebel agent John Surratt. They began to meet routinely at the boarding house of Surratt's mother, Mary Surratt....

On April 12, 1865, Booth heard the news that Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House. He told Louis J. Weichmann, a friend of John Surratt and a boarder at Mary Surratt's house, that he was done with the stage and that the only play he wanted to present henceforth was Venice Preserv'd. Weichmann did not understand the reference; Venice Preserv'd is about an assassination plot. Booth's scheme to kidnap Lincoln was no longer feasible with the Union Army's capture of Richmond and Lee's surrender, and he changed his goal to assassination.

The previous day, Booth was in the crowd outside the White House when Lincoln gave an impromptu speech from his window. During the speech, Lincoln stated that he was in favor of granting suffrage to the former slaves; infuriated, Booth declared that it would be the last speech that Lincoln would ever make...

Booth had hoped that the assassinations would create sufficient chaos within the Union that the Confederate government could reorganize and continue the war if one Confederate army remained in the field or, that failing, would avenge the South's defeat.

-- John Wilkes Booth, by Wikipedia

Family: Booth

John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) was an American stage actor who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. A member of the prominent 19th-century Booth theatrical family from Maryland, and a noted actor,[1] Booth was also a Confederate sympathizer who, denouncing President Lincoln, lamented the recent abolition of slavery in the United States.[2]

Originally, Booth and his small group of conspirators had plotted to kidnap Lincoln, but they later agreed to murder him as well as Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward, likewise to aid the Confederate cause.[3] Although its Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, had surrendered to the Union Army four days earlier, Booth believed that the Civil War remained unresolved because the Confederate army of General Joseph E. Johnston continued fighting.

Booth shot President Lincoln once in the back of the head. Lincoln's death the next morning completed Booth's piece of the plot. Seward, severely wounded, recovered, whereas Vice President Johnson was never attacked. Booth fled on horseback to southern Maryland and, 12 days later, at a farm in rural northern Virginia, was tracked down sheltered in a barn. Booth's companion David Herold surrendered, but Booth maintained a standoff. After the authorities set the barn ablaze, Union soldier Boston Corbett fatally shot him in the neck. Paralyzed, he died a few hours later. Of the eight conspirators later convicted, four were soon hanged.

Background and early life

Booth's parents were noted British Shakespearean actor Junius Brutus Booth and his mistress, Mary Ann Holmes, who moved to the United States from England in June 1821.[4] They purchased a 150-acre (61 ha) farm near Bel Air, Maryland, where John Wilkes Booth was born in a four-room log house on May 10, 1838, the ninth of ten children.[5] He was named after English radical politician John Wilkes, a distant relative.[6][7] Junius' wife Adelaide Delannoy Booth was granted a divorce in 1851 on grounds of adultery, and Holmes legally wed Junius on May 10, 1851, John Wilkes' 13th birthday.[8] Nora Titone suggests in her book My Thoughts Be Bloody (2010) that the shame and ambition of Junius Brutus Booth's actor sons Edwin and John Wilkes eventually spurred them to strive for achievement and acclaim as rivals—Edwin as a Unionist and John Wilkes as the assassin of Abraham Lincoln.[9]

Booth's father built Tudor Hall on the Harford County property as the family's summer home in 1851, while also maintaining a winter residence on Exeter Street in Baltimore.[10][11][12][13] The Booth family was listed as living in Baltimore in the 1850 census.[14]

Tudor Hall in 1865

As a boy, Booth was athletic and popular, and he became skilled at horsemanship and fencing.[15] He attended the Bel Air Academy and was an indifferent student whom the headmaster described as "not deficient in intelligence, but disinclined to take advantage of the educational opportunities offered him. Each day he rode back and forth from farm to school, taking more interest in what happened along the way than in reaching his classes on time".[16] In 1850–1851, he attended the Quaker-run Milton Boarding School for Boys located in Sparks, Maryland, and later St. Timothy's Hall, an Episcopal military academy in Catonsville, Maryland.[17] At the Milton school, students recited classical works by such authors as Cicero, Herodotus, and Tacitus.[18] Students at St. Timothy's wore military uniforms and were subject to a regimen of daily formation drills and strict discipline.[18] Booth left school at 14 after his father's death.[19]

While attending the Milton Boarding School, Booth met a Romani fortune-teller who read his palm and pronounced a grim destiny, telling him that he would have a grand but short life, doomed to die young and "meeting a bad end".[20] His sister recalled that he wrote down the palm-reader's prediction, showed it to his family and others, and often discussed its portents in moments of melancholy.[20][21]

By age 16, Booth was interested in the theater and in politics, and he became a delegate from Bel Air to a rally by the Know Nothing Party for Henry Winter Davis, the anti-immigrant party's candidate for Congress in the 1854 elections.[22]

In Maryland, the party was dead but its past leaders remained active in other parties. The American Party's Governor and later Senator Thomas Holliday Hicks, Representative Henry Winter Davis, and Senator Anthony Kennedy, with his brother, former Representative John Pendleton Kennedy, all supported the Union in a border state.

-- Know Nothing, by Wikipedia

Booth aspired to follow in the footsteps of his father and his actor brothers Edwin and Junius Brutus, Jr. He began practicing elocution daily in the woods around Tudor Hall and studying Shakespeare.[23]

Theatrical career


The Richmond Theatre, Richmond, Virginia in 1858, when Booth, who had started acting in 1855, made his first stage appearance there in the repertory company

Booth made his stage debut at age 17 on August 14, 1855 in the supporting role of the Earl of Richmond in Richard III at Baltimore's Charles Street Theatre.[24][25][26][27] The audience jeered at him when he missed some of his lines.[25][28] He also began acting at Baltimore's Holliday Street Theater, owned by John T. Ford, where the Booths had performed frequently.[29] In 1857 he joined the stock company of the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia, where he played for a full season.[30] At his request, he was billed as "J.B. Wilkes", a pseudonym meant to avoid comparison with other members of his famous thespian family.[25][31] Jim Bishop wrote that Booth "developed into an outrageous scene stealer, but he played his parts with such heightened enthusiasm that the audiences idolized him."[28] In February 1858, he played in Lucrezia Borgia at the Arch Street Theatre. On opening night, he experienced stage fright and stumbled over one of his lines. Instead of introducing himself by saying, "Madame, I am Petruchio Pandolfo", he stammered, "Madame, I am Pondolfio Pet—Pedolfio Pat—Pantuchio Ped—dammit! Who am I?", causing the audience to roar with laughter.[25][32]

Later that year, Booth played the part of Mohegan Indian Chief Uncas in a play staged in Petersburg, Virginia, and then became a stock company actor at the Richmond Theatre in Virginia, where he became increasingly popular with audiences for his energetic performances.[33] On October 5, 1858, he played the part of Horatio in Hamlet, alongside his older brother Edwin in the title role. Afterward, Edwin led him to the theater's footlights and said to the audience, "I think he's done well, don't you?" In response, the audience applauded loudly and cried, "Yes! Yes!"[33] In all, Booth performed in 83 plays in 1858. Booth said that, of all Shakespearean characters, his favorite role was Brutus, the slayer of a tyrant.[34]

A Carte de visite of John Wilkes Booth

Some critics called Booth "the handsomest man in America" and a "natural genius", and noted his having an "astonishing memory"; others were mixed in their estimation of his acting.[34][35] He stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall, had jet-black hair, and was lean and athletic.[36] Noted Civil War reporter George Alfred Townsend described him as a "muscular, perfect man" with "curling hair, like a Corinthian capital".[37] Booth's stage performances were often characterized by his contemporaries as acrobatic and intensely physical, with him leaping upon the stage and gesturing with passion.[36][38] He was an excellent swordsman, although a fellow actor once recalled that Booth occasionally cut himself with his own sword.[36]

Historian Benjamin Platt Thomas wrote that Booth "won celebrity with theater-goers by his romantic personal attraction", but that he was "too impatient for hard study" and his "brilliant talents had failed of full development."[38] Author Gene Smith wrote that Booth's acting may not have been as precise as his brother Edwin's, but his strikingly handsome appearance enthralled women.[39] As the 1850s drew to a close, Booth was becoming wealthy as an actor, earning $20,000 a year (equivalent to about $569,000 more recently).[40]


Booth embarked on his first national tour as a leading actor after finishing the 1859–1860 theatre season in Richmond, Virginia. He engaged Philadelphia attorney Matthew Canning to serve as his agent.[41] By mid-1860, he was playing in such cities as New York, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, Columbus, Georgia, Montgomery, Alabama, and New Orleans.[28][42] Poet and journalist Walt Whitman said of Booth's acting, "He would have flashes, passages, I thought of real genius."[43] The Philadelphia Press drama critic said, "Without having [his brother] Edwin's culture and grace, Mr. Booth has far more action, more life, and, we are inclined to think, more natural genius."[43] In October 1860, while performing in Columbus, Georgia, Booth was shot accidentally in his hotel, leaving a wound some thought would end his life.[44]

Boston Museum playbill advertising Booth in Romeo and Juliet, May 3, 1864

When the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, Booth was starring in Albany, New York. He was outspoken in his admiration for the South's secession, publicly calling it "heroic." This so enraged local citizens that they demanded that he be banned from the stage for making "treasonable statements".[45] Albany's drama critics were kinder, giving him rave reviews. One called him a genius, praising his acting for "never fail[ing] to delight with his masterly impressions."[46] As the Civil War raged across the divided land in 1862, Booth appeared mostly in Union and border states. In January, he played the title role in Richard III in St. Louis and then made his Chicago debut. In March, he made his first acting appearance in New York City.[47] In May 1862, he made his Boston debut, playing nightly at the Boston Museum in Richard III (May 12, 15 and 23), Romeo and Juliet (May 13), The Robbers (May 14 and 21), Hamlet (May 16), The Apostate (May 19), The Stranger (May 20), and The Lady of Lyons (May 22). Following his performance of Richard III on May 12, the Boston Transcript's review the next day called Booth "the most promising young actor on the American stage".[48]

Starting in January 1863, he returned to the Boston Museum for a series of plays, including the role of villain Duke Pescara in The Apostate, that won him acclaim from audiences and critics.[49] Back in Washington in April, he played the title roles in Hamlet and Richard III, one of his favorites. He was billed as "The Pride of the American People, A Star of the First Magnitude," and the critics were equally enthusiastic. The National Republican drama critic said that Booth "took the hearts of the audience by storm" and termed his performance "a complete triumph".[50][51] At the beginning of July 1863, Booth finished the acting season at Cleveland's Academy of Music, as the Battle of Gettysburg raged in Pennsylvania. Between September and November 1863, Booth played a hectic schedule in the northeast, appearing in Boston, Providence, Rhode Island, and Hartford, Connecticut. Every day he received fan mail from infatuated women.[52]

Family friend John T. Ford opened 1,500-seat Ford's Theatre on November 9 in Washington, D.C. Booth was one of the first leading men to appear there, playing in Charles Selby's The Marble Heart.[53][54] In this play, Booth portrayed a Greek sculptor in costume, making marble statues come to life.[54] Lincoln watched the play[55] from his box. At one point during the performance, Booth was said to have shaken his finger in Lincoln's direction as he delivered a line of dialogue. Lincoln's sister-in-law was sitting with him in the same presidential box where he was later slain; she turned to him and said, "Mr. Lincoln, he looks as if he meant that for you."[56] The President replied, "He does look pretty sharp at me, doesn't he?"[56] On another occasion, Lincoln's son Tad saw Booth perform. He said that the actor thrilled him, prompting Booth to give Tad a rose.[56] Booth ignored an invitation to visit Lincoln between acts.[56]

L-to-r: Booth with brothers Edwin and Junius, Jr. in Julius Caesar

On November 25, 1864, Booth performed for the only time with his brothers Edwin and Junius in a single engagement production of Julius Caesar at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York.[57] He played Mark Antony and his brother Edwin had the larger role of Brutus in a performance acclaimed as "the greatest theatrical event in New York history."[56] The proceeds went towards a statue of William Shakespeare for Central Park, which still stands today (2019).[57][58] In January 1865, he acted in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in Washington, again garnering rave reviews. The National Intelligencer called Booth's Romeo "the most satisfactory of all renderings of that fine character," especially praising the death scene.[59] Booth made the final appearance of his acting career at Ford's on March 18, 1865, when he again played Duke Pescara in The Apostate.[60][61]

Business ventures

Booth invested some of his growing wealth in various enterprises during the early 1860s, including land speculation in Boston's Back Bay section.[62] He also started a business partnership with John A. Ellsler, manager of the Cleveland Academy of Music, and with Thomas Mears to develop oil wells in northwestern Pennsylvania, where an oil boom had started in August 1859, following Edwin Drake's discovery of oil there,[63] initially calling their venture Dramatic Oil but later renaming it Fuller Farm Oil. The partners invested in a 31.5-acre (12.7 ha) site along the Allegheny River at Franklin, Pennsylvania in late 1863 for drilling.[63] By early 1864, they had a producing 1,900-foot (579 m) deep oil well named Wilhelmina for Mears' wife, yielding 25 barrels (4 kL) of crude oil daily, then considered a good yield. The Fuller Farm Oil company was selling shares with a prospectus featuring the well-known actor's celebrity status as "Mr. J. Wilkes Booth, a successful and intelligent operator in oil lands".[63] The partners were impatient to increase the well's output and attempted the use of explosives, which wrecked the well and ended production.

Booth was already growing more obsessed with the South's worsening situation in the Civil War and angered at Lincoln's re-election. He withdrew from the oil business on November 27, 1864, with a substantial loss of his $6,000 investment ($81,400 in 2010 dollars).[63][64]

Civil War years

Booth was strongly opposed to the abolitionists who sought to end slavery in the United States. He attended the hanging of abolitionist leader John Brown on December 2, 1859, who was executed for treason, murder, and inciting a slave insurrection, charges resulting from his raid on the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (since 1863, West Virginia).[65] Booth had been rehearsing at the Richmond Theatre when he read in a newspaper about Brown's upcoming execution. So as to gain access that the public would not have, he donned a borrowed uniform of the Richmond Grays, a volunteer militia of 1,500 men traveling to Charles Town for Brown's hanging, to guard against a possible attempt to rescue Brown from the gallows by force.[65][66] When Brown was hanged without incident, Booth stood near the scaffold and afterwards expressed great satisfaction with Brown's fate, although he admired the condemned man's bravery in facing death stoically.[43][67]

Lincoln was elected president on November 6, 1860, and the following month Booth drafted a long speech, apparently never delivered, that decried Northern abolitionism and made clear his strong support of the South and the institution of slavery.[68] On April 12, 1861, the Civil War began, and eventually 11 Southern states seceded from the Union. In Booth's native Maryland, some of the slaveholding portion of the population favored joining the Confederate States of America. Although the Maryland legislature voted decisively (53–13) against secession on April 28, 1861,[69][70] it also voted not to allow federal troops to pass south through the state by rail, and it requested that Lincoln remove the growing numbers of federal troops in Maryland.[71] The legislature seems to have wanted to remain in the Union while also wanting to avoid involvement in a war against Southern neighbors.[71] Adhering to Maryland's demand that its infrastructure not be used to wage war on seceding neighbors would have left the federal capital of Washington, D.C., exposed, and would have made the prosecution of war against the South impossible, which was no doubt the legislature's intention. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and imposed martial law in Baltimore and other portions of the state, ordering the imprisonment of many Maryland political leaders at Fort McHenry and the stationing of Federal troops in Baltimore.[72] Many Marylanders, including Booth, agreed with the ruling of Marylander and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, in Ex parte Merryman, that Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus in Maryland was unconstitutional.[73]

As a popular actor in the 1860s, Booth continued to travel extensively to perform in the North and South, and as far west as New Orleans. According to his sister Asia, Booth confided to her that he also used his position to smuggle the anti-malarial drug quinine, which was crucial to the lives of residents of the Gulf coast, to the South during his travels there, since it was in short supply due to the Northern blockade.[62]

Lucy Lambert Hale, Booth's fiancée in 1865

Booth was pro-Confederate, but his family was divided, like many Marylanders. He was outspoken in his love of the South, and equally outspoken in his hatred of Lincoln.[56][74] As the Civil War went on, Booth increasingly quarreled with his brother Edwin, who declined to make stage appearances in the South and refused to listen to John Wilkes' fiercely partisan denunciations of the North and Lincoln.[62] In early 1863, Booth was arrested in St. Louis while on a theatre tour, when he was heard saying that he "wished the President and the whole damned government would go to hell."[75][76] He was charged with making "treasonous" remarks against the government, but was released when he took an oath of allegiance to the Union and paid a substantial fine.

Booth is alleged to have been a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle, a secret society whose initial objective was to acquire territories as slave states.[77]

The Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) was a secret society founded in 1854, whose existence was in fact no secret. The original objective of the KGC was to create a new country, where slavery would be legal, out of the Southern United States and a "golden circle" of territories in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.[1] It would have been centered in Havana, and the circle would have been 2,400 miles (3,900 km) in diameter.[2] It grew out of previous unsuccessful proposals to annex Cuba (Ostend Manifesto), parts of Central America (Filibuster War), and all of Mexico (All of Mexico Movement). Except for Cuba, where the issue was complicated by the desire of many in colony Cuba for independence from Spain, people living in these countries were not consulted; Mexico and Central America had no interest in being part of the United States, and said so.

As abolitionism in the United States increased after the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, the members proposed a separate confederation of slave states, with U.S. states south of the Mason-Dixon line to secede and to align with other slave states to be formed from the "golden circle". In either case, the goal was to increase the power of the Southern slave-holding upper class to such a degree that it could never be dislodged.[3]

During the American Civil War, some Southern sympathizers in the Union or Northern states, such as Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, were accused of belonging to the Knights of the Golden Circle, and in some cases, such as that of Lambdin P. Milligan, they were imprisoned for their activities.

-- Knights of the Golden Circle, by Wikipedia

In February 1865, Booth became infatuated with Lucy Lambert Hale, the daughter of U.S. Senator John P. Hale of New Hampshire, and they became secretly engaged when Booth received his mother's blessing for their marriage plans. "You have so often been dead in love," his mother counseled Booth in a letter, "be well assured she is really and truly devoted to you."[78] Booth composed a handwritten Valentine card for his fiancée on February 13, expressing his "adoration". She was unaware of Booth's deep antipathy towards Lincoln.[78]

Plot to kidnap Lincoln

As the 1864 presidential election drew near, the Confederacy's prospects for victory were ebbing, and the tide of war increasingly favored the North. The likelihood of Lincoln's re-election filled Booth with rage towards the President, whom Booth blamed for the war and all of the South's troubles. Booth had promised his mother at the outbreak of war that he would not enlist as a soldier, but he increasingly chafed at not fighting for the South, writing in a letter to her, "I have begun to deem myself a coward and to despise my own existence."[79] He began to formulate plans to kidnap Lincoln from his summer residence at the Old Soldiers Home, three miles (4.8 km) from the White House, and to smuggle him across the Potomac River and into Richmond, Virginia. Once in Confederate hands, Lincoln would be exchanged for Confederate Army prisoners of war held in Northern prisons and, Booth reasoned, bring the war to an end by emboldening opposition to the war in the North or forcing Union recognition of the Confederate government.[79][80][81][82]

Throughout the Civil War, the Confederacy maintained a network of underground operators in southern Maryland, particularly Charles and St. Mary's Counties, smuggling recruits across the Potomac River into Virginia and relaying messages for Confederate agents as far north as Canada.[83] Booth recruited his friends Samuel Arnold and Michael O'Laughlen as accomplices.[84] They met often at the house of Confederate sympathizer Maggie Branson at 16 North Eutaw Street in Baltimore.[29] He also met with several well-known Confederate sympathizers at The Parker House in Boston.

The Old Soldiers Home, where Booth planned to kidnap Lincoln

In October, Booth made an unexplained trip to Montreal, which was a center of clandestine Confederate activity. He spent ten days in the city, staying for a time at St. Lawrence Hall, a rendezvous for the Confederate Secret Service, and meeting several Confederate agents there.[85][86] No conclusive proof has linked Booth's kidnapping or assassination plots to a conspiracy involving the leadership of the Confederate government, but historian David Herbert Donald states that "at least at the lower levels of the Southern secret service, the abduction of the Union President was under consideration."[87] Historian Thomas Goodrich concludes that Booth entered the Confederate Secret Service as a spy and courier.[88]

Lincoln won a landslide re-election in early November 1864, on a platform that advocated abolishing slavery altogether, by Constitutional amendment.[89] Booth, meanwhile, devoted increased energy and money to his kidnapping plot.[90][91] He assembled a loose-knit band of Southern sympathizers, including David Herold, George Atzerodt, Lewis Powell (also known as Lewis Payne or Paine), and rebel agent John Surratt.[83][92] They began to meet routinely at the boarding house of Surratt's mother, Mary Surratt.[92]

By this time, John was arguing vehemently with his older, pro-Union brother Edwin about Lincoln and the war, and Edwin finally told him that he was no longer welcome at his New York home. Booth also railed against Lincoln in conversations with his sister Asia. "That man's appearance, his pedigree, his coarse low jokes and anecdotes, his vulgar similes, and his policy are a disgrace to the seat he holds. He is made the tool of the North, to crush out slavery."[93] Asia recalled that he decried Lincoln's re-election, "making himself a king", and that he went on "wild tirades" in 1865, as the Confederacy's defeat became more certain.[94]

Booth attended Lincoln's second inauguration on March 4 as the guest of his secret fiancée Lucy Hale. In the crowd below were Powell, Atzerodt, and Herold. There was no attempt to assassinate Lincoln during the inauguration. Later, Booth remarked about his "excellent kill the President, if I had wished."[79] On March 17, he learned that Lincoln would be attending a performance of the play Still Waters Run Deep at a hospital near the Soldier's Home. He assembled his team on a stretch of road near the Soldier's Home in hope of kidnapping Lincoln en route to the hospital, but the President did not appear.[95] Booth later learned that Lincoln had changed his plans at the last moment to attend a reception at the National Hotel in Washington — where Booth was staying.[79]

Assassination of Lincoln

Main article: Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

March 18, 1865, Ford's Theatre playbill—Booth's last acting appearance

On April 12, 1865, Booth heard the news that Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House. He told Louis J. Weichmann, a friend of John Surratt and a boarder at Mary Surratt's house, that he was done with the stage and that the only play he wanted to present henceforth was Venice Preserv'd. Weichmann did not understand the reference; Venice Preserv'd is about an assassination plot. Booth's scheme to kidnap Lincoln was no longer feasible with the Union Army's capture of Richmond and Lee's surrender, and he changed his goal to assassination.[96]

The previous day, Booth was in the crowd outside the White House when Lincoln gave an impromptu speech from his window. During the speech, Lincoln stated that he was in favor of granting suffrage to the former slaves; infuriated, Booth declared that it would be the last speech that Lincoln would ever make.[95][97][98]

On the morning of Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Booth went to Ford's Theatre to get his mail. While there, he was told by John Ford's brother that the President and Mrs. Lincoln would be attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre that evening, accompanied by Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant.[99] He immediately set about making plans for the assassination, which included making arrangements with livery stable owner James W. Pumphrey for a getaway horse and an escape route. Later that night, at 8:45 pm, Booth informed Powell, Herold, and Atzerodt of his intention to kill Lincoln. He assigned Powell to assassinate Secretary of State William H. Seward and Atzerodt to do so to Vice President Andrew Johnson. Herold would assist in their escape into Virginia.[100]

Currier and Ives depiction of Lincoln's assassination. L-to-r: Maj. Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Pres. Lincoln, and Booth

Historian Michael W. Kauffman wrote that, by targeting Lincoln and his two immediate successors to the presidency, Booth seems to have intended to decapitate the Union government and throw it into a state of panic and confusion.[101] In 1865, however, the second presidential successor would have been the president pro tempore of the U.S. Senate, Lafayette S. Foster, rather than Secretary Seward.[102] The possibility of assassinating the Union Army's commanding general as well was foiled when Grant declined the theatre invitation at his wife's insistence. Instead, the Grants departed Washington by train that evening for a visit to relatives in New Jersey.[29] Booth had hoped that the assassinations would create sufficient chaos within the Union that the Confederate government could reorganize and continue the war if one Confederate army remained in the field or, that failing, would avenge the South's defeat.[103]

Booth had free access to all parts of Ford's Theatre as a famous and popular actor who had frequently performed there and who was well known to its owner John T. Ford, even having his mail sent there.[104] Many believe that Booth had bored a spyhole into the door of the presidential box earlier that day, so that he could observe the box's occupants and verify that the President had made it to the play. Conversely, an April 1962 letter from Frank Ford, son of the theatre manager Harry Clay Ford, to George Olszewski, a National Park Service historian, includes: "Booth did not bore the hole in the door leading to the box [...]. The hole was bored by my father ... [to] allow the guard ... to look into the box".[105]

After spending time at the saloon during intermission, Booth entered Ford's Theater one last time at 10:10 pm. In the theater, he slipped into Lincoln's box at around 10:14 p.m. as the play progressed and shot the President in the back of the head with a .41 caliber Deringer pistol.[106] Booth's escape was almost thwarted by Major Henry Rathbone, who was in the presidential box with Mary Todd Lincoln.[107] Booth stabbed Rathbone when the startled officer lunged at him.[83] Rathbone's fiancée Clara Harris was also in the box but was not harmed.

Booth then jumped from the President's box to the stage, where he raised his knife and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis". (Latin for "Thus always to tyrants," attributed to Brutus at Caesar's assassination; state motto of Virginia and mentioned in the new "Maryland, My Maryland", future anthem of Booth's Maryland.) According to some accounts, Booth added, "I have done it, the South is avenged!"[36][108][109] Some witnesses reported that Booth fractured or otherwise injured his leg when his spur snagged a decorative U.S. Treasury Guard flag while leaping to the stage.[110] Historian Michael W. Kauffman questioned this legend in his book American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, writing that eyewitness accounts of Booth's hurried stage exit made it unlikely that his leg was broken then. Kauffman contends that Booth was injured later that night during his flight to escape when his horse tripped and fell on him, calling Booth's claim to the contrary an exaggeration to portray his own actions as heroic.[111]

Booth was the only one of the assassins to succeed. Powell was able to stab Seward, who was bedridden as a result of an earlier carriage accident; Seward was seriously wounded, but survived. Atzerodt lost his nerve and spent the evening drinking alcohol, never making an attempt to kill Johnson.

Reaction and pursuit

In the ensuing pandemonium inside Ford's Theatre, Booth fled by a stage door to the alley, where his getaway horse was held for him by Joseph "Peanuts" Burroughs.[112] The owner of the horse had warned Booth that the horse was high spirited and would break halter if left unattended. Booth left the horse with Edmund Spangler and Spangler arranged for Burroughs to hold it.

The fleeing assassin galloped into southern Maryland, accompanied by David Herold, having planned his escape route to take advantage of the sparsely settled area's lack of telegraphs and railroads, along with its predominantly Confederate sympathies.[100][113] He thought that the area's dense forests and the swampy terrain of Zekiah Swamp made it ideal for an escape route into rural Virginia.[90][100][114] At midnight, Booth and Herold arrived at Surratt's Tavern on the Brandywine Pike, 9 miles (14 km) from Washington, where they had stored guns and equipment earlier in the year as part of the kidnap plot.[115]

The fugitives then continued southward, stopping before dawn on April 15 for treatment of Booth's injured leg at the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd in St. Catharine, 25 miles (40 km) from Washington.[115] Mudd later said that Booth told him the injury occurred when his horse fell.[116] The next day, Booth and Herold arrived at the home of Samuel Cox around 4 am. As the two fugitives hid in the woods nearby, Cox contacted Thomas A. Jones, his foster brother and a Confederate agent in charge of spy operations in the southern Maryland area since 1862.[83][117] The War Department advertised a $100,000 reward ($1.67 million in 2021 USD) by order of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton for information leading to the arrest of Booth and his accomplices, and Federal troops were dispatched to search southern Maryland extensively, following tips reported by Federal intelligence agents to Col. Lafayette Baker.[118]

Booth's escape route

Federal troops combed the rural area's woods and swamps for Booth in the days following the assassination, as the nation experienced an outpouring of grief. On April 18, mourners waited seven abreast in a mile-long line outside the White House for the public viewing of the slain president, reposing in his open walnut casket in the black-draped East Room.[119] A cross of lilies was at the head and roses covered the coffin's lower half.[120] Thousands of mourners arriving on special trains jammed Washington for the next day's funeral, sleeping on hotel floors and even resorting to blankets spread outdoors on the Capitol's lawn.[121] Prominent African-American abolitionist leader and orator Frederick Douglass called the assassination an "unspeakable calamity".[122] Great indignation was directed towards Booth as the assassin's identity was telegraphed across the nation. Newspapers called him an "accursed devil," "monster," "madman," and a "wretched fiend."[123] Historian Dorothy Kunhardt writes: "Almost every family who kept a photograph album on the parlor table owned a likeness of John Wilkes Booth of the famous Booth family of actors. After the assassination Northerners slid the Booth card out of their albums: some threw it away, some burned it, some crumpled it angrily."[124] Even in the South, sorrow was expressed in some quarters. In Savannah, Georgia, the mayor and city council addressed a vast throng at an outdoor gathering to express their indignation, and many in the crowd wept.[125] Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston called Booth's act "a disgrace to the age".[126] Robert E. Lee also expressed regret at Lincoln's death by Booth's hand.[122]

Not all were grief-stricken. In New York City, a man was attacked by an enraged crowd when he shouted, "It served Old Abe right!" after hearing the news of Lincoln's death.[125] Elsewhere in the South, Lincoln was hated in death as in life, and Booth was viewed as a hero as many rejoiced at news of his deed.[122] Other Southerners feared that a vengeful North would exact a terrible retribution upon the defeated former Confederate states. "Instead of being a great Southern hero, his deed was considered the worst possible tragedy that could have befallen the South as well as the North," writes Kunhardt.[127]

Booth lay in hiding in the Maryland woods, waiting for an opportunity to cross the Potomac River into Virginia. He read the accounts of national mourning reported in the newspapers brought to him by Jones each day.[127] By April 20, he was aware that some of his co-conspirators had already been arrested: Mary Surratt, Powell (or Paine), Arnold, and O'Laughlen.[128] Booth was surprised to find little public sympathy for his action, especially from those anti-Lincoln newspapers that had previously excoriated the President in life. News of the assassination reached the far corners of the nation, and indignation was aroused against Lincoln's critics, whom many blamed for encouraging Booth to act. The San Francisco Chronicle editorialized:

Booth has simply carried out what...secession politicians and journalists have been for years expressing in words...who have denounced the President as a "tyrant," a "despot," a "usurper," hinted at, and virtually recommended.[129]

Booth wrote of his dismay in a journal entry on April 21, as he awaited nightfall before crossing the Potomac River into Virginia (see map):

For six months we had worked to capture. But our cause being almost lost, something decisive and great must be done. I struck boldly, and not as the papers say. I can never repent it, though we hated to kill.[130][131]

That same day, the nine-car funeral train bearing Lincoln's body departed Washington on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, arriving at Baltimore's Camden Station at 10 am, the first stop on a 13-day journey to Springfield, Illinois, its final destination.[83][132][133] The funeral train slowly made its way westward through seven states, stopping en route at Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Trenton, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis during the following days. About 7 million people[134] lined the railroad tracks along the 1,662-mile (2,675 km) route, holding aloft signs with legends such as "We mourn our loss," "He lives in the hearts of his people," and "The darkest hour in history."[135][136]

Broadside advertising reward for capture of Lincoln assassination conspirators, illustrated with photographic prints of John Surratt, John Wilkes Booth, and David Herold

In the cities where the train stopped, 1.5 million people viewed Lincoln in his coffin.[122][133][135] Aboard the train was Chauncey Depew, a New York politician and later president of the New York Central Railroad, who said, "As we sped over the rails at night, the scene was the most pathetic ever witnessed. At every crossroads the glare of innumerable torches illuminated the whole population, kneeling on the ground."[133] Dorothy Kunhardt called the funeral train's journey "the mightiest outpouring of national grief the world had yet seen."[137]

Mourners were viewing Lincoln's remains when the funeral train steamed into Harrisburg at 8:20 pm, while Booth and Herold were provided with a boat and compass by Jones to cross the Potomac at night on April 21.[83] Instead of reaching Virginia, they mistakenly navigated upriver to a bend in the broad Potomac River, coming ashore again in Maryland on April 22.[138] The 23-year-old Herold knew the area well, having frequently hunted there, and recognized a nearby farm as belonging to a Confederate sympathizer. The farmer led them to his son-in-law, Col. John J. Hughes, who provided the fugitives with food and a hideout until nightfall, for a second attempt to row across the river to Virginia.[139] Booth wrote in his diary:

With every man's hand against me, I am here in despair. And why; For doing what Brutus was honored for... And yet I for striking down a greater tyrant than they ever knew am looked upon as a common cutthroat.[139]

The pair finally reached the Virginia shore near Machodoc Creek before dawn on April 23.[140] There, they made contact with Thomas Harbin, whom Booth had previously brought into his erstwhile kidnapping plot. Harbin took Booth and Herold to another Confederate agent in the area named William Bryant who supplied them with horses.[139][141]

While Lincoln's funeral train was in New York City on April 24, Lieutenant Edward P. Doherty was dispatched from Washington at 2 p.m. with a detachment of 26 Union soldiers from the 16th New York Cavalry Regiment to capture Booth in Virginia,[142] accompanied by Lieutenant Colonel Everton Conger, an intelligence officer assigned by Lafayette Baker. The detachment steamed 70 miles (113 km) down the Potomac River on the boat John S. Ide, landing at Belle Plain, Virginia, at 10 pm.[142][143] The pursuers crossed the Rappahannock River and tracked Booth and Herold to Richard H. Garrett's farm, about 2 miles (3 km) south of Port Royal, Virginia. Booth and Herold had been led to the farm on April 24 by William S. Jett, a former private in the 9th Virginia Cavalry, whom they had met before crossing the Rappahannock.[138] The Garretts were unaware of Lincoln's assassination; Booth was introduced to them as "James W. Boyd", a Confederate soldier, they were told, who had been wounded in the battle of Petersburg and was returning home.[144]

Garrett's 11-year-old son Richard was an eyewitness. In later years, he became a Baptist minister and widely lectured on the events of Booth's demise at his family's farm.[144] In 1921, Garrett's lecture was published in the Confederate Veteran as the "True Story of the Capture of John Wilkes Booth."[145] According to his account, Booth and Herold arrived at the Garretts' farm, located on the road to Bowling Green, around 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon. Confederate mail delivery had ceased with the collapse of the Confederate government, he explained, so the Garretts were unaware of Lincoln's assassination.[145] After having dinner with the Garretts that evening, Booth learned of the surrender of Johnston's army, the last Confederate armed force of any size. Its capitulation meant that the Civil War was unquestionably over and Booth's attempt to save the Confederacy by Lincoln's assassination had failed.[146] The Garretts also finally learned of Lincoln's death and the substantial reward for Booth's capture. Booth, said Garrett, displayed no reaction other than to ask if the family would turn in the fugitive should they have the opportunity. Still not aware of their guest's true identity, one of the older Garrett sons averred that they might, if only because they needed the money. The next day, Booth told the Garretts that he intended to reach Mexico, drawing a route on a map of theirs.[145] Biographer Theodore Roscoe said of Garrett's account, "Almost nothing written or testified in respect to the doings of the fugitives at Garrett's farm can be taken at face value. Nobody knows exactly what Booth said to the Garretts, or they to him."[147]
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

Postby admin » Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:02 pm

Part 2 of 2


The porch of the Garrett farmhouse, where Booth died in 1865

The guns in Booth's possession when he was captured, Ford's Theatre National Historic Site (2011)

Conger tracked down Jett and interrogated him, learning of Booth's location at the Garrett farm. Before dawn on April 26, the soldiers caught up with the fugitives, who were hiding in Garrett's tobacco barn. David Herold surrendered, but Booth refused Conger's demand to surrender, saying, "I prefer to come out and fight." The soldiers then set the barn on fire.[148][149] As Booth moved about inside the blazing barn, Sergeant Boston Corbett shot him. According to Corbett's later account, he fired at Booth because the fugitive "raised his pistol to shoot" at them.[149] Conger's report to Stanton stated that Corbett shot Booth "without order, pretext or excuse," and recommended that Corbett be punished for disobeying orders to take Booth alive.[149] Booth, fatally wounded in the neck, was dragged from the barn to the porch of Garrett's farmhouse, where he died three hours later, aged 26.[144] The bullet had pierced three vertebrae and partially severed his spinal cord, paralyzing him.[21][148] In his dying moments, he reportedly whispered, "Tell my mother I died for my country."[144][148] Asking that his hands be raised to his face so that he could see them, Booth uttered his last words, "Useless, useless," and died as dawn was breaking of asphyxiation as a result of his wounds.[148][150] In Booth's pockets were found a compass, a candle, pictures of five women (actresses Alice Grey, Helen Western, Effie Germon, Fannie Brown, and Booth's fiancée Lucy Hale), and his diary, where he had written of Lincoln's death, "Our country owed all her troubles to him, and God simply made me the instrument of his punishment."[151]

Shortly after Booth's death, his brother Edwin wrote to his sister Asia, "Think no more of him as your brother; he is dead to us now, as he soon must be to all the world, but imagine the boy you loved to be in that better part of his spirit, in another world."[152] Asia also had in her possession a sealed letter that Booth had given her in January 1865 for safekeeping, only to be opened upon his death.[153] In the letter, Booth had written:

I know how foolish I shall be deemed for undertaking such a step as this, where, on one side, I have many friends and everything to make me happy ... to give up all ... seems insane; but God is my judge. I love justice more than I do a country that disowns it, more than fame or wealth.[84]

Booth's letter was seized by Federal troops, along with other family papers at Asia's house, and published by The New York Times while the manhunt was still underway. It explained his reasons for plotting against Lincoln. In it he decried Lincoln's war policy as one of "total annihilation", and said:

I have ever held the South was right. The very nomination of Abraham Lincoln, four years ago, spoke plainly war upon Southern rights and institutions. ...And looking upon African Slavery from the same stand-point held by the noble framers of our constitution, I for one, have ever considered it one of the greatest blessings (both for themselves and us,) that God has ever bestowed upon a favored nation. ...I have also studied hard to discover upon what grounds the right of a State to secede has been denied, when our very name, United States, and the Declaration of Independence, both provide for secession.[2]


The Historic Site marker on U.S. Route 301 near Port Royal, where the Garrett barn and farmhouse once stood in what is now the highway's median (2007)

Booth's body was shrouded in a blanket and tied to the side of an old farm wagon for the trip back to Belle Plain.[154] There, his corpse was taken aboard the ironclad USS Montauk and brought to the Washington Navy Yard for identification and an autopsy. The body was identified there as Booth's by more than ten people who knew him.[155] Among the identifying features used to make sure that the man that was killed was Booth was a tattoo on his left hand with his initials J.W.B., and a distinct scar on the back of his neck.[156] The third, fourth, and fifth vertebrae were removed during the autopsy to allow access to the bullet. These bones are still on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C.[157] The body was then buried in a storage room at the Old Penitentiary, later moved to a warehouse at the Washington Arsenal on October 1, 1867.[158] In 1869, the remains were once again identified before being released to the Booth family, where they were buried in the family plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, after a burial ceremony conducted by Fleming James, minister of Christ Episcopal Church, in the presence of more than 40 people.[158][159][160][161] Russell Conwell visited homes in the vanquished former Confederate states during this time, and he found that hatred of Lincoln still smoldered. "Photographs of Wilkes Booth, with the last words of great martyrs printed upon its borders...adorn their drawing rooms".[122]

Eight others implicated in Lincoln's assassination were tried by a military tribunal in Washington, D.C., and found guilty on June 30, 1865.[162] Mary Surratt,[163] Lewis Powell, David Herold, and George Atzerodt were hanged in the Old Arsenal Penitentiary on July 7, 1865.[164] Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Michael O'Laughlen were sentenced to life imprisonment at Fort Jefferson in Florida's isolated Dry Tortugas. Edmund Spangler was given a six-year term in prison.[78] O'Laughlen died in a yellow fever epidemic there in 1867. The others were eventually pardoned in February 1869 by President Andrew Johnson.[165]

Forty years later, when the centenary of Lincoln's birth was celebrated in 1909, a border state official reflected on Booth's assassination of Lincoln: "Confederate veterans held public services and gave public expression to the sentiment, that 'had Lincoln lived' the days of Reconstruction might have been softened and the era of good feeling ushered in earlier."[122] The majority of Northerners viewed Booth as a madman or monster who murdered the savior of the Union, while in the South, many cursed Booth for bringing upon them the harsh revenge of an incensed North instead of the reconciliation promised by Lincoln.[166] A century later, Goodrich concluded in 2005, "For millions of people, particularly in the South, it would be decades before the impact of the Lincoln assassination began to release its terrible hold on their lives".[167]

Theories of Booth's motivation

Author Francis Wilson was 11 years old at the time of Lincoln's assassination. He wrote an epitaph of Booth in his 1929 book John Wilkes Booth: "In the terrible deed he committed, he was actuated by no thought of monetary gain, but by a self-sacrificing, albeit wholly fanatical devotion to a cause he thought supreme."[168] Others have seen less unselfish motives, such as shame, ambition, and sibling rivalry for achievement and fame.[9]

Theories of Booth's escape

Main article: James William Boyd

In 1907, Finis L. Bates wrote Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth, contending that a Booth look-alike was mistakenly killed at the Garrett farm while Booth eluded his pursuers.[169] Booth, said Bates, assumed the pseudonym "John St. Helen" and settled on the Paluxy River near Glen Rose, Texas, and later moved to Granbury, Texas. He fell gravely ill and made a deathbed confession that he was the fugitive assassin, but he then recovered and fled, eventually committing suicide in 1903 in Enid, Oklahoma, under the alias "David E. George".[11][169][170] By 1913, more than 70,000 copies of the book had been sold, and Bates exhibited St. Helen's mummified body in carnival sideshows.[11]

Booth Family gravesite, Green Mount Cemetery, where Booth is buried in an unmarked grave (2008)

Visitors to the Booth family plot often leave pennies, which depict Lincoln on their obverse, on the large monument of Booth's father Junius

In response, the Maryland Historical Society published an account in 1913 by Baltimore mayor William M. Pegram, who had viewed Booth's remains upon the casket's arrival at the Weaver funeral home in Baltimore on February 18, 1869, for burial at Green Mount Cemetery. Pegram had known Booth well as a young man; he submitted a sworn statement that the body which he had seen in 1869 was Booth's.[171] Others positively identified this body as Booth at the funeral home, including Booth's mother, brother, and sister, along with his dentist and other Baltimore acquaintances.[11] In 1911, The New York Times had published an account by their reporter detailing the burial of Booth's body at the cemetery and those who were witnesses.[159] The rumor periodically revived, as in the 1920s when a corpse was exhibited on a national tour by a carnival promoter and advertised as the "Man Who Shot Lincoln". According to a 1938 article in the Saturday Evening Post, the exhibitor said that he obtained St. Helen's corpse from Bates' widow.[172]

The Lincoln Conspiracy (1977) contended that there was a government plot to conceal Booth's escape, reviving interest in the story and prompting the display of St. Helen's mummified body in Chicago that year.[173] The book sold more than one million copies and was made into a feature film called The Lincoln Conspiracy which was theatrically released later that year.[174] The 1998 book The Curse of Cain: The Untold Story of John Wilkes Booth contended that Booth had escaped, sought refuge in Japan, and eventually returned to the United States.[175] In 1994 two historians together with several descendants sought a court order for the exhumation of Booth's body at Green Mount Cemetery which was, according to their lawyer, "intended to prove or disprove longstanding theories on Booth's escape" by conducting a photo-superimposition analysis.[176][177] The application was blocked by Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan, who cited, among other things, "the unreliability of petitioners' less-than-convincing escape/cover-up theory" as a major factor in his decision. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the ruling.[156][178]

In December 2010, descendants of Edwin Booth reported that they obtained permission to exhume the Shakespearean actor's body to obtain DNA samples to compare with a sample of his brother John's DNA to refute the rumor that John had escaped after the assassination. Bree Harvey, a spokesman from the Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Edwin Booth is buried, denied reports that the family had contacted them and requested to exhume Edwin's body.[179] The family hoped to obtain samples of John Wilkes's DNA from remains such as vertebrae stored at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Maryland.[180] On March 30, 2013, museum spokeswoman Carol Johnson announced that the family's request to extract DNA from the vertebrae had been rejected.[181]

In popular culture


• Booth was portrayed by Raoul Walsh in the 1915 film Birth of a Nation.
• John Wilkes Booth is played by John Derek in the film Prince of Players (1955), a biography of Edwin Booth (played by Richard Burton).[182]
• Booth is played by Rob Morrow in the television film The Day Lincoln Was Shot (1998).[183][184]
• James Marsden plays Booth in a flashback cameo in the comedy Zoolander (2001).
• Chris Conner portrayed John Wilkes Booth in the director's cut of the 2003 film Gods and Generals.
• Christian Camargo depicts Booth in National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007).
• Booth is portrayed by Toby Kebbell in the Robert Redford film The Conspirator (2010).[185]
• Jesse Johnson plays Booth in the telefim Killing Lincoln (2013), where he is the main character.[186]


• In David O. Stewart's novel, The Lincoln Deception (ISBN 978-0758290670), two people in 1900 try to discover the true motive behind Booth's plot.
• In G. J. A. O'Toole's 1979 historical fiction-mystery novel The Cosgrove Report, a present-day private detective investigates the authenticity of a 19th-century manuscript that alleges Booth survived the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination. (ISBN 978-0802144072)[187][188]
• In Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, Booth is transformed into a vampire a few years before the Civil War, and assassinates Lincoln out of natural sympathy for the Confederate States, whose slave population provides America's vampires with an abundant source of blood.
• Booth, along with Lincoln, are depicted in Dan Gutman's children's novel Flashback Four, where four children from the 21st Century travel back in time to photograph Lincoln during the Gettysburg Address and return with the photo for an eccentric rich lady.

Stage productions

• Booth is featured as a central character of Stephen Sondheim's musical Assassins, in which his assassination of Lincoln is depicted in a musical number called "The Ballad of Booth".[189]
• Austin-based theatre company The Hidden Room developed a staged reading of John Wilkes Booth's Richard III based on the manuscript promptbook in the collection of the Harry Ransom Center.[190] The promptbook is one of only two known surviving promptbooks created by John Wilkes Booth, and uses the Colley Cibber adaptation of Shakespeare's text. The full book with the actor's handwritten notations has been digitized.[191] The other promptbook is also for Richard III, and can be found in the Harvard Theatre Collection.


• The Wagon Train episode "The John Wilbot Story" (1958) is based on the premise that Booth survived and moved west; the character John Wilbot is played by Dane Clark.[192]
• Booth was portrayed by John Lasell in The Twilight Zone episode "Back There" (1961).[193]
• All three Booth brothers interact with the Morehouses and with Elizabeth in New York City in episode 9 of season 1 ("A Day to Give Thanks") of the BBC America series Copper. John Wilkes is particularly taken with Elizabeth, who is helping them raise funds for the brothers' 1864 benefit performance of Julius Caesar at the Winter Garden Theatre.[194]
• Booth is portrayed by Kelly Blatz in "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" episode (S01E02) of Timeless.[195]
• In the early 1990s, an episode of the American TV show, Unsolved Mysteries, presented originally by Robert Stack, examined sympathetically the theory that John Wilkes Booth was not killed in Maryland but escaped, dying in Oklahoma in 1903. The episode was re-edited and hosted by Dennis Farina in 2009.[196]
• In The Simpsons episode "I Love Lisa" (9F13), Bart Simpson plays the part of John Wilkes Booth in a condensed version of Lincoln's assassination, and Lincoln is played by Milhouse Van Houten. Bart jokingly models his performance after The Terminator and his most famous line ("Hasta La Vista, Abey") before being dragged off stage.
• In Touched by an Angel, the episode Beautiful Dreamer (1998) shows the angels with Lincoln during his final days. As Booth is dying at the barn in Virginia, Andrew, the angel of death, encourages him to repent but Booth dies unrepentant.
• In the TV series Bones, Seeley Booth is said to be a descendant of John Wilkes Booth; according to Brennan, the similar facial construction is "obvious."
• In the 2019 web television series "Blame the Hero", Booth is portrayed by Anthony Padilla. In the series, multiple time travelers prevent Booth from killing President Lincoln.


• "John Wilkes Booth" is a song written by Mary Chapin Carpenter, commissioned and notably interpreted by Tony Rice. The song is included on his recording Native American. The commissioning originated with Rice's interest in this historical figure.[197]

Video games

• In the 2013 video game BioShock Infinite, John Wilkes Booth is viewed as a hero in the fictional airborne city of Columbia. A cult's headquarters features a large statue of Booth in its lobby, as well as a painting depicting Booth as a saint while assassinating a devil version of Abraham Lincoln.[198]

See also

• Biography portal
• Ogarita Booth Henderson



1. Clarke, Asia Booth (1996). Alford, Terry (ed.). John Wilkes Booth: A Sister's Memoir. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi. p. ix. ISBN 0-87805-883-4.
2. "The murderer of Mr. Lincoln"(PDF). The New York Times. April 21, 1865.
3. Hamner, Christopher. "Booth's Reason for AssassinationArchived December 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Accessed July 12, 2011.
4. Smith, Gene (1992). American Gothic: the story of America's legendary theatrical family, Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 23. ISBN 0-671-76713-5.
5. Kauffman, Michael W. (2004). American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. New York City: Random House. pp. 81–82. ISBN 0-375-50785-X.
6. Smith, p. 18.
7. Booth's uncle Algernon Sydney Booth was an ancestor of Cherie Blair(née Booth), wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. – Westwood, Philip (2002). "The Lincoln-Blair Affair". Genealogy Today. Retrieved February 2, 2009. – Coates, Bill (August 22, 2006). "Tony Blair and John Wilkes Booth". Madera Tribune. Archived from the originalon September 18, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
8. Smith, pp. 43–44.
9. Titone, Nora (2010). My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy. New York City: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-8605-0.
10. Kimmel, Stanley (1969). The Mad Booths of Maryland. New York City: Dover Books. p. 68. LCCN 69019162.
11. McCardell, Lee (December 27, 1931). "The body in John Wilkes Booth's grave". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore, Maryland: Tronc.
12. John Wilkes Booth's boyhood home of Tudor Hall still stands on Maryland Route 22 near Bel Air. It was acquired by Harford County in 2006 to be eventually opened to the public as a historic site and museum.
13. Ruane, Michael E. (February 4, 2001). "Birthplace of Infamy". Washington Post. Washington DC: Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
14. Tom (September 12, 2013). "John Wilkes Booth's Family on North Exeter Street". Ghosts of Baltimore. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
15. Townsend, George Alfred (1865). The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth (1977 ed.). New York: Dick and Fitzgerald. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-9764805-3-2.
16. Kimmel, p. 70.
17. Clarke, pp. 39–40.
18. Kaufman, Michael W. (2004). American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. New York City: Random House. pp. 87–91. ISBN 0-375-50785-X.
19. Goodrich, Thomas (2005). The Darkest Dawn. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University. p. 210. ISBN 0-253-32599-4.
20. Clarke, pp. 43–45.
21. Goodrich, p. 211.
22. Smith, p. 60.
23. Smith, p. 49.
24. Tom (September 9, 2013). "Original Ad For John Wilkes Booth's Acting Debut". Ghosts of Baltimore. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
25. Smith, pp. 61–62.
26. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 95.
27. "Original Ad for John Wilkes Booth's Acting Debut". Ghosts of Baltimore. September 9, 2013. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
28. Bishop, Jim (1955). The Day Lincoln Was Shot. Harper & Row. pp. 63–64. LCCN 54012170.
29. Sheads, Scott; Toomey, Daniel (1997). Baltimore During the Civil War. Linthicum, Md.: Toomey Press. pp. 77–79. ISBN 0-9612670-7-0.
30. Kimmel, p. 149.
31. Balsiger, David; Sellier, Charles Jr. (1994). The Lincoln Conspiracy. Buccaneer. p. 24. ISBN 1-56849-531-5.
32. Kimmel, p. 150.
33. Kimmel, pp. 151–153.
34. Goodrich, pp. 35–36.
35. Bishop, p. 23.
36. Donald, David Herbert(1995). Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 585. ISBN 0-684-80846-3.
37. Townsend, p. 26.
38. Thomas, Benjamin P. (1952). Abraham Lincoln, a Biography. New York City: Knopf Doubleday. p. 519. LCCN 52006425.
39. Smith, pp. 71–72.
40. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
41. Kimmel, p. 157.
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43. Smith, p. 80.
44. Gardiner, Richard. "John Wilkes Booth was Shot at the Rankin". Columbus State University. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
45. Kimmel, p. 159.
46. Smith, p. 86.
47. Kimmel, pp. 166–167.
48. Wilson, Francis (1972). John Wilkes Booth. New York: Blom. pp. 39–40. LCCN 74091588.
49. Kimmel, p. 170.
50. Smith, p. 97.
51. Kimmel, p. 172.
52. Goodrich, p. 37.
53. Smith, p. 101.
54. Kunhardt, Jr., Philip (1983). A New Birth of Freedom. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 43. ISBN 0-316-50600-1.
55. "John Wilkes Booth Arranges to Appear in Ford's Theatre Play Which Lincoln Would Come to See, 1863". SMF Primary Sources. Shapell Manuscript Foundation.
56. Kunhardt, Jr., A New Birth of Freedom, pp. 342–343
57. Smith, p. 105.
58. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 149.
59. Kimmel, p. 177.
60. Clarke, p. 87.
61. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 188.
62. Clarke, pp. 81–84.
63. Jump up to:a b c d Lockwood, John (March 1, 2003). "Booth's oil-field venture goes bust". The Washington Times.
64. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 127–128 and 136.
65. Allen, Thomas B. (1992). The Blue and the Gray. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. p. 41. ISBN 0-87044-876-5.
66. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 105.
67. Goodrich, pp. 60–61.
68. Rhodehamel, John; Taper, Louise, eds. (1997). Right or Wrong, God Judge Me: The Writings of John Wilkes Booth. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois. pp. 55–64. ISBN 0-252-02347-1.
69. Mitchell, p.87
70. "States Which Seceded". eHistory. Civil War Articles. Ohio State University. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
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72. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 81 and 137.
73. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 114–117.
74. Lorant, Stefan (1954). The Life of Abraham Lincoln. New American Library. p. 250. LCCN 56027706.
75. Smith, p. 107.
76. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 124.
77. Brewer, Bob (2003). Shadow of the Sentinel. Simon & Schuster. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7432-1968-6.
78. Kunhardt, Dorothy; Kunhardt, Philip, Jr. (1965). Twenty Days. North Hollywood, California: Newcastle. p. 202. LCCN 62015660.
79. Ward, Geoffrey C. (1990). The Civil War – an illustrated history. New York City: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 361–363. ISBN 0-394-56285-2.
80. Smith, p. 109.
81. Wilson, p. 43.
82. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 131 and 166.
83. Toomey, Daniel Carroll (1983). The Civil War in Maryland. Baltimore, Maryland: Toomey Press. pp. 149–151. ISBN 0-9612670-0-3.
84. Bishop, p. 72.
85. Townsend, p. 41.
86. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 140–141.
87. Donald, p. 587.
88. Goodrich, p. 61.
89. Kunhardt III, Philip B. (February 2009). "Lincoln's Contested Legacy". Smithsonian. Vol. 39 no. 11. Smithsonian Institution. p. 38.
90. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 143–144.
91. "John Wilkes Booth Letter February 1865: Lincoln Conspiracy, Fords Theatre". SMF Primary Resources. Shapell Manuscript Foundation.
92. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 177–184.
93. Clarke, p. 88.
94. Clarke, p. 89.
95. Donald, p. 588.
96. Stern, Philip Van Doren (1955). The Man Who Killed Lincoln. Garden City, NY: Dolphin. p. 20. LCCN 99215784.
97. Wilson, p. 80.
98. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 210.
99. Goodrich, pp. 37–38.
100. Townsend, pp. 42–43.
101. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 353.
102. Bomboy, Scott (August 11, 2017). "Five little-known men who almost became president". Constitution Daily. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: National Constitution Center. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
103. Goodrich, pp. 39 and 97.
104. Bishop, p. 102.
105. Emerson, Rae (November 12, 2011). "Ford's Theatre historical review of Bill O'Reilly's 'Lincoln' book". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 19, 2020.
106. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 227.
107. Townsend, p. 8.
108. Smith, p. 154.
109. Goodrich, p. 97.
110. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 15.
111. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 272–73.
112. Pitman, Benn, ed. (1865). The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin. p. vi.
113. Bishop, p. 66.
114. "The Death of John Wilkes Booth". Retrieved August 15, 2010.
115. Smith, p. 174.
116. Mudd, Samuel A. (1906). Mudd, Nettie (ed.). The Life of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd (4th ed.). New York and Washington: Neale Publishing Company. pp. 20–21, 316–318.
117. Balsiger and Sellier, Jr., p. 191.
118. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, pp. 106–107. The 26 soldiers who caught Booth were eventually awarded $1,653.85 each by Congress, along with $5,250 for Lieut. Doherty, who led the detachment, and $15,000 for Col. Lafayette Baker.
119. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p. 120.
120. Townsend, p. 14.
121. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p. 123.
122. Kunhardt III, Philip B., "Lincoln's Contested Legacy," Smithsonian, pp. 34–35.
123. Smith, p. 184.
124. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p. 107.
125. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, pp. 89–90.
126. Allen, p. 309.
127. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p. 203.
128. Stern, p. 251.
129. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 80.
130. Smith, p. 187.
131. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p. 178.
132. Goodrich, p. 195.
133. Hansen, Peter A. (February 2009). "The funeral train, 1865". Trains. Kalmbach. 69 (2): 34–37. ISSN 0041-0934.
134. "Introduction: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln". American Experience. PBS. Retrieved April 7,2013. Along the way, some seven million people lined the tracks or filed past Lincoln's open casket to pay their respects to their fallen leader.
135. Smith, p. 192.
136. Kauffman, American Brutus, p. 291.
137. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, p. 139.
138. "John Wilkes Booth's Escape Route". Ford's Theatre, National Historic Site. National Park Service. December 22, 2004. Archived from the original on January 25, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
139. Smith, pp. 197–198.
140. Kimmel, pp. 238–240.
141. Stern, p. 279.
142. Smith, pp. 203–204.
143. Townsend, p. 29.
144. "John Wilkes Booth's Last Days" (PDF). The New York Times. July 30, 1896. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
145. Garrett, Richard Baynham; Garrett, R. B. (October 1963). Fleet, Betsy (ed.). "A Chapter of Unwritten History: Richard Baynham Garrett's Account of the Flight and Death of John Wilkes Booth". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society. 71 (4): 391–395. JSTOR 4246969.
146. Stern, p. 306.
147. Theodore Roscoe, The Web of Conspiracy (New York, 1959, p. 376), footnoted in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 71, No. 4 (October 1963), Virginia Historical Society, p. 391.
148. Smith, pp. 210–213.
149. Johnson, Byron B. (1914). John Wilkes Booth and Jefferson Davis – a true story of their capture. Boston: The Lincoln & Smith Press. pp. 35–36.
150. Hanchett, William (1986). The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies. University of Illinois Press. pp. 140–141. ISBN 0-252-01361-1.
151. Donald, p. 597.
152. Clarke, p. 92.
153. Bishop, p. 70.
154. Townsend, p. 38.
155. Kunhardt, Twenty Days, pp. 181–182.
156. Kauffman, American Brutus, pp. 393–394.
157. Schlichenmeyer, Terri (August 21, 2007). "Missing body parts of famous people". CNN. Retrieved January 28, 2009.
158. Smith, pp. 239–241.
159. Freiberger, Edward (February 26, 1911). "Grave of Lincoln's Assassin Disclosed at Last" (PDF). The New York Times. Retrieved February 10, 2009.
160. Kauffman, Michael W. (1978). "Fort Lesley McNair and the Lincoln Conspirators". Lincoln Herald. 80: 176–188.
161. "On the 18th of February, 1869, Booth's remains were deposited in Weaver's private vault at Green Mount Cemetery awaiting warmer weather for digging a grave. Burial occurred in Green Mount Cemetery on June 22, 1869. Booth was an Episcopalian, and the ceremony was conducted by the Reverend Minister Fleming, James of Christ Episcopal Church, where Weaver was a sexton." (T. 5/25/95 at p. 117; Ex. 22H). Gorman & Williams Attorneys at Law: Sources on the Wilkes Booth case. The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (September 1995), No. 1531; Archived January 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
162. Steers, Jr., Edward (2001). Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 222–7. ISBN 978-0-8131-2217-5.
163. Surratt was the first woman to be executed in the U.S. In 1976, Surratt House and Gardens were restored and opened to the public. The site includes a museum. See: Surratt House Museum.
164. Kunhardt, pp. 204–206.
165. Smith, p. 239.
166. Goodrich, p. 294.
167. Goodrich, p. 289.
168. Wilson, p. 19.
169. Bates, Finis L. (1907). Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth. Atlanta, Ga.: J. L. Nichols. pp. 5–6. LCCN 45052628.
170. Coppedge, Clay (September 8, 2009). "Texas Trails: Man of Mystery". Country World News. Archived from the original on July 8, 2011.
171. Pegram, William M. (December 1913). "The body of John Wilkes Booth". Journal. Maryland Historical Society: 1–4.
172. Johnston, Alva (February 10, 1938). "John Wilkes Booth on Tour". The Saturday Evening Post. CCX: 34–38. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
173. "Dredging up the John Wilkes Booth body argument". The Baltimore Sun. December 13, 1977. pp. B1–B5.
174. Balsiger and Sellier, Jr., front cover.
175. Nottingham, Theodore J. (1998). The Curse of Cain: The Untold Story of John Wilkes Booth. Sovereign. p. iv. ISBN 1-58006-021-8.
176. "New Scrutiny on John Wilkes Booth". The New York Times. October 24, 1994. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
177. Kauffman, Michael (May–June 1995). "Historians Oppose Opening of Booth Grave". Civil War Times.
178. Gorman, Francis J. (1995). "Exposing the myth that John Wilkes Booth escaped". Gorman and Williams. Archived from the originalon January 3, 2009. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
179. "Cambridge cemetery waiting to hear from John Wilkes Booth's family about digging brother up". Cantabrigia. Archived from the original on May 30, 2011. Retrieved May 16, 2011.
180. "Brother of John Wilkes Booth to Be Exhumed". The Philadelphia Inquirer. December 23, 2010. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010.
181. Colimore, Edward (March 30, 2013). "Booth mystery must remain so – for now". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the originalon March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 28, 2016.
182. Prince of Players at the TCM Movie Database
183. Morrow, Rob. "Bio". Rob Morrow. Rob Morrow. Retrieved February 24,2019.
184. The Day Lincoln Was Shot at IMDb
185. The Conspirator at AllMovie
186. Killing Lincoln official website
187. "The Cosgrove Report". Kirkus Reviews. November 23, 1979. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
188. The Cosgrove Report. Grove Atlantic. February 10, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
189. Assassins at the Internet Broadway Database
190. Harry Ransom Center (February 2, 2016), Staged reading of "Richard III", retrieved March 15, 2017
191. "John Wilkes Booth's Promptbook for Richard III". Retrieved March 15, 2017.
192. "TV Theatre". Salt Lake City Tribune. June 11, 1958. p. 12.(subscription required)
193. Thompson, Dave (November 1, 2015). The Twilight Zone FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the Fifth Dimension and Beyond. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 343. ISBN 9781495046100. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
194. Zaman, Farihah (October 14, 2012). "Copper: "A Day To Give Thanks"". TV Club. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
195. "Timeless – Season 1, Episode 2: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln". Retrieved April 25, 2018.
196. "John Wilkes Booth". Unsolved Mysteries. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
197. Montgomery, David (April 18, 1999). "Happy Boothday to you: An intrepid correspondent rides, rolls and rows his way into history chasing the ghost of John Wilkes Booth". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
198. Quan-Madrid, Alejandro (April 18, 1999). "BioShock Infinite forces players to confront racism (hands-on preview)". VentureBeat. Retrieved May 21, 2018.


• Allen, Thomas B. (1992). The Blue and the Gray. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. ISBN 0-87044-876-5.
• Balsiger, David; Sellier, Charles Jr. (1994). The Lincoln Conspiracy. Buccaneer. ISBN 1-56849-531-5.
• Bates, Finis L. (1907). Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth. Atlanta, Ga.: J. L. Nichols. LCCN 45052628.
• Bishop, Jim (1955). The Day Lincoln Was Shot. Harper & Row. LCCN 54012170.
• Clarke, Asia Booth (1996). Alford, Terry (ed.). John Wilkes Booth: A Sister's Memoir. Jackson, Miss.: University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 0-87805-883-4.
• Coates, Bill (August 22, 2006). "Tony Blair and John Wilkes Booth". Madera Tribune. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008.
• Donald, David Herbert (1995). Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-684-80846-3.
• Freiberger, Edward (February 26, 1911). "Grave of Lincoln's Assassin Disclosed at Last" (PDF). The New York Times.
• Garrett, Richard Baynham; Garrett, R. B. (October 1963). Fleet, Betsy (ed.). "A Chapter of Unwritten History: Richard Baynham Garrett's Account of the Flight and Death of John Wilkes Booth". The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Virginia Historical Society. 71 (4): 387–407. JSTOR 4246969.
• Goodrich, Thomas (2005). The Darkest Dawn. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University. ISBN 0-253-32599-4.
• Gorman, Francis J. (1995). "Exposing the myth that John Wilkes Booth escaped". Gorman and Williams. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009.
• Hanchett, William (1986). The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01361-1.
• Hansen, Peter A. (February 2009). "The funeral train, 1865". Trains. Kalmbach. 69 (2). ISSN 0041-0934.
• Johnson, Byron B. (1914). John Wilkes Booth and Jefferson Davis – a true story of their capture. Boston: The Lincoln & Smith Press.
• Johnston, Alva (February 19, 1928). "John Wilkes Booth on Tour". The Saturday Evening Post. CCX.
• Kauffman, Michael W. (2004). American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50785-X.
• Kauffman, Michael W. (1978). "Fort Lesley McNair and the Lincoln Conspirators". Lincoln Herald. 80.
• Kauffman, Michael W. (May–June 1995). "Historians Oppose Opening of Booth Grave". Civil War Times.
• Kimmel, Stanley (1969). The Mad Booths of Maryland. New York: Dover. LCCN 69019162.
• Kunhardt, Dorothy; Kunhardt, Philip, Jr. (1965). Twenty Days. North Hollywood, Calif.: Newcastle. LCCN 62015660.
• Kunhardt, Jr., Philip (1983). A New Birth of Freedom. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-50600-1.
• Kunhardt III, Philip B. (February 2009). "Lincoln's Contested Legacy". Smithsonian. 39(11).
• Lockwood, John (March 1, 2003). "Booth's oil-field venture goes bust". The Washington Times.
• Lorant, Stefan (1954). The Life of Abraham Lincoln. New American Library. LCCN 56027706.
• McCardell, Lee (December 27, 1931). "The body in John Wilkes Booth's grave". The Baltimore Sun.
• Mudd, Samuel A. (1906). Mudd, Nettie (ed.). The Life of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd (4th ed.). New York and Washington: Neale Publishing Company.
• "John Wilkes Booth's Escape Route". Ford's Theatre, National Historic Site. National Park Service. December 22, 2004. Archived from the original on January 25, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
• Nottingham, Theodore J. (1998). The Curse of Cain: The Untold Story of John Wilkes Booth. Sovereign. ISBN 1-58006-021-8.
• Pegram, William M. (December 1913). "The body of John Wilkes Booth". Journal. Maryland Historical Society.
• Rhodehamel, John; Taper, Louise, eds. (1997). Right or Wrong, God Judge Me: The Writings of John Wilkes Booth. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois. ISBN 0-252-02347-1.
• Schlichenmeyer, Terri (August 21, 2007). "Missing body parts of famous people". CNN.
• Serup, Paul (2010). Who Killed Abraham Lincoln?: An investigation of North America's most famous ex-priest's assertion that the Roman Catholic Church was behind the assassination of America's greatest President. Prince George, B.C.: Salmova Press. ISBN 978-0-9811685-0-0.
• Sheads, Scott; Toomey, Daniel (1997). Baltimore During the Civil War. Linthicum, Md.: Toomey Press. ISBN 0-9612670-7-0.
• Smith, Gene (1992). American Gothic: the story of America's legendary theatrical family, Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-76713-5.
• Steers, Jr., Edward (2001). Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2217-5.
• Stern, Philip Van Doren (1955). The Man Who Killed Lincoln. Garden City, NY: Dolphin. LCCN 99215784.
• "Dredging up the John Wilkes Booth body argument". The Baltimore Sun. December 13, 1977.
• "Harford expected to OK renovation of Booth home". The Baltimore Sun. September 8, 2008.
• Thomas, Benjamin P. (1952). Abraham Lincoln, a Biography. New York: Knopf. LCCN 52006425.
• "The murderer of Mr. Lincoln" (PDF). The New York Times. April 21, 1865.
• "John Wilkes Booth's Last Days" (PDF). The New York Times. July 30, 1896.
• "New Scrutiny on John Wilkes Booth". The New York Times. October 24, 1994.
• Toomey, Daniel Carroll (1983). The Civil War in Maryland. Baltimore, Md.: Toomey Press. ISBN 0-9612670-0-3.
• Townsend, George Alfred (1865). The Life, Crime and Capture of John Wilkes Booth(1977 ed.). New York: Dick and Fitzgerald. ISBN 978-0-9764805-3-2.
• Ward, Geoffrey C. (1990). The Civil War – an illustrated history. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-56285-2.
• Westwood, Philip (2002). "The Lincoln-Blair Affair". Genealogy Today.
• Wilson, Francis (1972). John Wilkes Booth. New York: Blom. LCCN 74091588.
Further reading
• Bak, Richard (1954). The Day Lincoln Was Shot. Dallas, Texas: Taylor. ISBN 0-87833-200-6.
• Goodrich, Thomas (2005). The Darkest Dawn: Lincoln, Booth, and the Great American Tragedy. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University. ISBN 0-253-34567-7.
• Reck, W. Emerson (1987). A. Lincoln: His Last 24 Hours. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. ISBN 0-89950-216-4.
• Swanson, James L. (2006). Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. New York: William Morrow. ISBN 0-06-051849-9.
• Titone, Nora (2010). My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy. Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4165-8605-0.
• Turner, Thomas R. (1999). The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger. ISBN 1-57524-003-3.

External links

• Works by John Wilkes Booth at Open Library
• Works by or about John Wilkes Booth at Internet Archive
• Works by or about John Wilkes Booth in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

Postby admin » Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:19 am

Part 1 of 2

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/13/21

The two modes of the Government which prevail in the world, are-

First, Government by election and representation.

Secondly, Government by hereditary succession.

The former is generally known by the name of republic; the latter by that of monarchy and aristocracy.

Those two distinct and opposite forms erect themselves on the two distinct and opposite bases of Reason and Ignorance. As the exercise of Government requires talents and abilities, and as talents and abilities cannot have hereditary descent, it is evident that hereditary succession requires a belief from man to which his reason cannot subscribe, and which can only be established upon his ignorance; and the more ignorant any country is, the better it is fitted for this species of Government.

On the contrary, Government, in a well-constituted republic, requires no belief from man beyond what his reason can give. He sees the rationale of the whole system, its origin and its operation; and as it is best supported when best understood, the human faculties act with boldness, and acquire, under this form of government, a gigantic manliness.

As, therefore, each of those forms acts on a different base, the one moving freely by the aid of reason, the other by ignorance; we have next to consider, what it is that gives motion to that species of Government which is called mixed Government, or, as it is sometimes ludicrously styled, a Government of this, that and t' other.

The moving power in this species of Government is, of necessity, Corruption. However imperfect election and representation may be in mixed Governments, they still give exercise to a greater portion of reason than is convenient to the hereditary Part; and therefore it becomes necessary to buy the reason up. A mixed Government is an imperfect everything, cementing and soldering the discordant parts together by corruption, to act as a whole. Mr. Burke appears highly disgusted that France, since she had resolved on a revolution, did not adopt what he calls "A British Constitution"; and the regretful manner in which he expresses himself on this occasion implies a suspicion that the British Constitution needed something to keep its defects in countenance.

In mixed Governments there is no responsibility: the parts cover each other till responsibility is lost; and the corruption which moves the machine, contrives at the same time its own escape. When it is laid down as a maxim, that a King can do no wrong, it places him in a state of similar security with that of idiots and persons insane, and responsibility is out of the question with respect to himself. It then descends upon the Minister, who shelters himself under a majority in Parliament, which, by places, pensions, and corruption, he can always command; and that majority justifies itself by the same authority with which it protects the Minister. In this rotatory motion, responsibility is thrown off from the parts, and from the whole.

When there is a Part in a Government which can do no wrong, it implies that it does nothing; and is only the machine of another power, by whose advice and direction it acts. What is supposed to be the King in the mixed Governments, is the Cabinet; and as the Cabinet is always a part of the Parliament, and the members justifying in one character what they advise and act in another, a mixed Government becomes a continual enigma; entailing upon a country by the quantity of corruption necessary to solder the parts, the expense of supporting all the forms of government at once, and finally resolving itself into a Government by Committee; in which the advisers, the actors, the approvers, the justifiers, the persons responsible, and the persons not responsible, are the same persons.

By this pantomimical contrivance, and change of scene and character, the parts help each other out in matters which neither of them singly would assume to act. When money is to be obtained, the mass of variety apparently dissolves, and a profusion of parliamentary praises passes between the parts. Each admires with astonishment, the wisdom, the liberality, the disinterestedness of the other: and all of them breathe a pitying sigh at the burthens of the Nation.

But in a well-constituted republic, nothing of this soldering, praising, and pitying, can take place; the representation being equal throughout the country, and complete in itself, however it may be arranged into legislative and executive, they have all one and the same natural source. The parts are not foreigners to each other, like democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. As there are no discordant distinctions, there is nothing to corrupt by compromise, nor confound by contrivance. Public measures appeal of themselves to the understanding of the Nation, and, resting on their own merits, disown any flattering applications to vanity. The continual whine of lamenting the burden of taxes, however successfully it may be practised in mixed Governments, is inconsistent with the sense and spirit of a republic. If taxes are necessary, they are of course advantageous; but if they require an apology, the apology itself implies an impeachment. Why, then, is man thus imposed upon, or why does he impose upon himself?

When men are spoken of as kings and subjects, or when Government is mentioned under the distinct and combined heads of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, what is it that reasoning man is to understand by the terms? If there really existed in the world two or more distinct and separate elements of human power, we should then see the several origins to which those terms would descriptively apply; but as there is but one species of man, there can be but one element of human power; and that element is man himself. Monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy, are but creatures of imagination; and a thousand such may be contrived as well as three.

From the Revolutions of America and France, and the symptoms that have appeared in other countries, it is evident that the opinion of the world is changing with respect to systems of Government, and that revolutions are not within the compass of political calculations. The progress of time and circumstances, which men assign to the accomplishment of great changes, is too mechanical to measure the force of the mind, and the rapidity of reflection, by which revolutions are generated: All the old governments have received a shock from those that already appear, and which were once more improbable, and are a greater subject of wonder, than a general revolution in Europe would be now.

When we survey the wretched condition of man, under the monarchical and hereditary systems of Government, dragged from his home by one power, or driven by another, and impoverished by taxes more than by enemies, it becomes evident that those systems are bad, and that a general revolution in the principle and construction of Governments is necessary.

What is government more than the management of the affairs of a Nation? It is not, and from its nature cannot be, the property of any particular man or family, but of the whole community, at whose expense it is supported; and though by force and contrivance it has been usurped into an inheritance, the usurpation cannot alter the right of things. Sovereignty, as a matter of right, appertains to the Nation only, and not to any individual; and a Nation has at all times an inherent indefeasible right to abolish any form of Government it finds inconvenient, and to establish such as accords with its interest, disposition and happiness. The romantic and barbarous distinction of men into Kings and subjects, though it may suit the condition of courtiers, cannot that of citizens; and is exploded by the principle upon which Governments are now founded. Every citizen is a member of the Sovereignty, and, as such, can acknowledge no personal subjection; and his obedience can be only to the laws.

When men think of what Government is, they must necessarily suppose it to possess a knowledge of all the objects and matters upon which its authority is to be exercised. In this view of Government, the republican system, as established by America and France, operates to embrace the whole of a Nation; and the knowledge necessary to the interest of all the parts, is to be found in the center, which the parts by representation form: But the old Governments are on a construction that excludes knowledge as well as happiness; government by Monks, who knew nothing of the world beyond the walls of a Convent, is as consistent as government by Kings.

What were formerly called Revolutions, were little more than a change of persons, or an alteration of local circumstances. They rose and fell like things of course, and had nothing in their existence or their fate that could influence beyond the spot that produced them. But what we now see in the world, from the Revolutions of America and France, are a renovation of the natural order of things, a system of principles as universal as truth and the existence of man, and combining moral with political happiness and national prosperity.

"I. Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights. Civil distinctions, therefore, can be founded only on public utility.

"II. The end of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man; and these rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance of oppression.

"III. The nation is essentially the source of all sovereignty; nor can any Individual, or any body of men, be entitled to any authority which is not expressly derived from it."

In these principles, there is nothing to throw a Nation into confusion by inflaming ambition. They are calculated to call forth wisdom and abilities, and to exercise them for the public good, and not for the emolument or aggrandisement of particular descriptions of men or families. Monarchical sovereignty, the enemy of mankind, and the source of misery, is abolished; and the sovereignty itself is restored to its natural and original place, the Nation. Were this the case throughout Europe, the cause of wars would be taken away...

It has always been the political craft of courtiers and court-governments, to abuse something which they called republicanism; but what republicanism was, or is, they never attempt to explain. let us examine a little into this case.

The only forms of government are the democratical, the aristocratical, the monarchical, and what is now called the representative.

What is called a republic is not any particular form of government. It is wholly characteristical of the purport, matter or object for which government ought to be instituted, and on which it is to be employed, Res-Publica, the public affairs, or the public good; or, literally translated, the public thing. It is a word of a good original, referring to what ought to be the character and business of government; and in this sense it is naturally opposed to the word monarchy, which has a base original signification. It means arbitrary power in an individual person; in the exercise of which, himself, and not the res-publica, is the object.

Every government that does not act on the principle of a Republic, or in other words, that does not make the res-publica its whole and sole object, is not a good government. Republican government is no other than government established and conducted for the interest of the public, as well individually as collectively. It is not necessarily connected with any particular form, but it most naturally associates with the representative form, as being best calculated to secure the end for which a nation is at the expense of supporting it.

Various forms of government have affected to style themselves a republic. Poland calls itself a republic, which is an hereditary aristocracy, with what is called an elective monarchy. Holland calls itself a republic, which is chiefly aristocratical, with an hereditary stadtholdership. But the government of America, which is wholly on the system of representation, is the only real Republic, in character and in practice, that now exists. Its government has no other object than the public business of the nation, and therefore it is properly a republic; and the Americans have taken care that this, and no other, shall always be the object of their government, by their rejecting everything hereditary, and establishing governments on the system of representation only. Those who have said that a republic is not a form of government calculated for countries of great extent, mistook, in the first place, the business of a government, for a form of government; for the res-publica equally appertains to every extent of territory and population. And, in the second place, if they meant anything with respect to form, it was the simple democratical form, such as was the mode of government in the ancient democracies, in which there was no representation. The case, therefore, is not, that a republic cannot be extensive, but that it cannot be extensive on the simple democratical form; and the question naturally presents itself, What is the best form of government for conducting the Res-Publica, or the Public Business of a nation, after it becomes too extensive and populous for the simple democratical form? It cannot be monarchy, because monarchy is subject to an objection of the same amount to which the simple democratical form was subject.

It is possible that an individual may lay down a system of principles, on which government shall be constitutionally established to any extent of territory. This is no more than an operation of the mind, acting by its own powers. But the practice upon those principles, as applying to the various and numerous circumstances of a nation, its agriculture, manufacture, trade, commerce, etc., etc., a knowledge of a different kind, and which can be had only from the various parts of society. It is an assemblage of practical knowledge, which no individual can possess; and therefore the monarchical form is as much limited, in useful practice, from the incompetency of knowledge, as was the democratical form, from the multiplicity of population. The one degenerates, by extension, into confusion; the other, into ignorance and incapacity, of which all the great monarchies are an evidence. The monarchical form, therefore, could not be a substitute for the democratical, because it has equal inconveniences.

Much less could it when made hereditary. This is the most effectual of all forms to preclude knowledge. Neither could the high democratical mind have voluntarily yielded itself to be governed by children and idiots, and all the motley insignificance of character, which attends such a mere animal system, the disgrace and the reproach of reason and of man.

As to the aristocratical form, it has the same vices and defects with the monarchical, except that the chance of abilities is better from the proportion of numbers, but there is still no security for the right use and application of them.*[17]

Referring them to the original simple democracy, it affords the true data from which government on a large scale can begin. It is incapable of extension, not from its principle, but from the inconvenience of its form; and monarchy and aristocracy, from their incapacity. Retaining, then, democracy as the ground, and rejecting the corrupt systems of monarchy and aristocracy, the representative system naturally presents itself; remedying at once the defects of the simple democracy as to form, and the incapacity of the other two with respect to knowledge.

Simple democracy was society governing itself without the aid of secondary means. By ingrafting representation upon democracy, we arrive at a system of government capable of embracing and confederating all the various interests and every extent of territory and population; and that also with advantages as much superior to hereditary government, as the republic of letters is to hereditary literature.

It is on this system that the American government is founded. It is representation ingrafted upon democracy. It has fixed the form by a scale parallel in all cases to the extent of the principle. What Athens was in miniature America will be in magnitude. The one was the wonder of the ancient world; the other is becoming the admiration of the present. It is the easiest of all the forms of government to be understood and the most eligible in practice; and excludes at once the ignorance and insecurity of the hereditary mode, and the inconvenience of the simple democracy.

It is impossible to conceive a system of government capable of acting over such an extent of territory, and such a circle of interests, as is immediately produced by the operation of representation. France, great and populous as it is, is but a spot in the capaciousness of the system. It is preferable to simple democracy even in small territories. Athens, by representation, would have outrivalled her own democracy.

That which is called government, or rather that which we ought to conceive government to be, is no more than some common center in which all the parts of society unite. This cannot be accomplished by any method so conducive to the various interests of the community, as by the representative system. It concentrates the knowledge necessary to the interest of the parts, and of the whole. It places government in a state of constant maturity. It is, as has already been observed, never young, never old. It is subject neither to nonage, nor dotage. It is never in the cradle, nor on crutches. It admits not of a separation between knowledge and power, and is superior, as government always ought to be, to all the accidents of individual man, and is therefore superior to what is called monarchy.

A nation is not a body, the figure of which is to be represented by the human body; but is like a body contained within a circle, having a common center, in which every radius meets; and that center is formed by representation. To connect representation with what is called monarchy, is eccentric government. Representation is of itself the delegated monarchy of a nation, and cannot debase itself by dividing it with another.

-- Rights of Man, by Thomas Paine

Part of the Politics series on Republicanism
Central concepts: Anti-monarchism; Liberty as non-domination; Popular sovereignty; Republic; Res publica; Social contract
Schools: Classical; Federal; Kemalism; Nasserism; Neo-republicanism; Venizelism
Types of republics: Autonomous; Capitalist; Christian; Corporate; Democratic; Federal; Federal parliamentary; Islamic; Parliamentary; People's; Revolutionary; Sister; Soviet
Important thinkers: Hannah Arendt; Cicero; James Harrington; Thomas Jefferson; John Locke; James Madison; Montesquieu; Polybius; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Algernon Sidney; Mary Wollstonecraft
History: Roman Republic; Gaṇa sangha; Classical Athens; Republic of Venice; Republic of Genoa; Republic of Florence; Dutch Republic; American Revolution; French Revolution; Spanish American wars of independence; Trienio Liberal; French Revolution of 1848; 5 October 1910 revolution; Chinese Revolution; Russian Revolution; German Revolution of 1918–19; Turkish War of Independence; Mongolian Revolution of 1921; 11 September 1922 Revolution; 1935 Greek coup d'état attempt; Spanish Civil War; 1946 Italian institutional referendum; Egyptian revolution of 1952; 14 July Revolution; North Yemen Civil War; Zanzibar Revolution; 1969 Libyan coup d'état; Cambodian coup of 1970; Metapolitefsi; Iranian Revolution; 1987 Fijian coups d'état; Nepalese Civil War
By country: Australia; Barbados; Canada; Ireland; Jamaica; Japan; Morocco; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Spain; Sweden; Turkey; United Kingdom Scotland; United States
Related topics: Communitarianism; Democracy; Liberalism; Monarchism

Republicanism is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interpretations which vary significantly based on historical context and methodological approach.

Republicanism may also refer to the non-ideological scientific approach to politics and governance. As the republican thinker and second president of the United States John Adams stated in the introduction to his famous Defense of the Constitution,[1] the "science of politics is the science of social happiness" and a republic is the form of government arrived at when the science of politics is appropriately applied to the creation of a rationally designed government. Rather than being ideological, this approach focuses on applying a scientific methodology to the problems of governance through the rigorous study and application of past experience and experimentation in governance. This is the approach that may best be described to apply to republican thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli (as evident in his Discourses on Livy), John Adams, and James Madison.

The word "republic" derives from the Latin noun-phrase res publica (public thing), which referred to the system of government that emerged in the 6th century BCE following the expulsion of the kings from Rome by Lucius Junius Brutus and Collatinus.[2]

This form of government in the Roman state collapsed in the latter part of the 1st century BCE, giving way to what was a monarchy in form, if not in name. Republics recurred subsequently, with, for example, Renaissance Florence or early modern Britain. The concept of a republic became a powerful force in Britain's North American colonies, where it contributed to the American Revolution. In Europe, it gained enormous influence through the French Revolution and through the First French Republic of 1792–1804.

Historical development of republicanism

Main article: Classical republicanism

Classical antecedents

Ancient Greece

Sculpture of Aristotle.

In Ancient Greece, several philosophers and historians analysed and described elements we now recognize as classical republicanism. Traditionally, the Greek concept of "politeia" was rendered into Latin as res publica. Consequently, political theory until relatively recently often used republic in the general sense of "regime". There is no single written expression or definition from this era that exactly corresponds with a modern understanding of the term "republic" but most of the essential features of the modern definition are present in the works of Plato, Aristotle, and Polybius. These include theories of mixed government and of civic virtue. For example, in The Republic, Plato places great emphasis on the importance of civic virtue (aiming for the good) together with personal virtue ('just man') on the part of the ideal rulers. Indeed, in Book V, Plato asserts that until rulers have the nature of philosophers (Socrates) or philosophers become the rulers, there can be no civic peace or happiness.[3]

A number of Ancient Greek city-states such as Athens and Sparta have been classified as "classical republics", because they featured extensive participation by the citizens in legislation and political decision-making. Aristotle considered Carthage to have been a republic as it had a political system similar to that of some of the Greek cities, notably Sparta, but avoided some of the defects that affected them.

Ancient Rome

Both Livy, a Roman historian, and Plutarch, who is noted for his biographies and moral essays, described how Rome had developed its legislation, notably the transition from a kingdom to a republic, by following the example of the Greeks. Some of this history, composed more than 500 years after the events, with scant written sources to rely on, may be fictitious reconstruction.

The Greek historian Polybius, writing in the mid-2nd century BCE, emphasized (in Book 6) the role played by the Roman Republic as an institutional form in the dramatic rise of Rome's hegemony over the Mediterranean. In his writing on the constitution of the Roman Republic,[4] Polybius described the system as being a "mixed" form of government. Specifically, Polybius described the Roman system as a mixture of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy with the Roman Republic constituted in such a manner that it applied the strengths of each system to offset the weaknesses of the others. In his view, the mixed system of the Roman Republic provided the Romans with a much greater level of domestic tranquility than would have been experienced under another form of government. Furthermore, Polybius argued, the comparative level of domestic tranquility the Romans enjoyed allowed them to conquer the Mediterranean. Polybius exerted a great influence on Cicero as he wrote his politico-philosophical works in the 1st century BCE. In one of these works, De re publica, Cicero linked the Roman concept of res publica to the Greek politeia.

The modern term "republic", despite its derivation, is not synonymous with the Roman res publica. Among the several meanings of the term res publica, it is most often translated "republic" where the Latin expression refers to the Roman state, and its form of government, between the era of the Kings and the era of the Emperors. This Roman Republic would, by a modern understanding of the word, still be defined as a true republic, even if not coinciding entirely. Thus, Enlightenment philosophers saw the Roman Republic as an ideal system because it included features like a systematic separation of powers.

Romans still called their state "Res Publica" in the era of the early emperors because, on the surface, the organization of the state had been preserved by the first emperors without significant alteration. Several offices from the Republican era, held by individuals, were combined under the control of a single person. These changes became permanent, and gradually conferred sovereignty on the Emperor.

Cicero's description of the ideal state, in De re Publica, does not equate to a modern-day "republic"; it is more like enlightened absolutism. His philosophical works were influential when Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire developed their political concepts.

In its classical meaning, a republic was any stable well-governed political community. Both Plato and Aristotle identified three forms of government: democracy, aristocracy, and monarchy. First Plato and Aristotle, and then Polybius and Cicero, held that the ideal republic is a mixture of these three forms of government. The writers of the Renaissance embraced this notion.

Cicero expressed reservations concerning the republican form of government. While in his theoretical works he defended monarchy, or at least a mixed monarchy/oligarchy, in his own political life, he generally opposed men, like Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian, who were trying to realise such ideals. Eventually, that opposition led to his death and Cicero can be seen as a victim of his own Republican ideals.

Tacitus, a contemporary of Plutarch, was not concerned with whether a form of government could be analyzed as a "republic" or a "monarchy".[5] He analyzed how the powers accumulated by the early Julio-Claudian dynasty were all given by a State that was still notionally a republic. Nor was the Roman Republic "forced" to give away these powers: it did so freely and reasonably, certainly in Augustus' case, because of his many services to the state, freeing it from civil wars and disorder.

Tacitus was one of the first to ask whether such powers were given to the head of state because the citizens wanted to give them, or whether they were given for other reasons (for example, because one had a deified ancestor). The latter case led more easily to abuses of power. In Tacitus' opinion, the trend away from a true republic was irreversible only when Tiberius established power, shortly after Augustus' death in 14 CE (much later than most historians place the start of the Imperial form of government in Rome). By this time, too many principles defining some powers as "untouchable" had been implemented.[6]

Renaissance republicanism

The Allegory of Good Government is part of a series of frescoes by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

In Europe, republicanism was revived in the late Middle Ages when a number of states, which arose from medieval communes, embraced a republican system of government.[7] These were generally small but wealthy trading states in which the merchant class had risen to prominence. Haakonssen notes that by the Renaissance, Europe was divided, such that those states controlled by a landed elite were monarchies, and those controlled by a commercial elite were republics. The latter included the Italian city-states of Florence, Genoa, and Venice and members of the Hanseatic League. One notable exception was Dithmarschen, a group of largely autonomous villages, which confederated in a peasants' republic. Building upon concepts of medieval feudalism, Renaissance scholars used the ideas of the ancient world to advance their view of an ideal government. Thus the republicanism developed during the Renaissance is known as 'classical republicanism' because it relied on classical models. This terminology was developed by Zera Fink in the 1960s,[8] but some modern scholars, such as Brugger, consider it confuses the "classical republic" with the system of government used in the ancient world.[9] 'Early modern republicanism' has been proposed as an alternative term. It is also sometimes called civic humanism. Beyond simply a non-monarchy, early modern thinkers conceived of an ideal republic, in which mixed government was an important element, and the notion that virtue and the common good were central to good government. Republicanism also developed its own distinct view of liberty. Renaissance authors who spoke highly of republics were rarely critical of monarchies. While Niccolò Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy is the period's key work on republics, he also wrote the treatise The Prince, which is better remembered and more widely read, on how best to run a monarchy. The early modern writers did not see the republican model as universally applicable; most thought that it could be successful only in very small and highly urbanized city-states. Jean Bodin in Six Books of the Commonwealth (1576) identified monarchy with republic.[10]

Classical writers like Tacitus, and Renaissance writers like Machiavelli tried to avoid an outspoken preference for one government system or another. Enlightenment philosophers, on the other hand, expressed a clear opinion. Thomas More, writing before the Age of Enlightenment, was too outspoken for the reigning king's taste, even though he coded his political preferences in a utopian allegory.

In England a type of republicanism evolved that was not wholly opposed to monarchy; thinkers such as Thomas More and Sir Thomas Smith saw a monarchy, firmly constrained by law, as compatible with republicanism.

Dutch Republic

Anti-monarchism became more strident in the Dutch Republic during and after the Eighty Years' War, which began in 1568. This anti-monarchism was more propaganda than a political philosophy; most of the anti-monarchist works appeared in the form of widely distributed pamphlets. This evolved into a systematic critique of monarchy, written by men such as the brothers Johan and Peter de la Court. They saw all monarchies as illegitimate tyrannies that were inherently corrupt. These authors were more concerned with preventing the position of Stadholder from evolving into a monarchy, than with attacking their former rulers. Dutch republicanism also influenced French Huguenots during the Wars of Religion. In the other states of early modern Europe republicanism was more moderate.[11]

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

In the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, republicanism was the influential ideology. After the establishment of the Commonwealth of Two Nations, republicans supported the status quo, of having a very weak monarch, and opposed those who thought a stronger monarchy was needed. These mostly Polish republicans, such as Łukasz Górnicki, Andrzej Wolan, and Stanisław Konarski, were well read in classical and Renaissance texts and firmly believed that their state was a republic on the Roman model, and started to call their state the Rzeczpospolita. Atypically, Polish–Lithuanian republicanism was not the ideology of the commercial class, but rather of the landed nobility, which would lose power if the monarchy were expanded. This resulted in an oligarchy of the great landed magnates.[12]

Enlightenment republicanism


The first of the Enlightenment republics established in Europe during the eighteenth century occurred in the small Mediterranean island of Corsica. Although perhaps an unlikely place to act as a laboratory for such political experiments, Corsica combined a number of factors that made it unique: a tradition of village democracy; varied cultural influences from the Italian city-states, Spanish empire and Kingdom of France which left it open to the ideas of the Italian Renaissance, Spanish humanism and French Enlightenment; and a geo-political position between these three competing powers which led to frequent power vacuums in which new regimes could be set up, testing out the fashionable new ideas of the age.

From the 1720s the island had been experiencing a series of short-lived but ongoing rebellions against its current sovereign, the Italian city-state of Genoa. During the initial period (1729–36) these merely sought to restore the control of the Spanish Empire; when this proved impossible, an independent Kingdom of Corsica (1736–40) was proclaimed, following the Enlightenment ideal of a written constitutional monarchy. But the perception grew that the monarchy had colluded with the invading power, a more radical group of reformers led by the Pasquale Paoli pushed for political overhaul, in the form of a constitutional and parliamentary republic inspired by the popular ideas of the Enlightenment.

Its governing philosophy was both inspired by the prominent thinkers of the day, notably the French philosophers Montesquieu and Voltaire and the Swiss theorist Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Not only did it include a permanent national parliament with fixed-term legislatures and regular elections, but, more radically for the time, it introduced universal male suffrage, and it is thought to be the first constitution in the world to grant women the right to vote female suffrage may also have existed.[13][14] It also extended Enlightened principles to other spheres, including administrative reform, the foundation of a national university at Corte, and the establishment of a popular standing army.

The Corsican Republic lasted for fifteen years, from 1755 to 1769, eventually falling to a combination of Genoese and French forces and was incorporated as a province of the Kingdom of France. But the episode resonated across Europe as an early example of Enlightened constitutional republicanism, with many of the most prominent political commentators of the day recognising it to be an experiment in a new type of popular and democratic government. Its influence was particularly notable among the French Enlightenment philosophers: Rousseau's famous work On the Social Contract (1762: chapter 10, book II) declared, in its discussion on the conditions necessary for a functional popular sovereignty, that "There is still one European country capable of making its own laws: the island of Corsica. valour and persistency with which that brave people has regained and defended its liberty well deserves that some wise man should teach it how to preserve what it has won. I have a feeling that some day that little island will astonish Europe."; indeed Rousseau volunteered to do precisely that, offering a draft constitution for Paoli'se use.[15] Similarly, Voltaire affirmed in his Précis du siècle de Louis XV (1769: chapter LX) that "Bravery may be found in many places, but such bravery only among free peoples". But the influence of the Corsican Republic as an example of a sovereign people fighting for liberty and enshrining this constitutionally in the form of an Enlightened republic was even greater among the Radicals of Great Britain and North America,[16] where it was popularised via An Account of Corsica, by the Scottish essayist James Boswell. The Corsican Republic went on to influence the American revolutionaries ten years later: the Sons of Liberty, initiators of the American Revolution, would declare Pascal Paoli to be a direct inspiration for their own struggle against despotism; the son of Ebenezer Mackintosh was named Pascal Paoli Mackintosh in his honour, and no fewer than five American counties are named Paoli for the same reason.


Oliver Cromwell set up a republic called the Commonwealth of England (1649–1660) which he ruled after the overthrow of King Charles I. James Harrington was then a leading philosopher of republicanism. John Milton was another important Republican thinker at this time, expressing his views in political tracts as well as through poetry and prose. In his epic poem Paradise Lost, for instance, Milton uses Satan's fall to suggest that unfit monarchs should be brought to justice, and that such issues extend beyond the constraints of one nation.[17] As Christopher N. Warren argues, Milton offers “a language to critique imperialism, to question the legitimacy of dictators, to defend free international discourse, to fight unjust property relations, and to forge new political bonds across national lines.”[18] This form of international Miltonic republicanism has been influential on later thinkers including 19th-century radicals Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, according to Warren and other historians.[19][20]

The collapse of the Commonwealth of England in 1660 and the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II discredited republicanism among England's ruling circles. Nevertheless, they welcomed the liberalism, and emphasis on rights, of John Locke, which played a major role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Even so, republicanism flourished in the "country" party of the early 18th century (commonwealthmen), which denounced the corruption of the "court" party, producing a political theory that heavily influenced the American colonists. In general, the English ruling classes of the 18th century vehemently opposed republicanism, typified by the attacks on John Wilkes, and especially on the American Revolution and the French Revolution.[21]

French and Swiss thought

Portrait of Montesquieu.

French and Swiss Enlightenment thinkers, such as Voltaire, Baron Charles de Montesquieu and later Jean-Jacques Rousseau, expanded upon and altered the ideas of what an ideal republic should be: some of their new ideas were scarcely traceable to antiquity or the Renaissance thinkers. Concepts they contributed, or heavily elaborated, were social contract, positive law, and mixed government. They also borrowed from, and distinguished republicanism from, the ideas of liberalism that were developing at the same time.

Liberalism and republicanism were frequently conflated during this period, because they both opposed absolute monarchy. Modern scholars see them as two distinct streams that both contributed to the democratic ideals of the modern world. An important distinction is that, while republicanism stressed the importance of civic virtue and the common good, liberalism was based on economics and individualism. It is clearest in the matter of private property, which, according to some, can be maintained only under the protection of established positive law.

Jules Ferry, Prime Minister of France from 1880 to 1885, followed both these schools of thought. He eventually enacted the Ferry Laws, which he intended to overturn the Falloux Laws by embracing the anti-clerical thinking of the Philosophes. These laws ended the Catholic Church's involvement in many government institutions in late 19th-century France, including schools.

Republicanism in the Thirteen British Colonies in North America

Main article: Republicanism in the United States

In recent years a debate has developed over the role of republicanism in the American Revolution and in the British radicalism of the 18th century. For many decades the consensus was that liberalism, especially that of John Locke, was paramount and that republicanism had a distinctly secondary role.[22]

The new interpretations were pioneered by J.G.A. Pocock, who argued in The Machiavellian Moment (1975) that, at least in the early 18th century, republican ideas were just as important as liberal ones. Pocock's view is now widely accepted.[23] Bernard Bailyn and Gordon Wood pioneered the argument that the American founding fathers were more influenced by republicanism than they were by liberalism. Cornell University professor Isaac Kramnick, on the other hand, argues that Americans have always been highly individualistic and therefore Lockean.[24] Joyce Appleby has argued similarly for the Lockean influence on America.

In the decades before the American Revolution (1776), the intellectual and political leaders of the colonies studied history intently, looking for models of good government. They especially followed the development of republican ideas in England.[25] Pocock explained the intellectual sources in America:[26]

The Whig canon and the neo-Harringtonians, John Milton, James Harrington and Sidney, Trenchard, Gordon and Bolingbroke, together with the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance masters of the tradition as far as Montesquieu, formed the authoritative literature of this culture; and its values and concepts were those with which we have grown familiar: a civic and patriot ideal in which the personality was founded in property, perfected in citizenship but perpetually threatened by corruption; government figuring paradoxically as the principal source of corruption and operating through such means as patronage, faction, standing armies (opposed to the ideal of the militia), established churches (opposed to the Puritan and deist modes of American religion) and the promotion of a monied interest – though the formulation of this last concept was somewhat hindered by the keen desire for readily available paper credit common in colonies of settlement. A neoclassical politics provided both the ethos of the elites and the rhetoric of the upwardly mobile, and accounts for the singular cultural and intellectual homogeneity of the Founding Fathers and their generation.

The commitment of most Americans to these republican values made the American Revolution inevitable. Britain was increasingly seen as corrupt and hostile to republicanism, and as a threat to the established liberties the Americans enjoyed.[27]

Leopold von Ranke in 1848 claimed that American republicanism played a crucial role in the development of European liberalism:[28]

By abandoning English constitutionalism and creating a new republic based on the rights of the individual, the North Americans introduced a new force in the world. Ideas spread most rapidly when they have found adequate concrete expression. Thus republicanism entered our Romanic/Germanic world.... Up to this point, the conviction had prevailed in Europe that monarchy best served the interests of the nation. Now the idea spread that the nation should govern itself. But only after a state had actually been formed on the basis of the theory of representation did the full significance of this idea become clear. All later revolutionary movements have this same goal... This was the complete reversal of a principle. Until then, a king who ruled by the grace of God had been the center around which everything turned. Now the idea emerged that power should come from below.... These two principles are like two opposite poles, and it is the conflict between them that determines the course of the modern world. In Europe the conflict between them had not yet taken on concrete form; with the French Revolution it did.


Portrait of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Republicanism, especially that of Rousseau, played a central role in the French Revolution and foreshadowed modern republicanism. The revolutionaries, after overthrowing the French monarchy in the 1790s, began by setting up a republic; Napoleon converted it into an Empire with a new aristocracy. In the 1830s Belgium adopted some of the innovations of the progressive political philosophers of the Enlightenment.

Républicanisme is a French version of modern republicanism. It is a form of social contract, deduced from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's idea of a general will. Ideally, each citizen is engaged in a direct relationship with the state, removing the need for identity politics based on local, religious, or racial identification.

Républicanisme, in theory, makes anti-discrimination laws unnecessary, but some critics argue that colour-blind laws serve to perpetuate discrimination.[29]

Republicanism in Ireland

Main articles: Society of United Irishmen and Irish republicanism

Inspired by the American and French Revolutions, the Society of United Irishmen was founded in 1791 in Belfast and Dublin. The inaugural meeting of the United Irishmen in Belfast on 18 October 1791 approved a declaration of the society's objectives. It identified the central grievance that Ireland had no national government: "...we are ruled by Englishmen, and the servants of Englishmen, whose object is the interest of another country, whose instrument is corruption, and whose strength is the weakness of Ireland..."[30] They adopted three central positions: (i) to seek out a cordial union among all the people of Ireland, to maintain that balance essential to preserve liberties and extend commerce; (ii) that the sole constitutional mode by which English influence can be opposed, is by a complete and radical reform of the representation of the people in Parliament; (iii) that no reform is practicable or efficacious, or just which shall not include Irishmen of every religious persuasion. The declaration, then, urged constitutional reform, union among Irish people and the removal of all religious disqualifications.

The movement was influenced, at least in part, by the French Revolution. Public interest, already strongly aroused, was brought to a pitch by the publication in 1790 of Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Thomas Paine's response, Rights of Man, in February 1791.[citation needed] Theobald Wolfe Tone wrote later that, "This controversy, and the gigantic event which gave rise to it, changed in an instant the politics of Ireland."[31] Paine himself was aware of this commenting on sales of Part I of Rights of Man in November 1791, only eight months after publication of the first edition, he informed a friend that in England "almost sixteen thousand has gone off – and in Ireland above forty thousand".[32] Paine my have been inclined to talk up sales of his works but what is striking in this context is that Paine believed that Irish sales were so far ahead of English ones before Part II had appeared. On 5 June 1792, Thomas Paine, author of the Rights of Man was proposed for honorary membership of the Dublin Society of the United Irishmen.[33]

The fall of the Bastille was to be celebrated in Belfast on 14 July 1791 by a Volunteer meeting. At the request of Thomas Russell, Tone drafted suitable resolutions for the occasion, including one favouring the inclusion of Catholics in any reforms. In a covering letter to Russell, Tone wrote, "I have not said one word that looks like a wish for separation, though I give it to you and your friends as my most decided opinion that such an event would be a regeneration of their country".[31] By 1795, Tone's republicanism and that of the society had openly crystallized when he tells us: "I remember particularly two days thae we passed on Cave Hill. On the first Russell, Neilson, Simms, McCracken and one or two more of us, on the summit of McArt's fort, took a solemn obligation...never to desist in our efforts until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted her independence."[34]

The culmination was an uprising against British rule in Ireland lasting from May to September 1798 – the Irish Rebellion of 1798 – with military support from revolutionary France in August and again October 1798. After the failure of the rising of 1798 the United Irishman, John Daly Burk, an émigré in the United States in his The History of the Late War in Ireland written in 1799, was most emphatic in its identification of the Irish, French and American causes.[35]

Modern republicanism

During the Enlightenment, anti-monarchism extended beyond the civic humanism of the Renaissance. Classical republicanism, still supported by philosophers such as Rousseau and Montesquieu, was only one of several theories seeking to limit the power of monarchies rather than directly opposing them.

Liberalism and socialism departed from classical republicanism and fueled the development of the more modern republicanism.


Further information: Radicalism (historical)

The French version of republicanism after 1870 was called "Radicalism"; it became the Radical Party, a major political party. In Western Europe, there were similar smaller "radical" parties. They all supported a constitutional republic and universal suffrage, while European liberals were at the time in favor of constitutional monarchy and census suffrage. Most radical parties later favored economic liberalism and capitalism. This distinction between radicalism and liberalism had not totally disappeared in the 20th century, although many radicals simply joined liberal parties. For example, the Radical Party of the Left in France or the (originally Italian) Transnational Radical Party, which still exist, focus more on republicanism than on simple liberalism.

Liberalism, was represented in France by the Orleanists who rallied to the Third Republic only in the late 19th century, after the comte de Chambord's 1883 death and the 1891 papal encyclical Rerum novarum.

But the early Republican, Radical and Radical-Socialist Party in France, and Chartism in Britain, were closer to republicanism. Radicalism remained close to republicanism in the 20th century, at least in France, where they governed several times with other parties (participating in both the Cartel des Gauches coalitions as well as the Popular Front).

Discredited after the Second World War, French radicals split into a left-wing party – the Radical Party of the Left, an associate of the Socialist Party – and the Radical Party "valoisien", an associate party of the conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) and its Gaullist predecessors. Italian radicals also maintained close links with republicanism, as well as with socialism, with the Partito radicale founded in 1955, which became the Transnational Radical Party in 1989.

Increasingly, after the fall of communism in 1989 and the collapse of the Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution, France increasingly turned to republicanism to define its national identity.[36] Charles de Gaulle, presenting himself as the military savior of France in the 1940s, and the political savior in the 1950s, refashioned the meaning of republicanism. Both left and right enshrined him in the Republican pantheon.[37]
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United States

Main article: Republicanism in the United States

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin.

Republicanism became the dominant political value of Americans during and after the American Revolution. The Founding Fathers were strong advocates of republican values, especially Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Thomas Paine, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.[38] However, in 1854, social movements started to harness values of abolitionism and free labour.[39] These burgeoning radical traditions in America became epitomized in the early formation of the Republican Party, known as "red republicanism."[40] The efforts were primarily led by political leaders such as Alvan E. Bovay, Thaddeus Stevens, and Abraham Lincoln.[41]

The Republican Party, sometimes also referred to as the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main, historic rival, the Democratic Party.

The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act,[15] which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories. The party supported classical liberalism, opposed the expansion of chattel slavery, and supported economic reform.[16][17] Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, chattel slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. The Party was generally dominant during the Third Party System and the Fourth Party System. After 1912, the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right.[18] Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics.[19] The GOP was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs at its founding but grew more supportive of free trade in the 20th century.

The 21st-century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism, which incorporates both economic policies and social values. The GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, restrictions on immigration, increased military spending, gun rights, restrictions on abortion, deregulation, and restrictions on labor unions.[20] The party's 21st-century base of support includes people living in rural areas, men, the Silent Generation, and white evangelical Christians.[21][22][23][24]

There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party. As of early 2021, the GOP controls 27 state governorships, 30 state legislatures, and 23 state government trifectas (governorship and both legislative chambers). Six of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republican presidents.

-- Republican Party (United States), by Wikipedia

The British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations

In some countries of the British Empire, later the Commonwealth of Nations, republicanism has taken a variety of forms.

In Barbados, the government gave the promise of a referendum on becoming a republic in August 2008, but it was postponed due to the change of government in the 2008 election.

In South Africa, republicanism in the 1960s was identified with the supporters of apartheid, who resented British interference in their treatment of the country's black population.[citation needed]


Main article: Republicanism in Australia

In Australia, the debate between republicans and monarchists is still active, and republicanism draws support from across the political spectrum. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was a leading proponent of an Australian republic prior to joining the centre-right Liberal Party, and led the pro-republic campaign during the failed 1999 Australian republic referendum. After becoming Prime Minister in 2015, he confirmed he still supports a republic, but stated that the issue should wait until after the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.[42] The centre-left Labor Party officially supports the abolition of the monarchy and another referendum on the issue.


Main article: Republicanism in Barbados

On 22 March 2015, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced that Barbados will move towards a republican form of government "in the very near future".


Main articles: Republicanism in Canada and Debate on the monarchy in Canada


Main article: Republicanism in Jamaica

Andrew Holness, the current Prime Minister of Jamaica, has announced that his government intends to begin the process of transitioning to a republic.

New Zealand

Main article: Republicanism in New Zealand

In New Zealand, there is also a republican movement.

United Kingdom

Main article: Republicanism in the United Kingdom

Republican groups are also active in the United Kingdom. The major organisation campaigning for a republic in the United Kingdom is 'Republic'.

The Netherlands

Main article: Republicanism in the Netherlands

The Netherlands have known two republican periods: the Dutch Republic (1581–1795) that gained independence from the Spanish Empire during the Eighty Years' War, followed by the Batavian Republic (1795–1806) that after conquest by the French First Republic had been established as a Sister Republic. After Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French, he made his brother Louis Bonaparte King of Holland (1806–1810), then annexed the Netherlands into the French First Empire (1810–1813) until he was defeated at the Battle of Leipzig. Thereafter the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands (1813–1815) was established, granting the Orange-Nassau family, who during the Dutch Republic had only been stadtholders, a princely title over the Netherlands, and soon William Frederick even crowned himself King of the Netherlands. His rather autocratic tendencies in spite of the principles of constitutional monarchy met increasing resistance from Parliament and the population, which eventually limited the monarchy's power and democratised the government, most notably through the Constitutional Reform of 1848. Since the late 19th century, republicanism has had various degrees of support in society, which the royal house generally dealt with by gradually letting go of its formal influence in politics and taking on a more ceremonial and symbolic role. Nowadays, popularity of the monarchy is high, but there is a significant republican minority that strives to abolish the monarchy altogether.


Main article: Republicanism in Norway

In the period around and after the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden in 1905, an opposition to the monarchy grew in Norway, and republican movements and thoughts continues to exist to this day.[43]


Main article: Republicanism in Sweden

In Sweden, a major promoter of republicanism is the Swedish Republican Association, which advocates for a democratic ending to the Monarchy of Sweden.[44]


Main article: Republicanism in Spain

There is a renewed interest in republicanism in Spain after two earlier attempts: the First Spanish Republic (1873–1874) and the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939). Movements such as Ciudadanos Por la República [es], Citizens for the Republic in Spanish, have emerged, and parties like United Left (Spain) and the Republican Left of Catalonia increasingly refer to republicanism. In a survey conducted in 2007 reported that 69% of the population prefer the monarchy to continue, compared with 22% opting for a Republic.[45] In a 2008 survey, 58% of Spanish citizens were indifferent, 16% favored a republic, 16% were monarchists, and 7% claimed they were Juancarlistas (supporters of continued monarchy under King Juan Carlos I, without a common position for the fate of the monarchy after his death).[46] In recent years, there has been a tie between Monarchists and Republicans. [47][48]


Neorepublicanism is the effort by current scholars to draw on a classical republican tradition in the development of an attractive public philosophy intended for contemporary purposes.[49] Neorepublicanism emerges as an alternative postsocialist critique of market society from the left.[50]

Prominent theorists in this movement are Philip Pettit and Cass Sunstein, who have each written several works defining republicanism and how it differs from liberalism. Michael Sandel, a late convert to republicanism from communitarianism, advocates replacing or supplementing liberalism with republicanism, as outlined in his Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy.

Contemporary work from a neorepublican include jurist K. Sabeel Rahman's book Democracy Against Domination, which seeks to create a neorepublican framework for economic regulation grounded in the thought of Louis Brandeis and John Dewey and popular control, in contrast to both New Deal-style managerialism and neoliberal deregulation.[51][52] Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson's Private Government traces the history of republican critiques of private power, arguing that the classical free market policies of the 18th and 19th centuries intended to help workers only lead to their domination by employers.[53][54] In From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth, political scientist Alex Gourevitch examines a strain of late 19th century American republicanism known as labour republicanism that was the producerist labour union The Knights of Labor, and how republican concepts were used in service of workers rights, but also with a strong critique of the role of that union in supporting the Chinese Exclusion Act.[55][56]


Portrait of Thomas Paine.

A revolutionary republican hand-written bill from the Stockholm riots during the Revolutions of 1848, reading: "Dethrone Oscar he is not fit to be a king – rather the Republic! Reform! Down with the Royal house – long live Aftonbladet! Death to the king – Republic! Republic! – the people! Brunkeberg this evening." The writer's identity is unknown.

In the late 18th century there was convergence of democracy and republicanism. Republicanism is a system that replaces or accompanies inherited rule. There is an emphasis on liberty, and a rejection of corruption.[57] It strongly influenced the American Revolution and the French Revolution in the 1770s and 1790s, respectively.[21] Republicans, in these two examples, tended to reject inherited elites and aristocracies, but left open two questions: whether a republic, to restrain unchecked majority rule, should have an unelected upper chamber—perhaps with members appointed as meritorious experts—and whether it should have a constitutional monarch.[58]

Though conceptually separate from democracy, republicanism included the key principles of rule by consent of the governed and sovereignty of the people. In effect, republicanism held that kings and aristocracies were not the real rulers, but rather the whole people were. Exactly how the people were to rule was an issue of democracy: republicanism itself did not specify a means.[59] In the United States, the solution was the creation of political parties that reflected the votes of the people and controlled the government (see Republicanism in the United States). Many exponents of republicanism, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, and Thomas Jefferson were strong promoters of representative democracy.[citation needed] Other supporters of republicanism, such as John Adams and Alexander Hamilton, were more distrustful of majority rule and sought a government with more power for elites. In Federalist No. 10, James Madison rejected democracy in favor of republicanism. There were similar debates in many other democratizing nations.[60]

Democracy and republic

In contemporary usage, the term democracy refers to a government chosen by the people, whether it is direct or representative.[61] Today the term republic usually refers to representative democracy with an elected head of state, such as a president, who serves for a limited term; in contrast to states with a hereditary monarch as a head of state, even if these states also are representative democracies, with an elected or appointed head of government such as a prime minister.[62]

The Founding Fathers of the United States rarely praised and often criticized democracy, which in their time tended to specifically mean direct democracy and which they equated with mob rule; James Madison argued that what distinguished a democracy from a republic was that the former became weaker as it got larger and suffered more violently from the effects of faction, whereas a republic could get stronger as it got larger and combatted faction by its very structure.[63] What was critical to American values, John Adams insisted, was that the government should be "bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend."[64]

Constitutional monarchs and upper chambers

Some countries (such as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Scandinavian countries, and Japan) turned powerful monarchs into constitutional ones with limited, or eventually merely symbolic, powers. Often the monarchy was abolished along with the aristocratic system, whether or not they were replaced with democratic institutions (such as in France, China, Iran, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Egypt). In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Papua New Guinea, and some other countries the monarch, or its representative, is given supreme executive power, but by convention acts only on the advice of his or her ministers. Many nations had elite upper houses of legislatures, the members of which often had lifetime tenure, but eventually these houses lost much power (as the UK House of Lords), or else became elective and remained powerful.[65][66]

See also

• Christian republic
• Democratic republic
• Islamic republic
• 1946 Italian institutional referendum
• Kemalism
• People's republic
• Republican Party
• Tacitean studies – differing interpretations whether Tacitus defended republicanism ("red Tacitists") or the contrary ("black Tacitists").
• Venizelism
Republicanism in other countries
• Republicanism in Morocco
• Republicanism in Turkey


1. "The Works of John Adams, 10 vols". – Online Library of Liberty. Retrieved 2019-01-10.
2. Mortimer N. S. Sellers. American Republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States Constitution. (New York University Press, 1994. p. 71.)
3. Paul A. Rahe, Republics ancient and modern: Classical Republicanism and the American Revolution (1992).
4. Polybius; Shuckburgh, Evelyn S. (2009). The Histories of Polybius. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9781139333740. ISBN 978-1139333740.
5. see for example Ann. IV, 32–33
6. Ann. I–VI
7. J.G.A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine political thought and the Atlantic republican tradition (1975)
8. Zera S. Fink, The classical republicans: an essay on the recovery of a pattern of thought in seventeenth-century England (2011).
9. Bill Brugger, Republican Theory in Political Thought: Virtuous or Virtual? (1999).
10. John M. Najemy, "Baron's Machiavelli and renaissance republicanism." American Historical Review 101.1 (1996): 119–29.
11. Eco Haitsma Mulier, "The language of seventeenth-century republicanism in the United Provinces: Dutch or European?." in Anthony Pagden, ed., The Languages of political theory in early-modern Europe (1987): 179–96.
12. Jerzy Lukowski, Disorderly Liberty: The political culture of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the eighteenth century (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010).[ISBN missing]
13. Lucien Felli, "La renaissance du Paolisme". M. Bartoli, Pasquale Paoli, père de la patrie corse, Albatros, 1974, p. 29. "There is one area where the pioneering nature of Paoli's institutions is particularly pronounced, and that is in the area of voting rights. Indeed they allowed for female suffrage at a time when French women could not vote."
14. Philippe-Jean Catinchi et Josyane Savigneau, "Les femmes : du droit de vote à la parité", Le, 31 janvier 2013 ISSN 1950-6244, consuled on 14 August 2017)
15. "Projet de constitution pour la Corse ", published in Œuvres et correspondance inédites de J.J. Rousseau, (M.G. Streckeinsen-Moultou, ed.). Paris, 1861
16. Michel Vergé-Franceschi, "Pascal Paoli, un Corse des Lumières", Cahiers de la Méditerranée, 72 | 2006, 97–112.
17. Warren, Christopher N (2016). “Big Leagues: Specters of Milton and Republican International Justice between Shakespeare and Marx.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Vol. 7.
18. Warren, Christopher N (2016). “Big Leagues: Specters of Milton and Republican International Justice between Shakespeare and Marx.” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Vol. 7. Pg. 380.
19. Rose, Jonathan (2001). The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. pp. 26, 36–37, 122–25, 187.
20. Taylor, Antony (2002). “Shakespeare and Radicalism: The Uses and Abuses of Shakespeare in Nineteenth-Century Popular Politics.” Historical Journal 45, no. 2. pp. 357–79.
21. Jump up to:a b Pocock, J.G.A. The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (1975; new ed. 2003)
22. See for example Parrington, Vernon L. (1927). "Main Currents in American Thought". Retrieved 2013-12-18.
23. Shalhope (1982)
24. Isaac Kramnick, Ideological Background, in Jack. P. Greene and J. R. Pole, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (1994) ch. 9; Robert E. Shallhope, "Republicanism" ibid ch 70.
25. Trevor Colbourn, The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution (1965) online version
26. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment p. 507
27. Bailyn, Bernard.The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967)[ISBN missing]
28. quoted in Becker 2002, p. 128
29. Lamont, Michèle; Laurent, Éloi (June 5, 2006). "Identity: France shows its true colors". The New York Times.
30. Denis Carroll, The Man from God knows Where, p. 42 (Gartan) 1995
31. Jump up to:a b Henry Boylan, Wolf Tone, p. 16 (Gill and Macmillan, Dublin) 1981
32. Paine to John Hall, 25 Nov. 1791 (Foner, Paine Writings, II, p. 1,322)
33. Dickson, Keogh and Whelan, The United Irishmen. Republicanism, Radicalism and Rebellion, pp. 135–37 (Lilliput, Dublin) 1993
34. Henry Boylan, Wolf Tone, pp. 51–52 (Gill and Macmillan, Dublin) 1981
35. Dickson, Keogh and Whelan, The United Irishmen. Republicanism, Radicalism and Rebellion, pp. 297–98 (Lilliput, Dublin) 1993
36. Sudhir Hazareesingh, "Conflicts Of Memory: Republicanism and the Commemoration of the Past in Modern France," French History (2009) 23#2 pp. 193–215
37. Sudhir Hazareesingh, In the Shadow of the General: Modern France and the Myth of De Gaulle(2012) online review
38. Robert E. Shalhope, "Toward a Republican Synthesis," William and Mary Quarterly, 29 (Jan. 1972), pp. 49–80
39. Contextual Essay
40. Nichols, John (2015). The "S" word : a short history of an American tradition ... socialism. ISBN 978-1784783402. OCLC 905685623.
41. Commons, John R. (September 1909). "Horace Greeley and the Working Class Origins of the Republican Party". Political Science Quarterly. 24 (3): 468–88. doi:10.2307/2140888. hdl:2027/hvd.32044086270303. JSTOR 2140888.
42. "Malcolm Turnbull calls for inclusive grassroots movement for Australian republic - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)".
43. Sejersted, Francis (2019-04-09), "Unionsoppløsningen i 1905", Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian), retrieved 2019-05-15
44. "The Swedish Republican Association". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
45. País, Ediciones El (2007-12-30). "¿El Rey? Muy bien, gracias". El País. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
46. "Indiferentes ante la Corona o la República" (in Spanish). 2004-02-27. Archived from the original on 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
47. "España sigue siendo monárquica gracias a los andaluces y a pesar de catalanes y vascos". El Confidencial (in Spanish). 2019-06-19. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
48. "Empate técnico por primera vez: la República ya tiene tanto apoyo como la Monarquía". El Español (in Spanish). 2019-01-10. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
49. Frank Lovett and Philip Pettit. "Neorepublicanism: a normative and institutional research program." Political Science 12.1 (2009): 11ff. (online).
50. Gerald F. Gaus, "Backwards into the future: Neorepublicanism as a postsocialist critique of market society." Social Philosophy and Policy 20/1 (2003): 59–91.
51. Rahman, K. Sabeel (2016). Democracy Against Domination. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0190468538.
52. Shenk, Timothy. "Booked: The End of Managerial Liberalism, with K. Sabeel Rahman". Dissent Magazine. Dissent Magazine. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
53. Anderson, Elizabeth (2017). Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It). Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1400887781.
54. Rothman, Joshua. "Are Bosses Dictators?". The New Yorker. The New Yorker. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
55. Gourevitch, Alex (2014). From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth: Labor and Republican Liberty in the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1139519434.
56. Stanley, Amy Dru. "Republic of Labor". Dissent Magazine. Dissent Magazine. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
57. "Republicanism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
58. Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic 1776–1787 (1969)
59. R. R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800 (1959)
60. Robert E. Shalhope, "Republicanism and Early American Historiography," William and Mary Quarterly, 39 (Apr. 1982), pp. 334–56
61. "democracy – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 2013-02-03.
62. "republic – Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2013-02-03.
63. See, e.g., The Federalist No. 10
64. Novanglus, no. 7, 6 Mar. 1775
65. Mark McKenna, The Traditions of Australian Republicanism (1996) online version
66. John W. Maynor, Republicanism in the Modern World. (2003).

Further reading


• Becker, Peter, Jürgen Heideking and James A. Henretta, eds. Republicanism and Liberalism in America and the German States, 1750–1850. Cambridge University Press. 2002.
• Everdell, William R., "From State to Free-State: The Meaning of the word Republic from Jean Bodin to John Adams" 7th International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies conference, Budapest, 7/31/87; Valley Forge Journal (June 1991);
• Pocock, J. G. A. The Machiavellian Moment (1975).
• Pocock, J. G. A. "The Machiavellian Moment Revisited: a Study in History and Ideology.: Journal of Modern History 1981 53(1): 49–72. ISSN 0022-2801 Fulltext: in Jstor. Summary of Pocock's influential ideas that traces the Machiavellian belief in and emphasis upon Greco-Roman ideals of unspecialized civic virtue and liberty from 15th century Florence through 17th century England and Scotland to 18th century America. Pocock argues that thinkers who shared these ideals tended to believe that the function of property was to maintain an individual's independence as a precondition of his virtue. Therefore they were disposed to attack the new commercial and financial regime that was beginning to develop.
• Pettit, Philip. Republicanism: A Theory of Freedom and Government Oxford UP, 1997, ISBN 0198290837.
• Snyder, R. Claire. Citizen-Soldiers and Manly Warriors: Military Service and Gender in the Civic Republican Tradition (1999) ISBN 978-0847694440 online review.
• Viroli, Maurizio. Republicanism (2002), New York, Hill and Wang.[ISBN missing]


• Berenson, Edward, et al. eds. The French Republic: History, Values, Debates (2011) essays by 38 scholars from France, Britain and US covering topics since the 1790s
• Bock, Gisela; Skinner, Quentin; and Viroli, Maurizio, ed. Machiavelli and Republicanism. Cambridge U. Press, 1990. 316 pp.
• Brugger, Bill. Republican Theory in Political Thought: Virtuous or Virtual? St. Martin's Press, 1999.
• Castiglione, Dario. "Republicanism and its Legacy," European Journal of Political Theory (2005) v 4 #4 pp. 453–65. online version.
• Everdell, William R., The End of Kings: A History of Republics and Republicans, NY: The Free Press, 1983; 2nd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000 (condensed at
• Fink, Zera. The Classical Republicans: An Essay in the Recovery of a Pattern of Thought in Seventeenth-Century England. Northwestern University Press, 1962.
• Foote, Geoffrey. The Republican Transformation of Modern British Politics Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
• Martin van Gelderen & Quentin Skinner, eds., Republicanism: A Shared European Heritage, v 1: Republicanism and Constitutionalism in Early Modern Europe; vol 2: The Value of Republicanism in Early Modern Europe Cambridge U.P., 2002.
• Haakonssen, Knud. "Republicanism." A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy. Robert E. Goodin and Philip Pettit. eds. Blackwell, 1995.
• Kramnick, Isaac. Republicanism and Bourgeois Radicalism: Political Ideology in Late Eighteenth-Century England and America. Cornell University Press, 1990.
• Mark McKenna, The Traditions of Australian Republicanism (1996)
• Maynor, John W. Republicanism in the Modern World. Cambridge: Polity, 2003.
• Moggach, Douglas. "Republican Rigorism and Emancipation in Bruno Bauer", The New Hegelians, edited by Douglas Moggach, Cambridge University Press, 2006. (Looks at German Republicanism with contrasts and criticisms of Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit).
• Robbins, Caroline. The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman: Studies in the Transmission, Development, and Circumstance of English Liberal Thought from the Restoration of Charles II until the War with the Thirteen Colonies (1959, 2004). table of contents online.

United States

Main article: Republicanism in the United States § References

• Appleby, Joyce Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination. 1992.
• Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. Harvard University Press, 1967.
• Banning, Lance. The Jeffersonian Persuasion: Evolution of a Party Ideology. 1980.
• Colbourn, Trevor. The Lamp of Experience: Whig History and the Intellectual Origins of the American Revolution. 1965. online version
• Everdell, William R., The End of Kings: A History of Republics and Republicans, NY: The Free Press, 1983; 2nd ed., Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
• Kerber, Linda K. Intellectual History of Women: Essays by Linda K. Kerber. 1997.
• Kerber, Linda K. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America. 1997.
• Klein, Milton, et al., eds., The Republican Synthesis Revisited. Essays in Honor of George A. Billias. 1992.
• Kloppenberg, James T. The Virtues of Liberalism. 1998.
• Norton, Mary Beth. Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women, 1750–1800. 1996.
• Greene, Jack, and J. R. Pole, eds. Companion to the American Revolution. 2004. (many articles look at republicanism, esp. Shalhope, Robert E. Republicanism pp. 668–73).
• Rodgers, Daniel T. "Republicanism: the Career of a Concept", Journal of American History. 1992. in JSTOR.
• Shalhope, Robert E. "Toward a Republican Synthesis: The Emergence of an Understanding of Republicanism in American Historiography", William and Mary Quarterly, 29 (Jan. 1972), 49–80 in JSTOR, (an influential article).
• Shalhope, Robert E. "Republicanism and Early American Historiography", William and Mary Quarterly, 39 (Apr. 1982), 334–56 in JSTOR.
• Vetterli, Richard and Bryner, Gary, "Public Virtue and the Roots of American Government", BYU Studies Quarterly, Vol. 27, No. 3, July 1987.
• Volk, Kyle G. Moral Minorities and the Making of American Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.
• Wood, Gordon S. The Creation of the American Republic 1776–1787. 1969.
• Wood, Gordon S. The Radicalism of the American Revolution. 1993.
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/13/21

Abraham Lincoln
Portrait by Alexander Gardner, November 1863
16th President of the United States
In office: March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
Vice President: Hannibal Hamlin (1861–1865); Andrew Johnson (Mar–Apr 1865)
Preceded by: James Buchanan
Succeeded by: Andrew Johnson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's 7th district
In office: March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849
Preceded by: John Henry
Succeeded by: Thomas L. Harris
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives from Sangamon County
In office: December 1, 1834 – December 4, 1842
Personal details
Born: February 12, 1809, Sinking Spring Farm, Kentucky, U.S.
Died: April 15, 1865 (aged 56), Washington, D.C., U.S.
Cause of death: Assassination (gunshot wound to the head)
Resting place: Lincoln Tomb
Political party: Whig (before 1854); Republican (1854–1864); National Union (1864–1865)
Height: 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[1]
Spouse(s): Mary Todd ​(m. 1842)​
Children: Robert; Edward; Willie; Tad
Mother: Nancy Hanks
Father: Thomas Lincoln
Military service
Allegiance: United States; Illinois
Branch/service: Illinois Militia
Years of service: 1832
Rank: Captain[a]; Private[a]
Battles/wars: American Indian Wars; Black Hawk War; Battle of Kellogg's Grove; Battle of Stillman's Run

Abraham Lincoln (/ˈlɪŋkən/; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, the country's greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.

Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin and was raised on the frontier primarily in Indiana. He was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, and U.S. Congressman from Illinois. In 1849, he returned to his law practice but became vexed by the opening of additional lands to slavery as a result of the Kansas–Nebraska Act. He reentered politics in 1854, becoming a leader in the new Republican Party, and he reached a national audience in the 1858 debates against Stephen Douglas. Lincoln ran for President in 1860, sweeping the North in victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South equated his success with the North's rejection of their right to practice slavery, and southern states began seceding from the union. To secure its independence, the new Confederate States fired on Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort in the South, and Lincoln called up forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the Union.

As the leader of moderate Republicans, Lincoln had to navigate a contentious array of factions with friends and opponents on both sides. War Democrats rallied a large faction of former opponents into his moderate camp, but they were countered by Radical Republicans, who demanded harsh treatment of the Southern traitors. Anti-war Democrats (called "Copperheads") despised him, and irreconcilable pro-Confederate elements plotted his assassination. Lincoln managed the factions by exploiting their mutual enmity, by carefully distributing political patronage, and by appealing to the U.S. people. His Gettysburg Address became a historic clarion call for nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln scrutinized the strategy and tactics in the war effort, including the selection of generals and the naval blockade of the South's trade. He suspended habeas corpus, and he averted British intervention by defusing the Trent Affair. He engineered the end to slavery with his Emancipation Proclamation and his order that the Army protect and recruit former slaves. He also encouraged border states to outlaw slavery, and promoted the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which outlawed slavery across the country.

Lincoln managed his own successful re-election campaign. He sought to heal the war-torn nation through reconciliation. On April 14, 1865, just days after the war's end at Appomattox, Lincoln was attending a play at Ford's Theatre with his wife Mary when he was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. His marriage had produced four sons, two of whom preceded him in death, with severe emotional impact upon him and Mary. Lincoln is remembered as the martyr hero of the United States and he is consistently ranked as one of the greatest presidents in American history.

Family and childhood

Early life

Main article: Early life and career of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, the second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, in a log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm near Hodgenville, Kentucky.[2] He was a descendant of Samuel Lincoln, an Englishman who migrated from Hingham, Norfolk, to its namesake, Hingham, Massachusetts, in 1638. The family then migrated west, passing through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.[3] Lincoln's paternal grandparents, his namesake Captain Abraham Lincoln and wife Bathsheba (née Herring), moved the family from Virginia to Jefferson County, Kentucky. The captain was killed in an Indian raid in 1786.[4] His children, including eight-year-old Thomas, Abraham's father, witnessed the attack.[5][ b] Thomas then worked at odd jobs in Kentucky and Tennessee before the family settled in Hardin County, Kentucky in the early 1800s.[5]

The heritage of Lincoln's mother Nancy remains unclear, but it is widely assumed that she was the daughter of Lucy Hanks.[7] Thomas and Nancy married on June 12, 1806, in Washington County, and moved to Elizabethtown, Kentucky.[8] They had three children: Sarah, Abraham, and Thomas, who died an infant.[9]

Thomas Lincoln bought or leased farms in Kentucky before losing all but 200 acres (81 ha) of his land in court disputes over property titles.[10] In 1816, the family moved to Indiana where the land surveys and titles were more reliable.[11] Indiana was a "free" (non-slaveholding) territory, and they settled in an "unbroken forest"[12] in Hurricane Township, Perry County, Indiana.[13][c] In 1860, Lincoln noted that the family's move to Indiana was "partly on account of slavery", but mainly due to land title difficulties.[15]

The farm site where Lincoln grew up in Spencer County, Indiana

In Kentucky and Indiana, Thomas worked as a farmer, cabinetmaker, and carpenter.[16] At various times, he owned farms, livestock and town lots, paid taxes, sat on juries, appraised estates, and served on county patrols. Thomas and Nancy were members of a Separate Baptists church, which forbade alcohol, dancing, and slavery.[17]

Overcoming financial challenges, Thomas in 1827 obtained clear title to 80 acres (32 ha) in Indiana, an area which became the Little Pigeon Creek Community.[18]

Mother's death

On October 5, 1818, Nancy Lincoln succumbed to milk sickness, leaving 11-year-old Sarah in charge of a household including her father, 9-year-old Abraham, and Nancy's 19-year-old orphan cousin, Dennis Hanks.[19] Ten years later, on January 20, 1828, Sarah died while giving birth to a stillborn son, devastating Lincoln.[20]

On December 2, 1819, Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, with three children of her own.[21] Abraham became close to his stepmother, and called her "Mother".[22] Lincoln disliked the hard labor associated with farm life. His family even said he was lazy, for all his "reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, writing Poetry, etc".[23] His stepmother acknowledged he did not enjoy "physical labor", but loved to read.[24]

First Employment

At seventeen, Abraham left the family home for a while to work on a ferry across the Anderson River near its junction with the Ohio.[25][26]

At nineteen, he lost his sister Sarah, who died giving birth to her first child. In April 1828, he signed a contract with James Gentry, a neighboring settler, under which he was to bring a boat of agricultural products to New Orleans.[27] The journey lasted three months, during which he traveled with one of Gentry's sons to Ohio and then to Mississippi, where they had to face strong currents and an attack on their cargo. Back in Indiana, Abraham gave his father the $25 this contract earned him.[28]

In March 1830, when Abraham was 21, Thomas Lincoln decided to move to the fertile lands of Illinois, on the edge of the Sangamon River. His son helped him clear his new land. The following winter was harsh and the family remained stranded for several months by snow and ice.

Education and move to Illinois

Young Lincoln by Charles Keck at Senn Park, Chicago

Lincoln was mostly self-educated, except for some schooling from itinerant teachers of less than 12 months aggregate.[29] He persisted as an avid reader and retained a lifelong interest in learning.[30] Family, neighbors, and schoolmates recalled that his reading included the King James Bible, Aesop's Fables, John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.[31]

As a teen, Lincoln took responsibility for chores, and customarily gave his father all earnings from work outside the home until he was 21.[32] Lincoln was tall, strong, and athletic, and became adept at using an ax.[33] He gained a reputation for strength and audacity after winning a wrestling match with the renowned leader of ruffians known as "the Clary's Grove Boys".[34]

In March 1830, fearing another milk sickness outbreak, several members of the extended Lincoln family, including Abraham, moved west to Illinois, a free state, and settled in Macon County.[35][d] Abraham then became increasingly distant from Thomas, in part due to his father's lack of education.[37] In 1831, as Thomas and other family prepared to move to a new homestead in Coles County, Illinois, Abraham struck out on his own.[38] He made his home in New Salem, Illinois for six years.[39] Lincoln and some friends took goods by flatboat to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was first exposed to slavery.[40]

Marriage and children

Further information: Lincoln family, Health of Abraham Lincoln, and Sexuality of Abraham Lincoln

1864 photo of President Lincoln with youngest son, Tad.

Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, in 1861

Lincoln's first romantic interest was Ann Rutledge, whom he met when he moved to New Salem. By 1835, they were in a relationship but not formally engaged.[41] She died on August 25, 1835, most likely of typhoid fever.[42] In the early 1830s, he met Mary Owens from Kentucky.[43]

Late in 1836, Lincoln agreed to a match with Owens if she returned to New Salem. Owens arrived that November and he courted her for a time; however, they both had second thoughts. On August 16, 1837, he wrote Owens a letter saying he would not blame her if she ended the relationship, and she never replied.[44]

In 1839, Lincoln met Mary Todd in Springfield, Illinois, and the following year they became engaged.[45] She was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd, a wealthy lawyer and businessman in Lexington, Kentucky.[46] A wedding set for January 1, 1841 was canceled at Lincoln's request, but they reconciled and married on November 4, 1842, in the Springfield mansion of Mary's sister.[47] While anxiously preparing for the nuptials, he was asked where he was going and replied, "To hell, I suppose."[48] In 1844, the couple bought a house in Springfield near his law office. Mary kept house with the help of a hired servant and a relative.[49]

Lincoln was an affectionate husband and father of four sons, though his work regularly kept him away from home. The oldest, Robert Todd Lincoln, was born in 1843 and was the only child to live to maturity. Edward Baker Lincoln (Eddie), born in 1846, died February 1, 1850, probably of tuberculosis. Lincoln's third son, "Willie" Lincoln was born on December 21, 1850, and died of a fever at the White House on February 20, 1862. The youngest, Thomas "Tad" Lincoln, was born on April 4, 1853, and survived his father but died of heart failure at age 18 on July 16, 1871.[50][e] Lincoln "was remarkably fond of children"[52] and the Lincolns were not considered to be strict with their own.[53] In fact, Lincoln's law partner William H. Herndon would grow irritated when Lincoln would bring his children to the law office. Their father, it seemed, was often too absorbed in his work to notice his children's behavior. Herndon recounted, "I have felt many and many a time that I wanted to wring their little necks, and yet out of respect for Lincoln I kept my mouth shut. Lincoln did not note what his children were doing or had done."[54]

The deaths of their sons, Eddie and Willie, had profound effects on both parents. Lincoln suffered from "melancholy", a condition now thought to be clinical depression.[55] Later in life, Mary struggled with the stresses of losing her husband and sons, and Robert committed her for a time to an asylum in 1875.[56]

Early career and militia service

Further information: Early life and career of Abraham Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War

In 1832, Lincoln joined with a partner, Denton Offutt, in the purchase of a general store on credit in New Salem.[57] Although the economy was booming, the business struggled and Lincoln eventually sold his share. That March he entered politics, running for the Illinois General Assembly, advocating navigational improvements on the Sangamon River. He could draw crowds as a raconteur, but he lacked the requisite formal education, powerful friends, and money, and lost the election.[58]

Lincoln briefly interrupted his campaign to serve as a captain in the Illinois Militia during the Black Hawk War.[59] In his first campaign speech after returning, he observed a supporter in the crowd under attack, grabbed the assailant by his "neck and the seat of his trousers", and tossed him.
[35] Lincoln finished eighth out of 13 candidates (the top four were elected), though he received 277 of the 300 votes cast in the New Salem precinct.[60]

Lincoln served as New Salem's postmaster and later as county surveyor, but continued his voracious reading, and decided to become a lawyer. He taught himself the law, with Blackstone's Commentaries, saying later of the effort, "I studied with nobody."[61]

Illinois state legislature (1834–1842)

Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln's second state house campaign in 1834, this time as a Whig, was a success over a powerful Whig opponent.[62] Then followed his four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives for Sangamon County.[63] He championed construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and later was a Canal Commissioner.[64] He voted to expand suffrage beyond white landowners to all white males, but adopted a "free soil" stance opposing both slavery and abolition.[65] In 1837 he declared, "[The] Institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils."[66] He echoed Henry Clay's support for the American Colonization Society which advocated a program of abolition in conjunction with settling freed slaves in Liberia.[67]

Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1836,[68] he moved to Springfield and began to practice law under John T. Stuart, Mary Todd's cousin.[69] Lincoln emerged as a formidable trial combatant during cross-examinations and closing arguments. He partnered several years with Stephen T. Logan, and in 1844 began his practice with William Herndon, "a studious young man".[70]

U.S. House of Representatives (1847–1849)

Lincoln in his late 30s as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Photo taken by one of Lincoln's law students around 1846.

True to his record, Lincoln professed to friends in 1861 to be "an old line Whig, a disciple of Henry Clay".[71] Their party favored economic modernization in banking, tariffs to fund internal improvements including railroads, and urbanization.[72]

The Whigs emerged in the 1830s in opposition to President Andrew Jackson, pulling together former members of the National Republican Party, the Anti-Masonic Party, and disaffected Democrats. The Whigs had some weak links to the defunct Federalist Party, but the Whig Party was not a direct successor to that party and many Whig leaders, including Henry Clay, had aligned with the rival Democratic-Republican Party...

The Whigs collapsed following the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act in 1854, with most Northern Whigs eventually joining the anti-slavery Republican Party and most Southern Whigs joining the nativist American Party and later the Constitutional Union Party. The last vestiges of the Whig Party faded away after the American Civil War, but Whig ideas remained influential for decades.

The Whigs favored an activist economic program known as the American System, which called for a protective tariff, federal subsidies for the construction of infrastructure, and support for a national bank. The party also advocated modernization, meritocracy, the rule of law, protections against majority tyranny, and vigilance against executive tyranny. The party opposed Manifest Destiny, territorial expansion into Texas and the Southwest, and the war with Mexico in 1848. It disliked strong presidential power as exhibited by Jackson and Polk, and preferred Congressional dominance in lawmaking.

The Whig base of support was centered among entrepreneurs, professionals, planters, social reformers, devout Protestants, and the emerging urban middle class. It had much less backing from poor farmers or unskilled workers. The party was active in both the Northern United States and the Southern United States and did not take a strong stance on slavery, but Northern Whigs tended to be less supportive of that institution than their Democratic counterparts.

-- Whig Party (United States), by Wikipedia

In 1843, Lincoln sought the Whig nomination for Illinois' 7th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives; he was defeated by John J. Hardin though he prevailed with the party in limiting Hardin to one term. Lincoln not only pulled off his strategy of gaining the nomination in 1846, but also won election. He was the only Whig in the Illinois delegation, but as dutiful as any, participated in almost all votes and made speeches that toed the party line.[73] He was assigned to the Committee on Post Office and Post Roads and the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department.[74] Lincoln teamed with Joshua R. Giddings on a bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia with compensation for the owners, enforcement to capture fugitive slaves, and a popular vote on the matter. He dropped the bill when it eluded Whig support.[75]

Political views

On foreign and military policy, Lincoln spoke against the Mexican–American War, which he imputed to President James K. Polk's desire for "military glory—that attractive rainbow, that rises in showers of blood".[76] He supported the Wilmot Proviso, a failed proposal to ban slavery in any U.S. territory won from Mexico.[77]

Lincoln emphasized his opposition to Polk by drafting and introducing his Spot Resolutions. The war had begun with a Mexican slaughter of American soldiers in territory disputed by Mexico, and Polk insisted that Mexican soldiers had "invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our soil".[78] Lincoln demanded that Polk show Congress the exact spot on which blood had been shed and prove that the spot was on American soil.[79] The resolution was ignored in both Congress and the national papers, and it cost Lincoln political support in his district. One Illinois newspaper derisively nicknamed him "spotty Lincoln".[80] Lincoln later regretted some of his statements, especially his attack on presidential war-making powers.[81]

Lincoln had pledged in 1846 to serve only one term in the House. Realizing Clay was unlikely to win the presidency, he supported General Zachary Taylor for the Whig nomination in the 1848 presidential election.[82] Taylor won and Lincoln hoped in vain to be appointed Commissioner of the General Land Office.[83] The administration offered to appoint him secretary or governor of the Oregon Territory as consolation.[84] This distant territory was a Democratic stronghold, and acceptance of the post would have disrupted his legal and political career in Illinois, so he declined and resumed his law practice.[85]

Prairie lawyer

See also: List of cases involving Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln in 1857

In his Springfield practice Lincoln handled "every kind of business that could come before a prairie lawyer".[86] Twice a year he appeared for 10 consecutive weeks in county seats in the midstate county courts; this continued for 16 years.[87] Lincoln handled transportation cases in the midst of the nation's western expansion, particularly river barge conflicts under the many new railroad bridges. As a riverboat man, Lincoln initially favored those interests, but ultimately represented whoever hired him.[88] He later represented a bridge company against a riverboat company in a landmark case involving a canal boat that sank after hitting a bridge.[89] In 1849, he received a patent for a flotation device for the movement of boats in shallow water. The idea was never commercialized, but it made Lincoln the only president to hold a patent.[90]

Lincoln appeared before the Illinois Supreme Court in 175 cases; he was sole counsel in 51 cases, of which 31 were decided in his favor.[91] From 1853 to 1860, one of his largest clients was the Illinois Central Railroad.[92] His legal reputation gave rise to the nickname "Honest Abe".[93]

Lincoln argued in an 1858 criminal trial, defending William "Duff" Armstrong, who was on trial for the murder of James Preston Metzker.[94] The case is famous for Lincoln's use of a fact established by judicial notice to challenge the credibility of an eyewitness. After an opposing witness testified to seeing the crime in the moonlight, Lincoln produced a Farmers' Almanac showing the moon was at a low angle, drastically reducing visibility. Armstrong was acquitted.[94]

Leading up to his presidential campaign, Lincoln elevated his profile in an 1859 murder case, with his defense of Simeon Quinn "Peachy" Harrison who was a third cousin; Harrison was also the grandson of Lincoln's political opponent, Rev. Peter Cartwright.[95] Harrison was charged with the murder of Greek Crafton who, as he lay dying of his wounds, confessed to Cartwright that he had provoked Harrison.[96] Lincoln angrily protested the judge's initial decision to exclude Cartwright's testimony about the confession as inadmissible hearsay. Lincoln argued that the testimony involved a dying declaration and was not subject to the hearsay rule. Instead of holding Lincoln in contempt of court as expected, the judge, a Democrat, reversed his ruling and admitted the testimony into evidence, resulting in Harrison's acquittal.[94]

Republican politics (1854–1860)

Main article: Abraham Lincoln in politics, 1849–1861

Emergence as Republican leader

Further information: Slave states and free states and Abraham Lincoln and slavery

Lincoln in 1858, the year of his debates with Stephen Douglas over slavery.

The debate over the status of slavery in the territories failed to alleviate tensions between the slave-holding South and the free North, with the failure of the Compromise of 1850, a legislative package designed to address the issue.[97] In his 1852 eulogy for Clay, Lincoln highlighted the latter's support for gradual emancipation and opposition to "both extremes" on the slavery issue.[98] As the slavery debate in the Nebraska and Kansas territories became particularly acrimonious, Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas proposed popular sovereignty as a compromise; the measure would allow the electorate of each territory to decide the status of slavery. The legislation alarmed many Northerners, who sought to prevent the resulting spread of slavery, but Douglas's Kansas–Nebraska Act narrowly passed Congress in May 1854.[99]

Lincoln did not comment on the act until months later in his "Peoria Speech" in October 1854. Lincoln then declared his opposition to slavery which he repeated en route to the presidency.[100] He said the Kansas Act had a "declared indifference, but as I must think, a covert real zeal for the spread of slavery. I cannot but hate it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world ..."[101] Lincoln's attacks on the Kansas–Nebraska Act marked his return to political life.[102]

Nationally, the Whigs were irreparably split by the Kansas–Nebraska Act and other efforts to compromise on the slavery issue. Reflecting on the demise of his party, Lincoln wrote in 1855, "I think I am a Whig, but others say there are no Whigs, and that I am an abolitionist...I do no more than oppose the extension of slavery."[103] The new Republican Party was formed as a northern party dedicated to antislavery, drawing from the antislavery wing of the Whig Party, and combining Free Soil, Liberty, and antislavery Democratic Party members,[104] Lincoln resisted early Republican entreaties, fearing that the new party would become a platform for extreme abolitionists.[105] Lincoln held out hope for rejuvenating the Whigs, though he lamented his party's growing closeness with the nativist Know Nothing movement.[106]

In 1854 Lincoln was elected to the Illinois legislature but declined to take his seat. The year's elections showed the strong opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, and in the aftermath, Lincoln sought election to the United States Senate.[102] At that time, senators were elected by the state legislature.[107] After leading in the first six rounds of voting, he was unable to obtain a majority. Lincoln instructed his backers to vote for Lyman Trumbull. Trumbull was an antislavery Democrat, and had received few votes in the earlier ballots; his supporters, also antislavery Democrats, had vowed not to support any Whig. Lincoln's decision to withdraw enabled his Whig supporters and Trumbull's antislavery Democrats to combine and defeat the mainstream Democratic candidate, Joel Aldrich Matteson.[108]

1856 campaign

Violent political confrontations in Kansas continued, and opposition to the Kansas–Nebraska Act remained strong throughout the North. As the 1856 elections approached, Lincoln joined the Republicans and attended the Bloomington Convention, which formally established the Illinois Republican Party. The convention platform endorsed Congress's right to regulate slavery in the territories and backed the admission of Kansas as a free state. Lincoln gave the final speech of the convention supporting the party platform and called for the preservation of the Union.[109] At the June 1856 Republican National Convention, though Lincoln received support to run as vice president, John C. Frémont and William Dayton comprised the ticket, which Lincoln supported throughout Illinois. The Democrats nominated former Secretary of State James Buchanan and the Know-Nothings nominated former Whig President Millard Fillmore.[110] Buchanan prevailed, while Republican William Henry Bissell won election as Governor of Illinois, and Lincoln became a leading Republican in Illinois.[111][f]

A portrait of Dred Scott, petitioner in Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott was a slave whose master took him from a slave state to a free territory under the Missouri Compromise. After Scott was returned to the slave state he petitioned a federal court for his freedom. His petition was denied in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857).[g] Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in the decision wrote that blacks were not citizens and derived no rights from the Constitution. While many Democrats hoped that Dred Scott would end the dispute over slavery in the territories, the decision sparked further outrage in the North.[114] Lincoln denounced it as the product of a conspiracy of Democrats to support the Slave Power.[115] He argued the decision was at variance with the Declaration of Independence; he said that while the founding fathers did not believe all men equal in every respect, they believed all men were equal "in certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".[116]

Lincoln–Douglas debates and Cooper Union speech

Further information: Lincoln–Douglas debates and Cooper Union speech

In 1858 Douglas was up for re-election in the U.S. Senate, and Lincoln hoped to defeat him. Many in the party felt that a former Whig should be nominated in 1858, and Lincoln's 1856 campaigning and support of Trumbull had earned him a favor.[117] Some eastern Republicans supported Douglas from his opposition to the Lecompton Constitution and admission of Kansas as a slave state.[118] Many Illinois Republicans resented this eastern interference. For the first time, Illinois Republicans held a convention to agree upon a Senate candidate, and Lincoln won the nomination with little opposition.[119]

Abraham Lincoln (1860) by Mathew Brady, taken the day of the Cooper Union speech.

Lincoln accepted the nomination with great enthusiasm and zeal. After his nomination he delivered his House Divided Speech, with the biblical reference Mark 3:25, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other."[120] The speech created a stark image of the danger of disunion.[121] The stage was then set for the election of the Illinois legislature which would, in turn, select Lincoln or Douglas.[122] When informed of Lincoln's nomination, Douglas stated, "[Lincoln] is the strong man of the party ... and if I beat him, my victory will be hardly won."[123]

The Senate campaign featured seven debates between the Lincoln and Douglas. These were the most famous political debates in American history; they had an atmosphere akin to a prizefight and drew crowds in the thousands.[124] The principals stood in stark contrast both physically and politically. Lincoln warned that Douglas’ "Slave Power" was threatening the values of republicanism, and accused Douglas of distorting the Founding Fathers' premise that all men are created equal. Douglas emphasized his Freeport Doctrine, that local settlers were free to choose whether to allow slavery, and accused Lincoln of having joined the abolitionists.[125] Lincoln's argument assumed a moral tone, as he claimed Douglas represented a conspiracy to promote slavery. Douglas's argument was more legal, claiming that Lincoln was defying the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision.[126]

Though the Republican legislative candidates won more popular votes, the Democrats won more seats, and the legislature re-elected Douglas. Lincoln's articulation of the issues gave him a national political presence.[127] In May 1859, Lincoln purchased the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, a German-language newspaper that was consistently supportive; most of the state's 130,000 German Americans voted Democratic but the German-language paper mobilized Republican support.[128] In the aftermath of the 1858 election, newspapers frequently mentioned Lincoln as a potential Republican presidential candidate, rivaled by William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Simon Cameron. While Lincoln was popular in the Midwest, he lacked support in the Northeast, and was unsure whether to seek the office.[129] In January 1860, Lincoln told a group of political allies that he would accept the nomination if offered, and in the following months several local papers endorsed his candidacy.[130]

Traveling untiringly Lincoln made about fifty speeches. By their quality and simplicity he quickly became the champion of the Republican party. However, unlike his overwhelming support in the mid-west his support in the east was not as great, where he sometimes encountered a lack of appreciation and in some quarters was met with much indifference. Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, at that time wrote up an unflattering account of Lincoln's compromising position on slavery and his reluctance to challenge the court's Dred-Scott ruling, which was promptly used against him by his political rivals.[131][132]

On February 27, 1860, powerful New York Republicans invited Lincoln to give a speech at Cooper Union, in which he argued that the Founding Fathers had little use for popular sovereignty and had repeatedly sought to restrict slavery. He insisted that morality required opposition to slavery, and rejected any "groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong".[133] Many in the audience thought he appeared awkward and even ugly.[134] But Lincoln demonstrated intellectual leadership that brought him into contention. Journalist Noah Brooks reported, "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience."[135]

Historian David Herbert Donald described the speech as a "superb political move for an unannounced candidate, to appear in one rival's (Seward) own state at an event sponsored by the second rival's (Chase) loyalists, while not mentioning either by name during its delivery".[136] In response to an inquiry about his ambitions, Lincoln said, "The taste is in my mouth a little."[137]

1860 presidential election

Main article: 1860 United States presidential election

A Timothy Cole wood engraving taken from a May 20, 1860, ambrotype of Lincoln, two days following his nomination for president

On May 9–10, 1860, the Illinois Republican State Convention was held in Decatur.[138] Lincoln's followers organized a campaign team led by David Davis, Norman Judd, Leonard Swett, and Jesse DuBois, and Lincoln received his first endorsement.[139] Exploiting his embellished frontier legend (clearing land and splitting fence rails), Lincoln's supporters adopted the label of "The Rail Candidate".[140] In 1860, Lincoln described himself: "I am in height, six feet, four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing, on an average, one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse black hair, and gray eyes."[141] Michael Martinez wrote about the effective imaging of Lincoln by his campaign. At times he was presented as the plain-talking "Rail Splitter" and at other times he was "Honest Abe", unpolished but trustworthy.[142]

On May 18, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, Lincoln won the nomination on the third ballot, beating candidates such as Seward and Chase. A former Democrat, Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, was nominated for vice president to balance the ticket. Lincoln's success depended on his campaign team, his reputation as a moderate on the slavery issue, and his strong support for internal improvements and the tariff.[143] Pennsylvania put him over the top, led by the state's iron interests who were reassured by his tariff support.[144] Lincoln's managers had focused on this delegation while honoring Lincoln's dictate to "Make no contracts that will bind me".[145]

As the Slave Power tightened its grip on the national government, most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North was the aggrieved party. Throughout the 1850s, Lincoln had doubted the prospects of civil war, and his supporters rejected claims that his election would incite secession.[146] When Douglas was selected as the candidate of the Northern Democrats, delegates from eleven slave states walked out of the Democratic convention; they opposed Douglas's position on popular sovereignty, and selected incumbent Vice President John C. Breckinridge as their candidate.[147] A group of former Whigs and Know Nothings formed the Constitutional Union Party and nominated John Bell of Tennessee. Lincoln and Douglas competed for votes in the North, while Bell and Breckinridge primarily found support in the South.[117]

The Rail Candidate—Lincoln's 1860 platform, portrayed as being held up by a slave and his party

In 1860, northern and western electoral votes (shown in red) put Lincoln into the White House.

Prior to the Republican convention, the Lincoln campaign began cultivating a nationwide youth organization, the Wide Awakes, which it used to generate popular support throughout the country to spearhead voter registration drives, thinking that new voters and young voters tended to embrace new parties.[148] People of the Northern states knew the Southern states would vote against Lincoln and rallied supporters for Lincoln.[149]

As Douglas and the other candidates campaigned, Lincoln gave no speeches, relying on the enthusiasm of the Republican Party. The party did the leg work that produced majorities across the North, and produced an abundance of campaign posters, leaflets, and newspaper editorials. Republican speakers focused first on the party platform, and second on Lincoln's life story, emphasizing his childhood poverty. The goal was to demonstrate the power of "free labor", which allowed a common farm boy to work his way to the top by his own efforts.[150] The Republican Party's production of campaign literature dwarfed the combined opposition; a Chicago Tribune writer produced a pamphlet that detailed Lincoln's life, and sold 100,000–200,000 copies.[151] Though he did not give public appearances, many sought to visit him and write him. In the runup to the election he took an office in the Illinois state capitol to deal with the influx of attention. He also hired John George Nicolay as his personal secretary, whom would remain in that role during the presidency.[152]

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president. He was the first Republican president and his victory was entirely due to his support in the North and West. No ballots were cast for him in 10 of the 15 Southern slave states, and he won only two of 996 counties in all the Southern states, an omen of the impending Civil War.[153][154] Lincoln received 1,866,452 votes, or 39.8% of the total in a four-way race, carrying the free Northern states, as well as California and Oregon.[155] His victory in the electoral college was decisive: Lincoln had 180 votes to 123 for his opponents.[156]

Presidency (1861–1865)

Main article: Presidency of Abraham Lincoln

Secession and inauguration

Further information: Secession winter and Baltimore Plot

Headlines on the day of Lincoln's inauguration portended hostilities with the Confederacy, Fort Sumter being attacked less than six weeks later.[157]

The South was outraged by Lincoln's election, and in response secessionists implemented plans to leave the Union before he took office in March 1861.[158] On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed.[159] Six of these states declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America, and adopted a constitution.[160] The upper South and border states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas) initially rejected the secessionist appeal.[161] President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal.[162] The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as its provisional president on February 9, 1861.[163]

Attempts at compromise followed but Lincoln and the Republicans rejected the proposed Crittenden Compromise as contrary to the Party's platform of free-soil in the territories.[164] Lincoln said, "I will suffer death before I consent ... to any concession or compromise which looks like buying the privilege to take possession of this government to which we have a constitutional right."[165]

Lincoln tacitly supported the Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress and was awaiting ratification by the states when Lincoln took office. That doomed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed.[166] A few weeks before the war, Lincoln sent a letter to every governor informing them Congress had passed a joint resolution to amend the Constitution.[167]

March 1861 inaugural at the Capitol building. The dome above the rotunda was still under construction.

En route to his inauguration, Lincoln addressed crowds and legislatures across the North.[168] He gave a particularly emotional farewell address upon leaving Springfield; he would never again return to Springfield alive.[169][170] The president-elect evaded suspected assassins in Baltimore. On February 23, 1861, he arrived in disguise in Washington, D.C., which was placed under substantial military guard.[171] Lincoln directed his inaugural address to the South, proclaiming once again that he had no inclination to abolish slavery in the Southern states:

Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States that by the accession of a Republican Administration their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches when I declare that "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so."

— First inaugural address, 4 March 1861[172]

Lincoln cited his plans for banning the expansion of slavery as the key source of conflict between North and South, stating "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute." The president ended his address with an appeal to the people of the South: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies ... The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."[173] The failure of the Peace Conference of 1861 signaled that legislative compromise was impossible. By March 1861, no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms. Meanwhile, Lincoln and the Republican leadership agreed that the dismantling of the Union could not be tolerated.[174] In his second inaugural address, Lincoln looked back on the situation at the time and said: "Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the Nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came."
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

Postby admin » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:28 am

Part 2 of 3

Civil War

Main articles: American Civil War and Battle of Fort Sumter

Lincoln with officers after the Battle of Antietam. Notable figures (from left) are 1. Col. Delos Sackett; 4. Gen. George W. Morell; 5. Alexander S. Webb, Chief of Staff, V Corps; 6. McClellan;. 8. Dr. Jonathan Letterman; 10. Lincoln; 11. Henry J. Hunt; 12. Fitz John Porter; 15. Andrew A. Humphreys; 16. Capt. George Armstrong Custer.

Major Robert Anderson, commander of the Union's Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, sent a request for provisions to Washington, and Lincoln's order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Union troops at Fort Sumter and began the fight. Historian Allan Nevins argued that the newly inaugurated Lincoln made three miscalculations: underestimating the gravity of the crisis, exaggerating the strength of Unionist sentiment in the South, and overlooking Southern Unionist opposition to an invasion.[175]

William Tecumseh Sherman talked to Lincoln during inauguration week and was "sadly disappointed" at his failure to realize that "the country was sleeping on a volcano" and that the South was preparing for war.[176] Donald concludes that, "His repeated efforts to avoid collision in the months between inauguration and the firing on Ft. Sumter showed he adhered to his vow not to be the first to shed fraternal blood. But he also vowed not to surrender the forts. The only resolution of these contradictory positions was for the confederates to fire the first shot; they did just that."[177]

On April 15, Lincoln called on the states to send a total of 75,000 volunteer troops to recapture forts, protect Washington, and "preserve the Union", which, in his view, remained intact despite the seceding states. This call forced states to choose sides. Virginia seceded and was rewarded with the designation of Richmond as the Confederate capital, despite its exposure to Union lines. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas followed over the following two months. Secession sentiment was strong in Missouri and Maryland, but did not prevail; Kentucky remained neutral.[178] The Fort Sumter attack rallied Americans north of the Mason-Dixon line to defend the nation.

As States sent Union regiments south, on April 19, Baltimore mobs in control of the rail links attacked Union troops who were changing trains. Local leaders' groups later burned critical rail bridges to the capital and the Army responded by arresting local Maryland officials. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus where needed for the security of troops trying to reach Washington.[179] John Merryman, one Maryland official hindering the U.S. troop movements, petitioned Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney to issue a writ of habeas corpus. In June Taney, ruling only for the lower circuit court in ex parte Merryman, issued the writ which he felt could only be suspended by Congress. Lincoln persisted with the policy of suspension in select areas.[180][181]

Union military strategy

Lincoln took executive control of the war and shaped the Union military strategy. He responded to the unprecedented political and military crisis as commander-in-chief by exercising unprecedented authority. He expanded his war powers, imposed a blockade on Confederate ports, disbursed funds before appropriation by Congress, suspended habeas corpus, and arrested and imprisoned thousands of suspected Confederate sympathizers. Lincoln gained the support of Congress and the northern public for these actions. Lincoln also had to reinforce Union sympathies in the border slave states and keep the war from becoming an international conflict.[182]

Running the Machine: An 1864 political cartoon satirizing Lincoln's administration – featuring William Fessenden, Edwin Stanton, William Seward, Gideon Welles, Lincoln, and others

It was clear from the outset that bipartisan support was essential to success, and that any compromise alienated factions on both sides of the aisle, such as the appointment of Republicans and Democrats to command positions. Copperheads criticized Lincoln for refusing to compromise on slavery. The Radical Republicans criticized him for moving too slowly in abolishing slavery.[183] On August 6, 1861, Lincoln signed the Confiscation Act that authorized judicial proceedings to confiscate and free slaves who were used to support the Confederates. The law had little practical effect, but it signaled political support for abolishing slavery.[184]

In August 1861, General John C. Frémont, the 1856 Republican presidential nominee, without consulting Washington, issued a martial edict freeing slaves of the rebels. Lincoln canceled the illegal proclamation as politically motivated and lacking military necessity.[185] As a result, Union enlistments from Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri increased by over 40,000.[186]

Internationally, Lincoln wanted to forestall foreign military aid to the Confederacy.[187] He relied on his combative Secretary of State William Seward while working closely with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Charles Sumner.[188] In the 1861 Trent Affair which threatened war with Great Britain, the U.S. Navy illegally intercepted a British mail ship, the Trent, on the high seas and seized two Confederate envoys; Britain protested vehemently while the U.S. cheered. Lincoln ended the crisis by releasing the two diplomats. Biographer James G. Randall dissected Lincoln's successful techniques:[189]

his restraint, his avoidance of any outward expression of truculence, his early softening of State Department's attitude toward Britain, his deference toward Seward and Sumner, his withholding of his paper prepared for the occasion, his readiness to arbitrate, his golden silence in addressing Congress, his shrewdness in recognizing that war must be averted, and his clear perception that a point could be clinched for America's true position at the same time that satisfaction was given to a friendly country.

Lincoln painstakingly monitored the telegraph reports coming into the War Department. He tracked all phases of the effort, consulting with governors, and selecting generals based on their success, their state, and their party. In January 1862, after complaints of inefficiency and profiteering in the War Department, Lincoln replaced War Secretary Simon Cameron with Edwin Stanton. Stanton centralized the War Department's activities, auditing and canceling contracts, saving the federal government $17,000,000.[190] Stanton was a staunch Unionist, pro-business, conservative Democrat who gravitated toward the Radical Republican faction. He worked more often and more closely with Lincoln than any other senior official. "Stanton and Lincoln virtually conducted the war together", say Thomas and Hyman.[191]

Lincoln's war strategy embraced two priorities: ensuring that Washington was well-defended and conducting an aggressive war effort for a prompt, decisive victory.[h] Twice a week, Lincoln met with his cabinet in the afternoon. Occasionally Mary prevailed on him to take a carriage ride, concerned that he was working too hard.[193] For his edification Lincoln relied upon a book by his chief of staff General Henry Halleck entitled Elements of Military Art and Science; Halleck was a disciple of the European strategist Antoine-Henri Jomini. Lincoln began to appreciate the critical need to control strategic points, such as the Mississippi River.[194] Lincoln saw the importance of Vicksburg and understood the necessity of defeating the enemy's army, rather than simply capturing territory.[195]

General McClellan

After the Union rout at Bull Run and Winfield Scott's retirement, Lincoln appointed Major General George B. McClellan general-in-chief.[196] McClellan then took months to plan his Virginia Peninsula Campaign. McClellan's slow progress frustrated Lincoln, as did his position that no troops were needed to defend Washington. McClellan, in turn, blamed the failure of the campaign on Lincoln's reservation of troops for the capitol.[197]

Lincoln and McClellan

In 1862 Lincoln removed McClellan for the general's continued inaction. He elevated Henry Halleck in July and appointed John Pope as head of the new Army of Virginia.[198] Pope satisfied Lincoln's desire to advance on Richmond from the north, thus protecting Washington from counterattack.[199] But Pope was then soundly defeated at the Second Battle of Bull Run in the summer of 1862, forcing the Army of the Potomac back to defend Washington.[200]

Despite his dissatisfaction with McClellan's failure to reinforce Pope, Lincoln restored him to command of all forces around Washington.[201] Two days after McClellan's return to command, General Robert E. Lee's forces crossed the Potomac River into Maryland, leading to the Battle of Antietam.[202] That battle, a Union victory, was among the bloodiest in American history; it facilitated Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in January.[203]

McClellan then resisted the president's demand that he pursue Lee's withdrawing army, while General Don Carlos Buell likewise refused orders to move the Army of the Ohio against rebel forces in eastern Tennessee. Lincoln replaced Buell with William Rosecrans; and after the 1862 midterm elections he replaced McClellan with Ambrose Burnside. The appointments were both politically neutral and adroit on Lincoln's part.[204]

Burnside, against presidential advice, launched an offensive across the Rappahannock River and was defeated by Lee at Fredericksburg in December. Desertions during 1863 came in the thousands and only increased after Fredericksburg, so Lincoln replaced Burnside with Joseph Hooker.[205]

In the 1862 midterm elections the Republicans suffered severe losses due to rising inflation, high taxes, rumors of corruption, suspension of habeas corpus, military draft law, and fears that freed slaves would come North and undermine the labor market. The Emancipation Proclamation gained votes for Republicans in rural New England and the upper Midwest, but cost votes in the Irish and German strongholds and in the lower Midwest, where many Southerners had lived for generations.[206]

In the spring of 1863 Lincoln was sufficiently optimistic about upcoming military campaigns to think the end of the war could be near; the plans included attacks by Hooker on Lee north of Richmond, Rosecrans on Chattanooga, Grant on Vicksburg, and a naval assault on Charleston.[207]

Hooker was routed by Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, then resigned and was replaced by George Meade.[208] Meade followed Lee north into Pennsylvania and beat him in the Gettysburg Campaign, but then failed to follow up despite Lincoln's demands. At the same time, Grant captured Vicksburg and gained control of the Mississippi River, splitting the far western rebel states.[209]

Emancipation Proclamation

Main articles: Abraham Lincoln and slavery and Emancipation Proclamation

First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln by Francis Bicknell Carpenter (1864) (Clickable image—use cursor to identify.)

The Federal government's power to end slavery was limited by the Constitution, which before 1865 delegated the issue to the individual states. Lincoln argued that slavery would be rendered obsolete if its expansion into new territories were prevented. He sought to persuade the states to agree to compensation for emancipating their slaves in return for their acceptance of abolition.[210] Lincoln rejected Fremont's two emancipation attempts in August 1861, as well as one by Major General David Hunter in May 1862, on the grounds that it was not within their power, and would upset loyal border states.[211]

In June 1862, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory, which Lincoln signed. In July, the Confiscation Act of 1862 was enacted, providing court procedures to free the slaves of those convicted of aiding the rebellion; Lincoln approved the bill despite his belief that it was unconstitutional. He felt such action could be taken only within the war powers of the commander-in-chief, which he planned to exercise. Lincoln at this time reviewed a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet.[212]

Privately, Lincoln concluded that the Confederacy's slave base had to be eliminated. Copperheads argued that emancipation was a stumbling block to peace and reunification; Republican editor Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune agreed.[213] In a letter of August 22, 1862, Lincoln said that while he personally wished all men could be free, regardless of that, his first obligation as president was to preserve the Union:[214]

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union ... [¶] I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free.[215]

The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, and effective January 1, 1863, affirmed the freedom of slaves in 10 states not then under Union control, with exemptions specified for areas under such control.[216] Lincoln's comment on signing the Proclamation was: "I never, in my life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in signing this paper."[217] He spent the next 100 days preparing the army and the nation for emancipation, while Democrats rallied their voters by warning of the threat that freed slaves posed to northern whites.[218]

With the abolition of slavery in the rebel states now a military objective, Union armies advancing south liberated three million slaves.

Enlisting former slaves became official policy. By the spring of 1863, Lincoln was ready to recruit black troops in more than token numbers. In a letter to Tennessee military governor Andrew Johnson encouraging him to lead the way in raising black troops, Lincoln wrote, "The bare sight of 50,000 armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once".[219] By the end of 1863, at Lincoln's direction, General Lorenzo Thomas had recruited 20 regiments of blacks from the Mississippi Valley.[220]

The Proclamation included Lincoln's earlier plans for colonies for newly freed slaves, though that undertaking ultimately failed.[221]

Gettysburg Address (1863)

Main article: Gettysburg Address

Lincoln, absent his usual top hat, is highlighted at Gettysburg.

Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Gettysburg battlefield cemetery on November 19, 1863.[222] In 272 words, and three minutes, Lincoln asserted that the nation was born not in 1789, but in 1776, "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal". He defined the war as dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality for all. He declared that the deaths of so many brave soldiers would not be in vain, that slavery would end, and the future of democracy would be assured, that "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".[223]

Defying his prediction that "the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here", the Address became the most quoted speech in American history.[224]

General Grant

The Peacemakers, an 1868 painting by George P.A. Healy of events aboard the River Queen in March 1865. (Clickable image—use cursor to identify.)

Grant's victories at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign impressed Lincoln. Responding to criticism of Grant after Shiloh, Lincoln had said, "I can't spare this man. He fights."[225] With Grant in command, Lincoln felt the Union Army could advance in multiple theaters, while also including black troops. Meade's failure to capture Lee's army after Gettysburg and the continued passivity of the Army of the Potomac persuaded Lincoln to promote Grant to supreme commander. Grant then assumed command of Meade's army.[226]

Lincoln was concerned that Grant might be considering a presidential candidacy in 1864. He arranged for an intermediary to inquire into Grant's political intentions, and once assured that he had none, Lincoln promoted Grant to the newly revived rank of Lieutenant General, a rank which had been unoccupied since George Washington.[227] Authorization for such a promotion "with the advice and consent of the Senate" was provided by a new bill which Lincoln signed the same day he submitted Grant's name to the Senate. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 2, 1864.[228]

Grant in 1864 waged the bloody Overland Campaign, which exacted heavy losses on both sides.[229] When Lincoln asked what Grant's plans were, the persistent general replied, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."[230] Grant's army moved steadily south. Lincoln traveled to Grant's headquarters at City Point, Virginia to confer with Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman.[231] Lincoln reacted to Union losses by mobilizing support throughout the North.[232] Lincoln authorized Grant to target infrastructure—plantations, railroads, and bridges—hoping to weaken the South's morale and fighting ability. He emphasized defeat of the Confederate armies over destruction (which was considerable) for its own sake.[233] Lincoln's engagement became distinctly personal on one occasion in 1864 when Confederate general Jubal Early raided Washington, D.C.. Legend has it that while Lincoln watched from an exposed position, Union Captain (and future Supreme Court Justice) Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. shouted at him, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"[234]

As Grant continued to weaken Lee's forces, efforts to discuss peace began. Confederate Vice President Stephens led a group meeting with Lincoln, Seward, and others at Hampton Roads. Lincoln refused to negotiate with the Confederacy as a coequal; his objective to end the fighting was not realized.[235] On April 1, 1865, Grant nearly encircled Petersburg in a siege. The Confederate government evacuated Richmond and Lincoln visited the conquered capital. On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, officially ending the war.[236]


Main article: 1864 United States presidential election

An electoral landslide for Lincoln (in red) in the 1864 election; southern states (brown) and territories (gray) not in play

A poster of the 1864 election campaign with Lincoln as the candidate for president and Andrew Johnson as the candidate for vice president

Lincoln ran for reelection in 1864, while uniting the main Republican factions, along with War Democrats Edwin M. Stanton and Andrew Johnson. Lincoln used conversation and his patronage powers—greatly expanded from peacetime—to build support and fend off the Radicals' efforts to replace him.[237] At its convention, the Republicans selected Johnson as his running mate. To broaden his coalition to include War Democrats as well as Republicans, Lincoln ran under the label of the new Union Party.[238]

Grant's bloody stalemates damaged Lincoln's re-election prospects, and many Republicans feared defeat. Lincoln confidentially pledged in writing that if he should lose the election, he would still defeat the Confederacy before turning over the White House;[239] Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked them to sign the sealed envelope. The pledge read as follows:

"This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterward."[240]

The Democratic platform followed the "Peace wing" of the party and called the war a "failure"; but their candidate, McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform. Meanwhile, Lincoln emboldened Grant with more troops and Republican party support. Sherman's capture of Atlanta in September and David Farragut's capture of Mobile ended defeatism.[241] The Democratic Party was deeply split, with some leaders and most soldiers openly for Lincoln. The National Union Party was united by Lincoln's support for emancipation. State Republican parties stressed the perfidy of the Copperheads.[242] On November 8, Lincoln carried all but three states, including 78 percent of Union soldiers.[243]

Lincoln's second inaugural address in 1865 at the almost completed Capitol building

On March 4, 1865, Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. In it, he deemed the war casualties to be God's will. Historian Mark Noll places the speech "among the small handful of semi-sacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world;" it is inscribed in the Lincoln Memorial.[244] Lincoln said:

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said 3,000 years ago, so still it must be said, "the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether". With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.[245]


Main article: Reconstruction era

Reconstruction preceded the war's end, as Lincoln and his associates considered the reintegration of the nation, and the fates of Confederate leaders and freed slaves. When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates were to be treated, Lincoln replied, "Let 'em up easy."[246] Lincoln was determined to find meaning in the war in its aftermath, and did not want to continue to outcast the southern states. His main goal was to keep the union together, so he proceeded by focusing not on whom to blame, but on how to rebuild the nation as one.[247] Lincoln led the moderates in Reconstruction policy and was opposed by the Radicals, under Rep. Thaddeus Stevens, Sen. Charles Sumner and Sen. Benjamin Wade, who otherwise remained Lincoln's allies. Determined to reunite the nation and not alienate the South, Lincoln urged that speedy elections under generous terms be held. His Amnesty Proclamation of December 8, 1863, offered pardons to those who had not held a Confederate civil office and had not mistreated Union prisoners, if they were willing to sign an oath of allegiance.[248]

A political cartoon of Vice President Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) and Lincoln, 1865, entitled The 'Rail Splitter' At Work Repairing the Union. The caption reads (Johnson): "Take it quietly Uncle Abe and I will draw it closer than ever." (Lincoln): "A few more stitches Andy and the good old Union will be mended."

As Southern states fell, they needed leaders while their administrations were restored. In Tennessee and Arkansas, Lincoln respectively appointed Johnson and Frederick Steele as military governors. In Louisiana, Lincoln ordered General Nathaniel P. Banks to promote a plan that would reestablish statehood when 10 percent of the voters agreed, and only if the reconstructed states abolished slavery. Democratic opponents accused Lincoln of using the military to ensure his and the Republicans' political aspirations. The Radicals denounced his policy as too lenient, and passed their own plan, the 1864 Wade–Davis Bill, which Lincoln vetoed. The Radicals retaliated by refusing to seat elected representatives from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.[249]

Lincoln's appointments were designed to harness both moderates and Radicals. To fill Chief Justice Taney's seat on the Supreme Court, he named the Radicals' choice, Salmon P. Chase, who Lincoln believed would uphold his emancipation and paper money policies.[250]

After implementing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln increased pressure on Congress to outlaw slavery throughout the nation with a constitutional amendment. He declared that such an amendment would "clinch the whole matter" and by December 1863 an amendment was brought to Congress.[251] This first attempt fell short of the required two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives. Passage became part of the Republican/Unionist platform, and after a House debate the second attempt passed on January 31, 1865.[252] With ratification, it became the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution on December 6, 1865.[253]

Lincoln believed the federal government had limited responsibility to the millions of freedmen. He signed Senator Charles Sumner's Freedmen's Bureau bill that set up a temporary federal agency designed to meet the immediate needs of former slaves. The law opened land for a lease of three years with the ability to purchase title for the freedmen. Lincoln announced a Reconstruction plan that involved short-term military control, pending readmission under the control of southern Unionists.[254]

Historians agree that it is impossible to predict exactly how Reconstruction would have proceeded had Lincoln lived. Biographers James G. Randall and Richard Current, according to David Lincove, argue that:[255]

It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson's mistakes.

Eric Foner argues that:[256]

Unlike Sumner and other Radicals, Lincoln did not see Reconstruction as an opportunity for a sweeping political and social revolution beyond emancipation. He had long made clear his opposition to the confiscation and redistribution of land. He believed, as most Republicans did in April 1865, that the voting requirements should be determined by the states. He assumed that political control in the South would pass to white Unionists, reluctant secessionists, and forward-looking former Confederates. But time and again during the war, Lincoln, after initial opposition, had come to embrace positions first advanced by abolitionists and Radical Republicans. ... Lincoln undoubtedly would have listened carefully to the outcry for further protection for the former slaves ... It is entirely plausible to imagine Lincoln and Congress agreeing on a Reconstruction policy that encompassed federal protection for basic civil rights plus limited black suffrage, along the lines Lincoln proposed just before his death.

Native American policy

Lincoln's experience with Indians followed the death of his grandfather Abraham at their hands, in the presence of his father and uncles. Lincoln claimed Indians were antagonistic toward his father, Thomas Lincoln, and his young family. Although Lincoln was a veteran of the Black Hawk War, which was fought in Wisconsin and Illinois in 1832, he saw no significant action.[257] During his presidency, Lincoln's policy toward Indians was driven by politics.[257] He used the Indian Bureau as a source of patronage, making appointments to his loyal followers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.[258] He faced difficulties guarding Western settlers, railroads, and telegraphs, from Indian attacks.[258]

On August 17, 1862, the Sioux Uprising in Minnesota, supported by the Yankton Indians, killed hundreds of white settlers, forced 30,000 from their homes, and deeply alarmed the Lincoln administration.[259] Some believed it was a conspiracy by the Confederacy to launch a war on the Northwestern front.[260] Lincoln sent General John Pope, the former head of the Army of Virginia, to Minnesota as commander of the new Department of the Northwest.[261] Lincoln ordered thousands of Confederate prisoners of war sent by railroad to put down the Sioux Uprising.[262] When the Confederates protested forcing Confederate prisoners to fight Indians, Lincoln revoked the policy.[263] Pope fought against the Indians mercilessly, even advocating their extinction. He ordered Indian farms and food supplies be destroyed, and Indian warriors be killed.[261] Aiding Pope, Minnesota Congressman Col. Henry H. Sibley led militiamen and regular troops to defeat the Sioux at Wood Lake.[263] By October 9, Pope considered the uprising to be ended; hostilities ceased on December 26.[264] An unusual military court was set up to prosecute captured natives, with Lincoln effectively acting as the route of appeal.[265]

Lincoln personally reviewed each of 303 execution warrants for Santee Dakota convicted of killing innocent farmers; he commuted the sentences of all but 39 (one was later reprieved).[266][265] Lincoln sought to be lenient, but still send a message. He also faced significant public pressure, including threats of mob justice should any of the Dakota be spared.[265] Former Governor of Minnesota Alexander Ramsey told Lincoln, in 1864, that he would have gotten more presidential election support had he executed all 303 of the Indians. Lincoln responded, "I could not afford to hang men for votes."[267]

Other enactments

In the selection and use of his cabinet, Lincoln employed the strengths of his opponents in a manner that emboldened his presidency. Lincoln commented on his thought process, "We need the strongest men of the party in the Cabinet. We needed to hold our own people together. I had looked the party over and concluded that these were the very strongest men. Then I had no right to deprive the country of their services." [268] Goodwin described the group in her biography as a Team of Rivals.[269]

Lincoln adhered to the Whig theory of a presidency focused on executing laws while deferring to Congress' responsibility for legislating. Lincoln vetoed only four bills, particularly the Wade-Davis Bill with its harsh Reconstruction program.[270] The 1862 Homestead Act made millions of acres of Western government-held land available for purchase at low cost. The 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act provided government grants for agricultural colleges in each state. The Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1864 granted federal support for the construction of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad, which was completed in 1869.[271] The passage of the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Acts was enabled by the absence of Southern congressmen and senators who had opposed the measures in the 1850s.[272]

The Lincoln Cabinet[273]

Office / Name / Term

President / Abraham Lincoln / 1861–1865
Vice President / Hannibal Hamlin / 1861–1865 / Andrew Johnson / 1865
Secretary of State / William H. Seward / 1861–1865
Secretary of the Treasury / Salmon P. Chase / 1861–1864 / William P. Fessenden / 1864–1865 /
Hugh McCulloch / 1865
Secretary of War / Simon Cameron / 1861–1862 / Edwin M. Stanton / 1862–1865
Attorney General / Edward Bates / 1861–1864 / James Speed / 1864–1865
Postmaster General / Montgomery Blair / 1861–1864 / William Dennison Jr. / 1864–1865
Secretary of the Navy / Gideon Welles / 1861–1865
Secretary of the Interior / Caleb Blood Smith / 1861–1862 / John Palmer Usher / 1863–1865

There were two measures passed to raise revenues for the Federal government: tariffs (a policy with long precedent), and a Federal income tax. In 1861, Lincoln signed the second and third Morrill Tariffs, following the first enacted by Buchanan. He also signed the Revenue Act of 1861, creating the first U.S. income tax—a flat tax of 3 percent on incomes above $800 ($22,800 in current dollar terms).[274] The Revenue Act of 1862 adopted rates that increased with income.[275]

Lincoln presided over the expansion of the federal government's economic influence in other areas. The National Banking Act created the system of national banks. The US issued paper currency for the first time, known as greenbacks—printed in green on the reverse side.[276] In 1862, Congress created the Department of Agriculture.[274]

In response to rumors of a renewed draft, the editors of the New York World and the Journal of Commerce published a false draft proclamation that created an opportunity for the editors and others to corner the gold market. Lincoln attacked the media for such behavior, and ordered a military seizure of the two papers which lasted for two days.[277]

Lincoln is largely responsible for the Thanksgiving holiday.[278] Thanksgiving had become a regional holiday in New England in the 17th century. It had been sporadically proclaimed by the federal government on irregular dates. The prior proclamation had been during James Madison's presidency 50 years earlier. In 1863, Lincoln declared the final Thursday in November of that year to be a day of Thanksgiving.[278]

In June 1864, Lincoln approved the Yosemite Grant enacted by Congress, which provided unprecedented federal protection for the area now known as Yosemite National Park.[279]

Judicial appointments

Main article: List of federal judges appointed by Abraham Lincoln

Salmon Portland Chase was Lincoln's Chief Justice.

Supreme Court appointments

Supreme Court Justices

Justice / Nominated / Appointed

Noah Haynes Swayne / January 21, 1862 / January 24, 1862
Samuel Freeman Miller / July 16, 1862 / July 16, 1862
David Davis / December 1, 1862 / December 8, 1862
Stephen Johnson Field / March 6, 1863 / March 10, 1863
Salmon Portland Chase (Chief Justice) / December 6, 1864 / December 6, 1864

Lincoln's philosophy on court nominations was that "we cannot ask a man what he will do, and if we should, and he should answer us, we should despise him for it. Therefore we must take a man whose opinions are known."[278] Lincoln made five appointments to the Supreme Court. Noah Haynes Swayne was an anti-slavery lawyer who was committed to the Union. Samuel Freeman Miller supported Lincoln in the 1860 election and was an avowed abolitionist. David Davis was Lincoln's campaign manager in 1860 and had served as a judge in the Illinois court circuit where Lincoln practiced. Democrat Stephen Johnson Field, a previous California Supreme Court justice, provided geographic and political balance. Finally, Lincoln's Treasury Secretary, Salmon P. Chase, became Chief Justice. Lincoln believed Chase was an able jurist, would support Reconstruction legislation, and that his appointment united the Republican Party.[280]

Other judicial appointments

Lincoln appointed 27 judges to the United States district courts but no judges to the United States circuit courts during his time in office.[281][282]

States admitted to the Union

West Virginia was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863. Nevada, which became the third state in the far-west of the continent, was admitted as a free state on October 31, 1864.[283]


Main article: Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Shown in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone

John Wilkes Booth was a well-known actor and a Confederate spy from Maryland; though he never joined the Confederate army, he had contacts with the Confederate secret service.[284] After attending an April 11, 1865 speech in which Lincoln promoted voting rights for blacks, Booth hatched a plot to assassinate the President.[285] When Booth learned of the Lincolns' intent to attend a play with General Grant, he planned to assassinate Lincoln and Grant at Ford's Theatre. Lincoln and his wife attended the play Our American Cousin on the evening of April 14, just five days after the Union victory at the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse. At the last minute, Grant decided to go to New Jersey to visit his children instead of attending the play.[286]

At 10:15 pm, Booth entered the back of Lincoln's theater box, crept up from behind, and fired at the back of Lincoln's head, mortally wounding him. Lincoln's guest Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled with Booth, but Booth stabbed him and escaped.[287] After being attended by Doctor Charles Leale and two other doctors, Lincoln was taken across the street to Petersen House. After remaining in a coma for eight hours, Lincoln died at 7:22 am on April 15.[288][ i] Stanton saluted and said, "Now he belongs to the ages."[293][j] Lincoln's body was placed in a flag-wrapped coffin, which was loaded into a hearse and escorted to the White House by Union soldiers.[294] President Johnson was sworn in the next morning.[295]

Two weeks later, Booth was tracked to a farm in Virginia, and refusing to surrender, he was mortally shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett and died on April 26. Secretary of War Stanton had issued orders that Booth be taken alive, so Corbett was initially arrested for court martial. After a brief interview, Stanton declared him a patriot and dismissed the charge.[296]

Funeral and burial

Funeral of Lincoln

Main article: Funeral and burial of Abraham Lincoln

The late President lay in state, first in the East Room of the White House, and then in the Capitol Rotunda from April 19 through April 21. The caskets containing Lincoln's body and the body of his son Willie traveled for three weeks on the Lincoln Special funeral train.[297] The train followed a circuitous route from Washington D.C. to Springfield, Illinois, stopping at many cities for memorials attended by hundreds of thousands. Many others gathered along the tracks as the train passed with bands, bonfires, and hymn singing[298] or in silent grief. Poet Walt Whitman composed When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd to eulogize him, one of four poems he wrote about Lincoln.[299] African Americans were especially moved; they had lost 'their Moses'.[300] In a larger sense, the reaction was in response to the deaths of so many men in the war.[301] Historians emphasized the widespread shock and sorrow, but noted that some Lincoln haters celebrated his death.[302]

Religious and philosophical beliefs

Further information: Religious views of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, painting by George Peter Alexander Healy in 1869

As a young man, Lincoln was a religious skeptic.[303] He was deeply familiar with the Bible, quoting and praising it.[304] He was private about his position on organized religion and respected the beliefs of others.[305] He never made a clear profession of Christian beliefs.[306] Through his entire public career, Lincoln had a proneness for quoting Scripture.[307] His three most famous speeches—the House Divided Speech, the Gettysburg Address, and his second inaugural—each contain direct allusions to Providence and quotes from Scripture.

In the 1840s, Lincoln subscribed to the Doctrine of Necessity, a belief that the human mind was controlled by a higher power.[308] With the death of his son Edward in 1850 he more frequently expressed a dependence on God.[309] He never joined a church, although he frequently attended First Presbyterian Church with his wife beginning in 1852.[310][k]

In the 1850s, Lincoln asserted his belief in "providence" in a general way, and rarely used the language or imagery of the evangelicals; he regarded the republicanism of the Founding Fathers with an almost religious reverence.[311] The death of son Willie in February 1862 may have caused him to look toward religion for solace.[312] After Willie's death, he questioned the divine necessity of the war's severity. He wrote at this time that God "could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun, He could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds."[313]

Lincoln did believe in an all-powerful God that shaped events and by 1865 was expressing those beliefs in major speeches.[306] By the end of the war, he increasingly appealed to the Almighty for solace and to explain events, writing on April 4, 1864, to a newspaper editor in Kentucky:

I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years struggle the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God.[314]

This spirituality can best be seen in his second inaugural address, considered by some scholars[315] as the greatest such address in American history, and by Lincoln himself as his own greatest speech, or one of them at the very least.[l][316] Lincoln explains therein the cause, purpose, and result of the war was God's will.[317] Later in life, Lincoln's frequent use of religious imagery and language might have reflected his own personal beliefs and might have been a device to reach his audiences, who were mostly evangelical Protestants.[318] On the day Lincoln was assassinated, he reportedly told his wife he desired to visit the Holy Land.[319]


Main article: Health of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln in February 1865, two months before his death

Lincoln is believed to have had depression, smallpox, and malaria.[320] He took blue mass pills, which contained mercury, to treat constipation.[321] It is unknown to what extent he may have suffered from mercury poisoning.[322]

Several claims have been made that Lincoln's health was declining before the assassination. These are often based on photographs of Lincoln appearing to show weight loss and muscle wasting.[323] It is also suspected that he might have had a rare genetic disease such as Marfan syndrome or multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B.[323]


See also: Cultural depictions of Abraham Lincoln

Republican values

Lincoln's redefinition of republican values has been stressed by historians such as John Patrick Diggins, Harry V. Jaffa, Vernon Burton, Eric Foner, and Herman J. Belz.[324] Lincoln called the Declaration of Independence—which emphasized freedom and equality for all—the "sheet anchor" of republicanism beginning in the 1850s. He did this at a time when the Constitution, which "tolerated slavery", was the focus of most political discourse.[325] Diggins notes, "Lincoln presented Americans a theory of history that offers a profound contribution to the theory and destiny of republicanism itself" in the 1860 Cooper Union speech.[326] Instead of focusing on the legality of an argument, he focused on the moral basis of republicanism.[327]

His position on war was founded on a legal argument regarding the Constitution as essentially a contract among the states, and all parties must agree to pull out of the contract. Furthermore, it was a national duty to ensure the republic stands in every state.[328] Many soldiers and religious leaders from the north, though, felt the fight for liberty and freedom of slaves was ordained by their moral and religious beliefs.[329]

As a Whig activist, Lincoln was a spokesman for business interests, favoring high tariffs, banks, infrastructure improvements, and railroads, in opposition to Jacksonian democrats.[330] William C. Harris found that Lincoln's "reverence for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, the laws under it, and the preservation of the Republic and its institutions strengthened his conservatism."[331] James G. Randall emphasizes his tolerance and moderation "in his preference for orderly progress, his distrust of dangerous agitation, and his reluctance toward ill digested schemes of reform." Randall concludes that "he was conservative in his complete avoidance of that type of so-called 'radicalism' which involved abuse of the South, hatred for the slaveholder, thirst for vengeance, partisan plotting, and ungenerous demands that Southern institutions be transformed overnight by outsiders."[332]

Reunification of the states

Bureau of Engraving and Printing portrait of Lincoln as president

In Lincoln's first inaugural address, he explored the nature of democracy. He denounced secession as anarchy, and explained that majority rule had to be balanced by constitutional restraints. He said "A majority held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people."[333]

The successful reunification of the states had consequences for how people view the country. The term "the United States" has historically been used, sometimes in the plural ("these United States"), and other times in the singular. The Civil War was a significant force in the eventual dominance of the singular usage by the end of the 19th century.[334]

Historical reputation

In his company, I was never reminded of my humble origin, or of my unpopular color.[335]

— Frederick Douglass

In surveys of U.S. scholars ranking presidents conducted since 1948, the top three presidents are Lincoln, Washington, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, although the order varies.[336][m] Between 1999 and 2011, Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan have been the top-ranked presidents in eight surveys, according to Gallup.[338] A 2004 study found that scholars in the fields of history and politics ranked Lincoln number one, while legal scholars placed him second after George Washington.[339]

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Lincoln's assassination left him a national martyr. He was viewed by abolitionists as a champion of human liberty. Republicans linked Lincoln's name to their party. Many, though not all, in the South considered Lincoln as a man of outstanding ability.[340] Historians have said he was "a classical liberal" in the 19th-century sense. Allen C. Guelzo states that Lincoln was a "classical liberal democrat—an enemy of artificial hierarchy, a friend to trade and business as ennobling and enabling, and an American counterpart to Mill, Cobden, and Bright", whose portrait Lincoln hung in his White House office.[341][342]

Schwartz argues that Lincoln's American reputation grew slowly from the late 19th century until the Progressive Era (1900–1920s), when he emerged as one of America's most venerated heroes, even among white Southerners. The high point came in 1922 with the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.[343]

Union nationalism, as envisioned by Lincoln, "helped lead America to the nationalism of Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt."[344] In the New Deal era, liberals honored Lincoln not so much as the self-made man or the great war president, but as the advocate of the common man who they claimed would have supported the welfare state.[345]

The Lincoln cent, an American coin portraying Lincoln

Sociologist Barry Schwartz argues that in the 1930s and 1940s the memory of Abraham Lincoln was practically sacred and provided the nation with "a moral symbol inspiring and guiding American life." During the Great Depression, he argues, Lincoln served "as a means for seeing the world's disappointments, for making its sufferings not so much explicable as meaningful". Franklin D. Roosevelt, preparing America for war, used the words of the Civil War president to clarify the threat posed by Germany and Japan. Americans asked, "What would Lincoln do?"[346] However, Schwartz also finds that since World War II Lincoln's symbolic power has lost relevance, and this "fading hero is symptomatic of fading confidence in national greatness." He suggested that postmodernism and multiculturalism have diluted greatness as a concept.[347]

In the Cold War years, Lincoln's image shifted to a symbol of freedom who brought hope to those oppressed by Communist regimes.[345] By the late 1960s, some African-American intellectuals, led by Lerone Bennett Jr., rejected Lincoln's role as the Great Emancipator.[348][349] Bennett won wide attention when he called Lincoln a white supremacist in 1968.[350] He noted that Lincoln used ethnic slurs and told jokes that ridiculed blacks. Bennett argued that Lincoln opposed social equality, and proposed sending freed slaves to another country. Defenders, such as authors Dirck and Cashin, retorted that he was not as bad as most politicians of his day;[351] and that he was a "moral visionary" who deftly advanced the abolitionist cause, as fast as politically possible.[352] The emphasis shifted away from Lincoln the emancipator to an argument that blacks had freed themselves from slavery, or at least were responsible for pressuring the government on emancipation.[353]

By the 1970s, Lincoln had become a hero to political conservatives,[354] apart from neo-Confederates such as Mel Bradford who denounced his treatment of the white South, for his intense nationalism, support for business, his insistence on stopping the spread of human bondage, his acting in terms of Lockean and Burkean principles on behalf of both liberty and tradition, and his devotion to the principles of the Founding Fathers.[355] Lincoln became a favorite exemplar for liberal intellectuals across the world.[356]

Historian Barry Schwartz wrote in 2009 that Lincoln's image suffered "erosion, fading prestige, benign ridicule" in the late 20th century.[357] On the other hand, Donald opined in his 1996 biography that Lincoln was distinctly endowed with the personality trait of negative capability, defined by the poet John Keats and attributed to extraordinary leaders who were "content in the midst of uncertainties and doubts, and not compelled toward fact or reason".[358]

In the 21st century, President Barack Obama named Lincoln his favorite president and insisted on using the Lincoln Bible for his inaugural ceremonies.[359][360][361] Lincoln has often been portrayed by Hollywood, almost always in a flattering light.[362][363]
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Memory and memorials

Main article: Memorials to Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln's portrait appears on two denominations of United States currency, the penny and the $5 bill. His likeness also appears on many postage stamps.[364] While he is usually portrayed bearded, he didn't grow a beard until 1860 at the suggestion of 11-year-old Grace Bedell. He was the first of 16 presidents to do so.[365]

He has been memorialized in many town, city, and county names,[366] including the capital of Nebraska.[367] The United States Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is named after Lincoln, the second Navy ship to bear his name.[368]

Lincoln Memorial is one of the most visited monuments in the nation's capital,[369] and is one of the top five visited National Park Service sites in the country.[370] Ford's Theatre, among the top sites in Washington, D.C.,[370] is across the street from Petersen House (where he died).[371] Memorials in Springfield, Illinois include Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln's home, as well as his tomb.[372] A portrait carving of Lincoln appears with those of three other presidents on Mount Rushmore, which receives about 3 million visitors a year.[373]

Lincoln's image carved into the stone of Mount Rushmore

Abraham Lincoln, a 1909 bronze statue by Adolph Weinman, sits before a historic church in Hodgenville, Kentucky

The Lincoln memorial postage stamp of 1866 was issued by the U.S. Post Office exactly one year after Lincoln's death

See also

• Biography portal
• American Civil War portal
• Politics portal
• Law portal
• Illinois portal
• United States portal
• Outline of Abraham Lincoln
• Grace Bedell
• Dakota War of 1862
• Lincoln Tower
• List of civil rights leaders
• List of photographs of Abraham Lincoln


1. Discharged from command-rank of Captain and re-enlisted at rank of Private.
2. Thomas, born January 1778, would have been 8 at the attack, May 1786. Older sources use six.[6]
3. Their land eventually became part of Space, when the county was established in 1818.[14]
4. Historians disagree on who initiated the move; Thomas Lincoln had no obvious reason to do so. One possibility is that other members of the family, including Dennis Hanks, may not have matched Thomas's stability and steady income.[36]
5. The Lincolns' last descendant, great-grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.[51]
6. Eric Foner contrasts the abolitionists and anti-slavery Radical Republicans of the Northeast, who saw slavery as a sin, with the conservative Republicans, who thought it was bad because it hurt white people and blocked progress. Foner argues that Lincoln was a moderate in the middle, opposing slavery primarily because it violated the republicanism principles of the Founding Fathers, especially the equality of all men and democratic self-government as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.[112]
7. While the name of the Supreme Court case is Dred Scott vs. Sandford, the respondent's surnamewas actually "Sanford". A clerk misspelled the name, and the court never corrected the error.[113]
8. Major Northern newspapers, however, demanded more—they expected victory within 90 days.[192]
9. At the moment of death some observers said his face seemed to relax into a smile.[289][290][291][292]
10. Witnesses have provided other versions of the quote, i.e. "He now belongs to the ages." and "He is a man for the ages."
11. On claims that Lincoln was baptized by an associate of Alexander Campbell, see Martin, Jim (1996). "The secret baptism of Abraham Lincoln". Restoration Quarterly. 38 (2). Archived from the original on October 19, 2012. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
12. Lincoln wrote to Thurlow Weed on March 4, 1865, "I except [my Second Inaugural] to wear as well as--perhaps better than--any thing I have ever produced."
13. While the book Rating The Presidents: A Ranking of U.S. Leaders, From the Great and Honorable to the Dishonest and Incompetent acknowledges that polls have rated Lincoln among the top presidents since 1948, the authors find him to be among the two best presidents, along with Franklin Delano Roosevelt.[337]


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5. Donald 1996, p. 21.
6. D. Wilson, Davis, T. Wilson & Herdon, 1998, pp. 35–36
7. Bartelt 2008, p. 79.
8. Warren 2017, p. 9.
9. Warren 2017, p. 9–10.
10. Sandburg 1926, p. 20.
11. Warren 2017, p. 13.
12. Warren 2017, p. 26.
13. Warren 2017, p. 16, 43.
14. Bartelt 2008, pp. 3, 5, 16.
15. Sandburg 1926, p. 20; Donald 1996, pp. 23–24.
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17. Donald 1996, p. 22–24.
18. Bartelt 2008, pp. 24, 104.
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68. Donald 1996, p. 64.
69. White 2009, pp. 71, 79, 108.
70. Donald 1996, p. 17.
71. Donald 1996, p. 222.
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86. Donald 1996, p. 96.
87. Donald 1996, pp. 105–106, 158.
88. Donald 1996, pp. 142–143.
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103. White 2009, pp. 215–216.
104. McGovern 2009, pp. 38–39.
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106. White 2009, pp. 191–194.
107. Oates 1974, p. 119.
108. White 2009, pp. 205–208.
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113. Vishneski, John (1988). "What the Court Decided in Dred Scott v. Sandford". The American Journal of Legal History. Temple University. 32 (4): 373–390. doi:10.2307/845743. JSTOR 845743.
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115. Zarefsky 1993, pp. 69–110.
116. Jaffa 2000, pp. 299–300.
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118. Oates 1974, pp. 138–139.
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See also: Bibliography of Abraham Lincoln

• Ambrose, Stephen E. (1996). Halleck: Lincoln's Chief of Staff. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: LSU Press. ISBN 978-0-8071-5539-4.
• Baker, Jean H. (1989). Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-30586-9.
• Bartelt, William E. (2008). There I Grew Up: Remembering Abraham Lincoln's Indiana Youth. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana Historical Society Press. ISBN 978-0-87195-263-9.
• Belz, Herman (1998). Abraham Lincoln, constitutionalism, and equal rights in the Civil War era. New York, New York: Fordham University Press. ISBN 978-0-8232-1768-7.
• Belz, Herman (2014). "Lincoln, Abraham". In Frohnen, Bruce; Beer, Jeremy; Nelson, Jeffrey O (eds.). American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia. Open Road Media. ISBN 978-1-932236-43-9.
• Bennett Jr., Lerone (1968). "Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?". Ebony. Vol. 23 no. 4. ISSN 0012-9011.
• Blue, Frederick J. (1987). Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ISBN 978-0-87338-340-0.
• Boritt, Gabor S. (1994). Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-06445-6.
• Boritt, Gabor S.; Pinsker, Matthew (2002). "Abraham Lincoln". In Graff, Henry (ed.). The Presidents: A reference History (7th ed.). ISBN 978-0-684-80551-1.
• Bulla, David W.; Borchard, Gregory A. (2010). Journalism in the Civil War Era. New York, New York: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-1-4331-0722-1.
• Burlingame, Michael (2008). Abraham Lincoln: A Life. 2. Baltimore, Maryland: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-1-4214-1067-8.
• Carwardine, Richard J. (1997). "Lincoln, Evangelical Religion, and American Political Culture in the Era of the Civil War". Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association. 18 (1): 27–55. hdl:2027/spo.2629860.0018.104. JSTOR 20148948.
• Carwardine, Richard J. (2003). Lincoln. London, England: Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-03279-8.
• Cashin, Joan E. (2002). The War was You and Me: Civilians in the American Civil War. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-09174-7.
• Chesebrough, David B. (1994). No Sorrow Like Our Sorrow: Northern Protestant Ministers and the Assassination of Lincoln. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ISBN 978-0-87338-491-9.
• Collea, Joseph D. Collea, Jr. (September 20, 2018). New York and the Lincoln Specials: The President's Pre-Inaugural and Funeral Trains Cross the Empire State. McFarland. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1-4766-3324-4.
• Cox, Hank H. (2005). Lincoln and the Sioux Uprising of 1862. Nashville, Tennessee: Cumberland House. ISBN 978-1-58182-457-5.
• Dennis, Matthew (2018). Red, White, and Blue Letter Days: An American Calendar. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-1-5017-2370-4.
• Diggins, John P. (1986). The Lost Soul of American Politics: Virtue, Self-Interest, and the Foundations of Liberalism. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-14877-9.
• Dirck, Brian R. (2008). Lincoln the Lawyer. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07614-5.
• Donald, David Herbert (1996). Lincoln. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-82535-9.
• Donald, David Herbert (2016). Lincoln Reconsidered: Essays on the Civil War Era. New York, New York: Open Road Media. ISBN 978-1-5040-3402-9.
• Douglass, Frederick (2008). The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. New York, New York: Cosimo Classics. ISBN 978-1-60520-399-7.
• Edgar, Walter B. (1998). South Carolina: A History. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-255-4.
• Fish, Carl Russell (1902). "Lincoln and the Patronage". The American Historical Review. 8 (1): 53–69. doi:10.2307/1832574. JSTOR 1832574.
• Foner, Eric (2010). "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery". The SHAFR Guide Online. doi:10.1163/2468-1733_shafr_sim040100206.
• Goodrich, Th (2005). The Darkest Dawn: Lincoln, Booth, and the Great American Tragedy. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34567-7.
• Goodwin, Doris Kearns (2005). Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-684-82490-1.
• Graebner, Norman (1959). "Abraham Lincoln: Conservative Statesman". In Basler, Roy Prentice(ed.). The enduring Lincoln: Lincoln sesquicentennial lectures at the University of Illinois. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. OCLC 428674.
• Grimsley, Mark; Simpson, Brooks D. (2001). The Collapse of the Confederacy. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-2170-3.
• Guelzo, Allen C. (1999). Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-8028-3872-8.
• Guelzo, Allen C. (2004). Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-2182-5.
• Harrison, Lowell (2010). Lincoln of Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-2940-2.
• Harris, William C. (2007). Lincoln's Rise to the Presidency. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1520-9.
• Harris, William C. (2011). Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas.
• Heidler, David Stephen; Heidler, Jeanne T.; Coles, David J., eds. (2002). Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. New York, New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-04758-5.
• Heidler, David Stephen; Heidler, Jeanne T. (2006). The Mexican War. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-32792-6.
•, Editors. "House passes the 13th Amendment". Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
• Hodes, Martha (2015). Mourning Lincoln. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-21356-0.
• Hofstadter, Richard (1938). "The Tariff Issue on the Eve of the Civil War". The American Historical Review. 44 (1): 50–55. doi:10.2307/1840850. JSTOR 1840850.
• Holzer, Harold (2004). Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-9964-0.
• Jaffa, Harry V. (2000). A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln and the Coming of the Civil War. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-8476-9952-0.
• Kelley, Robin D. G.; Lewis, Earl (2005). To Make Our World Anew: Volume I: A History of African Americans to 1880. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-804006-4.
• Lamb, Brian P.; Swain, Susan, eds. (2008). Abraham Lincoln: Great American Historians on Our Sixteenth President. New York, New York: PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-58648-676-1.
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• Madison, James H. (2014). Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana. Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-01308-8.
• Mansch, Larry D. (2005). Abraham Lincoln, President-elect: The Four Critical Months from Election to Inauguration. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2026-1.
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• McGovern, George S. (2008). Abraham Lincoln: The American Presidents Series: The 16th President, 1861–1865. New York, New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4299-5088-6.
• McGovern, George S. (2009). Abraham Lincoln: The American Presidents Series: The 16th President, 1861–1865. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-0-8050-8345-3.
• McPherson, James M. (1992). Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-507606-6.
• McPherson, James M. (2005). Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-516895-2.
• McPherson, James M. (2009). Abraham Lincoln. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-537452-0.
• Morse, John Torrey (1893). Abraham Lincoln. I. Cambridge, Mass., Riverside Press.
• Morse, John Torrey (1893). Abraham Lincoln. II. Cambridge, Mass. Riverside Press.
• Neely Jr., Mark E. (1992). The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, USA. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014.
• Neely Jr., Mark E. (2004). "Was the Civil War a Total War?". Civil War History. 50 (4): 434–458. doi:10.1353/cwh.2004.0073.
• Nevins, Allan (1950). The Emergence of Lincoln: Prologue to Civil War, 1859-1861. New York, New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-10416-4.
• Nevins, Allan (1959). The War for the Union. New York, New York: Scribner. ISBN 978-0-684-10416-4.
• Nevins, Allan (1947). The War for the Union and Ordeal of the Union, and the Emergence of Lincoln. New York, New York: Scribner.
• Nichols, David A. (1974). "The Other Civil War Lincoln and the Indians" (PDF). Minnesota History.
• Noll, Mark A. (1992). A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 978-0-8028-0651-2.
• Noll, Mark A. (2002). America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-515111-4.
• Oates, Stephen B. (1974). "Abraham Lincoln 1861–1865". In Woodward, Comer Vann (ed.). Responses of the Presidents to Charges of Misconduct. New York, New York: Dell Publishing. ISBN 978-0-440-05923-3.
• Oates, Stephen B. (2009). With Malice Toward None: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. New York, New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-195224-1.
• Paludan, Phillip Shaw (1994). The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-0671-9.
• Parrillo, Nicholas (2000). "Lincoln's Calvinist Transformation: Emancipation and War". Civil War History. 46 (3): 227–253. doi:10.1353/cwh.2000.0073. ISSN 1533-6271.
• Potter, David M. (1977). The Impending Crisis: America Before the Civil War, 1848-1861. New York, New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-131929-7.
• Randall, James Garfield (1962). Lincoln: The Liberal Statesman. New York, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. ASIN B0051VUQXO.
• Randall, James Garfield; Current, Richard Nelson (1955). Lincoln the President: Last Full Measure. Lincoln the President. IV. New York, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. OCLC 950556947.
• Richards, John T. (2015). Abraham Lincoln: The Lawyer-Statesman (Classic Reprint). London, England: Fb&c Limited. ISBN 978-1-331-28158-0.
• Sandburg, Carl (1926). Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years. San Diego, California: Harcourt. OCLC 6579822.
• Sandburg, Carl (2002). Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-602752-6.
• Schwartz, Barry (2000). Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-74197-0.
• Schwartz, Barry (2008). Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era: History and Memory in Late Twentieth-Century America. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-74188-8.
• Sherman, William T. (1990). Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman. Charleston, South Carolina: BiblioBazaar. ISBN 978-1-174-63172-6.
• Simon, Paul (1990). Lincoln's Preparation for Greatness: The Legislative Years. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-00203-8.
• Smith, Robert C. (2010). Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-3233-5.
• Steers Jr., Edward (2010). The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia. New York, New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-178775-1.
• Striner, Richard (2006). Father Abraham: Lincoln's relentless struggle to end slavery. England, London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-518306-1.
• Taranto, James; Leo, Leonard, eds. (2004). Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst in the White House. New York, New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-5433-5.
• Tegeder, Vincent G. (1948). "Lincoln and the Territorial Patronage: The Ascendancy of the Radicals in the West". The Mississippi Valley Historical Review. 35 (1): 77–90. doi:10.2307/1895140. JSTOR 1895140.
• Thomas, Benjamin P. (2008). Abraham Lincoln: A Biography. Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-2887-1.
• Trostel, Scott D. (2002). The Lincoln Funeral Train: The Final Journey and National Funeral for Abraham Lincoln. Fletcher, Ohio: Cam-Tech Publishing. ISBN 978-0-925436-21-4. Archived from the original on 2013.
• Vile, John R. (2003). "Lincoln, Abraham (1809–1865)". Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments: Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues 1789–2002 (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-428-8.
• Vorenberg, Michael (2001). Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-65267-4.
• Warren, Louis A. (2017). Lincoln's Youth: Indiana Years, Seven to Twenty-One, 1816-1830 (Classic Reprint). London, England: Fb&c Limited. ISBN 978-0-282-90830-0.
• White, Ronald C. (2009). A. Lincoln: A Biography. New York, New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-58836-775-4.
• Wills, Garry (2012). Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America. New York, New York: Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4391-2645-5.
• Wilson, Douglas Lawson; Davis, Rodney O.; Wilson, Terry; Herndon, William Henry; Weik, Jesse William (1998). Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln. Univ of Illinois Press. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-0-252-02328-6.
• Winkle, Kenneth J. (2001). The Young Eagle: The Rise of Abraham Lincoln. Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4617-3436-9.
• Zarefsky, David (1993). Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-97876-5.

External links


• Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
o ALPLM's ongoing digitization of all Lincoln papers
• White House biography


• Abraham Lincoln Association
• Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation

Media coverage

• "Abraham Lincoln collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
• United States Congress. "Abraham Lincoln (id: L000313)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
• Abraham Lincoln: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress
• "Life Portrait of Abraham Lincoln", from C-SPAN's American presidents: Life Portraits, June 28, 1999
• "Writings of Abraham Lincoln" from C-SPAN's American Writers: A Journey Through History
• Abraham Lincoln: Original Letters and Manuscripts – Shapell Manuscript Foundation
• Lincoln/Net: Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project – Northern Illinois University


• Teaching Abraham Lincoln – National Endowment for the Humanities
• Works by Abraham Lincoln at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Abraham Lincoln at Internet Archive
• Works by Abraham Lincoln at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• In Popular Song:Our Noble Chief Has Passed Away by Cooper/Thomas
• Abraham Lincoln Recollections and Newspaper Articles Collection, McLean County Museum of History
• Digitized items in the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division in the Library of Congress
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

Postby admin » Tue Feb 16, 2021 6:09 am

Capitol mob built gallows and chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence’
by Jill Colvin
Associated Press
Posted: Jan 9, 2021 / 12:07 PM CST / Updated: Jan 9, 2021 / 12:07 PM CST



TOPSHOT – A noose is seen on makeshift gallows as supporters of US President Donald Trump gather on the West side of the US Capitol in Washington DC on January 6, 2021. – Donald Trump’s supporters stormed a session of Congress held today, January 6, to certify Joe Biden’s election win, triggering unprecedented chaos and violence at the heart of American democracy and accusations the president was attempting a coup. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

They were never a natural fit, the straight-laced evangelical and the brash reality TV star. But for more than four years, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence made their marriage of political convenience work.

Now, in the last days of their administration, each is feeling betrayed by the other. It’s part of the fallout from an extraordinary 24-hour stretch in which Pence openly defied Trump, Trump unleashed his fury on the vice president, and a mob of violent supporters incensed by Trump’s rhetoric stormed the Capitol building and tried to halt the peaceful transfer of power.

The Trump-Pence relationship is “pretty raw right now,” said one top GOP congressional aide, who described multiple phone calls in which Trump berated Pence and tried to pressure the vice president to use powers he does not possess to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Pence, for his part, was left feeling “hurt” and “upset” by the episode, according to people close to him. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.

Pence’s decision to publicly defy Trump was a first for the notoriously deferential vice president, who has been unflinchingly loyal to Trump since joining the GOP ticket in 2016. Pence has spent his tenure defending the president’s actions, trying to soothe anxious world leaders put off by Trump’s caustic rhetoric, and carefully avoiding the president’s ire.

He has taken on some of the administration’s most high-pressure projects, including leading its response to the coronavirus. And he has stood by Trump even as the president leveled baseless allegations of voter fraud and refused to concede the election after his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Under normal circumstances, the vote-tallying procedure that began on Wednesday would have been a mere formality. But after losing court case after court case, and with no further options at hand, Trump and his allies zeroed in on the congressional tally as their last chance to try to challenge the race’s outcome.

In a bizarre interpretation of the law, they argued that the vice president had the unilateral power to reject Electoral College votes supporting Biden. The Constitution makes clear that only Congress has that power.

The effort effectively turned Pence into a scapegoat who could be blamed for Trump’s loss if the vice president refused to go along with the plan. Trump and his lawyers spent days engaged in an aggressive pressure campaign to force Pence to bend to their will in a series of phone calls and in-person meetings, including one that stretched for hours on Tuesday.

When Pence, who consulted with his own legal team, constitutional scholars and the Senate parliamentarian, informed Trump on Wednesday morning that he would not be going along with the effort, the president “blew a gasket,” in the words of one person briefed on the conversation.

Not long after, Trump took the stage in front of thousands of his supporters at a “Stop the Steal” rally, where he urged them to march to the Capitol and continued to fan false hopes that Pence could change the outcome.

“If Mike Pence does the right thing we win the election,” Trump wrongly insisted. He repeatedly returned to Pence throughout his speech as he tried to pressure the vice president to fall in line.

But Trump already knew what Pence intended. And as Trump spoke, Pence released a letter to Congress laying out his conclusion that a vice president cannot claim “unilateral authority” to reject states’ electoral votes. He soon gaveled into order the joint session of Congress where his and Trump’s defeat would be cemented.

Not long after that, members of Trump’s rally crowd arrived at the Capitol, where they overwhelmed police, smashed windows, occupied the building and halted the electoral proceedings. Pence was whisked from the Senate chamber to a secure location, where he was held for hours with staff as well as his wife and daughter, who had been there to support him.

Trump did not call to check in on his vice president’s safety during the ordeal and instead spent much of Wednesday consumed with anger over Pence’s action, tweeting, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution.”

Later, members of the mob outside the Capitol were captured on video chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!”

For allies of Pence, it was a deeply upsetting episode that put the vice president in danger after four years of unstinting loyalty to the president and left Pence himself feeling hurt.

“I just think he’s had enough,” said John Thompson, who served as Pence’s campaign spokesman and and also worked for the Republican Governors’ Association.

“Yesterday just really pulled on his heartstrings,” Thompson said. “He’s been this loyal individual and the president was asking him to break the law and act outside his constitutional duties. I think it just reached a boiling point and the vice president said, ‘I’ve had enough.'”

Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma told Tulsa World, “I’ve never seen Pence as angry as he was today.”

“He said, ‘After all the things I’ve done for (Trump),'” Inhofe added.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal Trump adviser, also came to Pence’s defense, tweeting that his action was “a profile in courage.”

It remains unclear how the dynamic between Trump and Pence will play out over the next two weeks and how long the president will hold his grudge. The White House declined to discuss Trump’s thinking, but allies said Pence intends to spend the next two weeks focused on the transition.

He is also expected to attend Biden’s inauguration.

And while Pence had been banking on his close relationship with the president to propel him to top-tier status if he decides to run for president in 2024, allies said they didn’t think the vice president’s actions this week would have long-term consequences, even if some voters blame him for Trump’s defeat.

“I thought that was a very courageous moment for him,” Thompson said. “And I think that’s going to help his future.”

Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


A Reuters photographer says he overheard pro-Trump insurrectionists saying they wanted to hang Mike Pence at the Capitol
by Sonam Sheth
Business Insider
January 9, 2021, 03:52 IST



Babbitt’s journey — illuminated through her extensive social media activity, court and military records, and interviews with some who knew her — was one of paranoid devotion and enthusiasm that only increased as Trump’s fortunes waned.

She avidly followed the QAnon conspiracy theory, convinced that Trump was destined to vanquish a cabal of child abusers and Satan-worshiping Democrats. She believed Wednesday would be “the storm,” when QAnon mythology holds that Trump would capture and execute his opponents.

-- ‘The storm is here’: Ashli Babbitt’s journey from capital ‘guardian’ to invader, by Peter Jamison, Hannah Natanson, John Woodrow Cox and Alex Horton

Vice President Mike Pence finishes a swearing-in ceremony for senators in the Old Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Scott J. Applewhite/AP

• A Reuters photographer said he heard at least three pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol on Wednesday saying they wanted to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging.
• The photographer, Jim Bourg, tweeted that he heard the rioters "say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor."
• "It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed," he added.

• Trump has repeatedly and falsely claimed that Pence could have stopped Congress from finalizing Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election, even though Pence has no such legal or constitutional authority.
• When Pence released a statement saying he could not stop the process, the president publicly turned on him, tweeting that Pence didn't have the "courage" to do what was necessary.

A Reuters photographer said Friday that he overheard at least three pro-Trump insurrectionists at the US Capitol this week say they wanted to find Vice President Mike Pence and hang him.

"I heard at least 3 different rioters at the Capitol say that they hoped to find Vice President Mike Pence and execute him by hanging him from a Capitol Hill tree as a traitor," the photographer, Jim Bourg, tweeted. "It was a common line being repeated. Many more were just talking about how the VP should be executed."

The riot erupted Wednesday as Congress was counting electoral votes and debating Republican challenges to some battleground states' votes for Joe Biden. The pro-Trump mob breached barriers at the Capitol, broke into the building, and ransacked lawmakers' offices as police officers frantically evacuated Pence and senior lawmakers.

Other members of Congress, Hill staffers, and reporters hunkered down and sheltered in place, behind makeshift barricades, and in offices. An armed standoff ensued at the House chamber, and a Trump supporter was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer. The riot resulted in five deaths, including the woman who was shot and a Capitol Police officer who was beaten by the president's supporters. Three other people died of medical emergencies.

At a rally before the joint session, President Donald Trump whipped his supporters into a frenzy, urging them "to fight," march to the Capitol, and stop Congress from counting the votes and finalizing Biden's victory. In the days before the riot, Trump repeatedly and falsely claimed that the vice president had the power to reject or "decertify" electors from battleground states that Trump lost.

"States want to correct their votes, which they now know were based on irregularities and fraud, plus corrupt process never received legislative approval. All Mike Pence has to do is send them back to the States, AND WE WIN. Do it Mike, this is a time for extreme courage!" Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning.

"If Vice President @Mike_Pence comes through for us, we will win the Presidency," he added. "Many States want to decertify the mistake they made in certifying incorrect & even fraudulent numbers in a process NOT approved by their State Legislatures (which it must be). Mike can send it back!"

Pence has no such legal or constitutional authority; he released a statement acknowledging that minutes before Congress convened on Wednesday afternoon. "Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress," he said. "After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct."

Trump vented on Twitter, saying the vice president lacked the "courage" to do what was necessary. The insurrectionists who later laid siege to the Capitol could be heard shouting "where's Mike Pence," a source close to the vice president told CNN on Thursday.

The source added that the president didn't bother checking on Pence's or his family's safety after unleashing the mob on the Capitol.

Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma told the Tulsa World that Pence was furious with Trump in the wake of the riot.

"I've known Mike Pence forever," Inhofe said. "I've never seen Pence as angry as he was today."

Trump hasn't seemed too concerned about tensions with the vice president. After Pence refused to block Congress' certification of Biden's victory, he reportedly told Pence, "I don't want to be your friend."
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

Postby admin » Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:47 am

After the Speech: What Trump Did as the Capitol Was Attacked: New evidence emerged in the impeachment trial about what President Donald J. Trump did from roughly 1 to 6 p.m. the day of the Capitol attack. But many questions remain unanswered.
by Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin
New York Times
Feb. 13, 2021



The impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump largely focused on his actions leading up to the violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6. But there was a crucial period that day of nearly five hours — between the end of Mr. Trump’s speech at the Ellipse urging his supporters to march to the Capitol and a final tweet telling his followers to remember the day forever — that remains critical to his state of mind.

Evidence emerged during the trial about what Mr. Trump was doing during those hours, including new details about two phone calls with lawmakers that prosecutors said clearly alerted the president to the mayhem on Capitol Hill. Prosecutors said the new information was clear proof of Mr. Trump’s intent to incite the mob and of his dereliction to stop the violence, even when he knew that the life of Vice President Mike Pence was in danger.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader who on Saturday voted to acquit Mr. Trump but offered a sweeping endorsement of the prosecutors’ case, backed them up: “There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.”

Still, many crucial questions remain unanswered about the president’s actions and mood from roughly 1 to 6 p.m. Jan. 6. Here is what is known so far:

Mr. Trump concluded his incendiary speech on the Ellipse at 1:11 p.m. He had repeatedly told the crowd that the election was stolen from him and urged his supporters to march to the Capitol in a last-ditch effort to stop President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory from being certified. Mr. Trump said twice that he would go with them. And days before the march, he had told advisers that he wanted to join his supporters, but aides told him that people in the crowd were armed and that the Secret Service would not be able to protect him.

Six minutes later, Mr. Trump’s motorcade began heading back to the White House. He arrived there at 1:19 p.m. as the crowd was making its way up Pennsylvania Avenue and beginning to swarm around the Capitol. Television news footage showed the mob as it moved closer to the doors.

At some point, Mr. Trump went to the Oval Office and watched news coverage of a situation that was growing increasingly tense.

At 1:34 p.m., Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington made a formal request for assistance in a phone call with the Army secretary, Ryan D. McCarthy.
At 1:49 p.m., as the Capitol Police asked Pentagon officials for help from the National Guard, Mr. Trump tweeted a video of his incendiary rally speech.

It was around this time that some of Mr. Trump’s allies publicly called on him to do something. Chris Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, told ABC News that Mr. Trump needed to say something to stop the rioting.

At 2:12 p.m., the same moment that the mob breached the building itself, Mr. Pence — who had defied the president by saying he planned to certify Mr. Biden’s victory — was rushed off the Senate floor. A minute later, the Senate session was recessed. Two minutes after that, at 2:15 p.m., groups of rioters began to chant, “Hang Mike Pence!”

Nine minutes later, at 2:24 p.m., Mr. Trump tweeted a broadside at Mr. Pence for moving ahead to certify Mr. Biden’s win: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

At 2:26 p.m., after Mr. Pence had been whisked away, a call was placed from the White House to Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, according to call logs that the senator provided during the impeachment proceedings.

The president had made the call, but he was actually looking for Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama. Mr. Lee gave the phone to Mr. Tuberville, who has told reporters that he informed Mr. Trump that Mr. Pence had just been escorted out as the mob got closer to the Senate chamber.

“I said, ‘Mr. President, they just took the vice president out, I’ve got to go,’” Mr. Tuberville recounted to Politico.

This was a significant new piece of information. House prosecutors used it to argue that Mr. Trump was clearly aware that the vice president was in danger and that he had a callous disregard for Mr. Pence’s safety. On Friday, Mr. Trump’s defense team had insisted that Mr. Trump was not aware of any peril facing Mr. Pence.

Back at the White House, advisers were trying to get Mr. Trump to do something, but he rebuffed calls to intercede, including those from people wanting to see the National Guard deployed. The president, several advisers said, was expressing pleasure that the vote to certify Mr. Biden’s win had been delayed and that people were fighting for him.

“According to public reports, he watched television happily — happily — as the chaos unfolded,” Mr. McConnell said on Saturday. “He kept pressing his scheme to overturn the election. Even after it was clear to any reasonable observer that Vice President Pence was in serious danger, even as the mob carrying Trump banners was beating cops and breaching perimeters, the president sent a further tweet attacking his own vice president.”

“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close Republican ally of the president’s, told The Washington Post that he called Ivanka Trump, Mr. Trump’s eldest daughter, to try to get her to reason with her father. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, also called Ms. Trump to see if she could talk to her father. A short time later, she arrived in the Oval Office, urging Mr. Trump to issue a statement.

The White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, hammered at Mr. Trump to understand that he had potential legal exposure for what was taking place.

Finally, at 2:38 p.m., Mr. Trump tweeted, “Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!”

A short time later, at 3:13 p.m., Mr. Trump added a note, “I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

Ms. Trump quoted her father’s tweet when she sent out her own, telling “American Patriots” to follow the law. She quickly deleted it and replaced it when she faced blowback on Twitter for appearing to praise the rioters as “patriots.”

Around 3:30 p.m., Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader and another ally of Mr. Trump’s, told CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell that he had spoken that afternoon with Mr. Trump as the Capitol was under siege.

“I told him he needed to talk to the nation,” Mr. McCarthy said. “I told him what was happening right then.”

The call became heated, according to a Republican congresswoman, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington State, who said that Mr. McCarthy told her that Mr. Trump had sided with the mob as the Capitol attack unfolded, suggesting he had made a choice not to stop the violence.

In a statement on Friday night that was admitted into evidence in the trial on Saturday, Ms. Herrera Beutler recounted that Mr. McCarthy had a shouting match with Mr. Trump during the call.

Mr. McCarthy had told Mr. Trump that his own office windows were being broken into. “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are,” Mr. Trump said, according to a report by CNN that the congresswoman confirmed.

“Who do you think you’re talking to?” Mr. McCarthy fired back at one point, CNN reported, including an expletive.

Meanwhile, the violence continued. At 4:17 p.m., Mr. Trump posted a video on Twitter of him speaking directly to the camera in the Rose Garden. “I know your pain,” Mr. Trump said. “I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us, it was a landslide election, and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now.”

He added, “We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.”

The violence continued. Well before the Capitol Police announced at 8 p.m. that the building had been secured, Mr. Trump put out a final tweet at 6:01 p.m.: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”

The Trump Impeachment: What You Need to Know

A trial was held to decide whether former President Donald J. Trump is guilty of inciting a deadly mob of his supporters when they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, violently breaching security measures and sending lawmakers into hiding as they met to certify President Biden’s victory.

The House voted 232 to 197 to approve a single article of impeachment, accusing Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in his quest to overturn the election results. Ten Republicans joined the Democrats in voting to impeach him.

The Senate acquitted Mr. Trump of the charges by a vote of 57 to 43, falling short of the two-thirds majority required for a conviction.

Without a conviction, the former president is eligible to run for public office once again. Public opinion surveys show that he remains by far the most popular national figure in the Republican Party.

Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The Times in 2015 as a campaign correspondent and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. @maggieNYT

Jonathan Martin is a national political correspondent. He has reported on a range of topics, including the 2016 presidential election and several state and congressional races, while also writing for Sports, Food and the Book Review. He is also a CNN political analyst. @jmartnyt

A version of this article appears in print on Feb. 14, 2021, Section A, Page 21 of the New York edition with the headline: After the Speech: What Trump Did While the Capitol Was Attacked.
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Re: The Party of Lincoln is the Party That Shot Lincoln

Postby admin » Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:51 am

Part 1 of 2

Know Nothing
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 2/16/21

Know Nothing
Uncle Sam's youngest son, Citizen Know Nothing, an 1854 print
Other name: Native American Party (before 1855); American Party (after 1855)
First Leader: Lewis Charles Levin
Founded: 1844; 177 years ago
Dissolved: 1860; 161 years ago
Preceded by: American Republican Party; Whig Party
Succeeded by: Constitutional Union Party; North American Party
Headquarters: New York City
Secret wing: Order of the Star Spangled Banner
Ideology: American nationalism; Nativism; Populism; Republicanism
Religion: Protestantism
Colors: Red White Blue

The Know Nothing movement, formally known as the Native American Party (at that time meaning descendants of colonists or settlers, rather than Indigenous Americans) before 1855 and the American Party after 1855, was a nativist political party and movement in the United States, which operated nationwide in the mid-1850s, originally starting as a secret society. It was primarily an anti-Catholic, Anti-Irish, anti-immigration, populist and xenophobic movement, although it was also progressive in its stances on "issues of labor rights, opposition to slavery, and the need for more government spending"[1] as well as for its "support for an expansion of the rights of women, regulation of industry, and support of measures designed to improve the status of working people."[2] It was also a forerunner to the temperance movement in the United States and its nativist spirit is seen in both the American Protective Association and the Ku Klux Klan.[3]

The American Protective Association (APA) was an American anti-Catholic secret society established in 1887 by Protestants. The organization was the largest anti-Catholic movement in the United States during the later part of the 19th century, showing particular regional strength in the Midwest. The group grew rapidly during the early 1890s before collapsing just as abruptly in the aftermath of the election of 1896.

Unlike the more powerful Know Nothing movement of the 1850s, the APA did not establish its own independent political party, but rather sought to exert influence by boosting its supporters in campaigns and at political conventions, particularly those of the Republican Party. The organization was particularly concerned about Roman Catholic influence in the public school system as well as unfettered Catholic immigration and what was seen as growing Catholic control of the political establishments of major American cities.

Attaining a six-figure membership at its peak in early 1896, the organization's collapse was rapid, with only a hollow shell remaining by 1898. The rump organization was finally terminated in 1911 with the death of its founder.


On the afternoon of Sunday, March 13, 1887, a meeting was called in the Clinton, Iowa law office of Henry F. Bowers to discuss the recent electoral defeat of incumbent mayor Arnold Walliker, which Bowers and others blamed on the organized efforts of Roman Catholics in the local organized labor movement.[1] Seven men were in attendance, including the defeated former mayor and his brother.[2] The decision was made by the seven men to establish a new political society to combat Catholic political influence, to be called the American Protective Association, and a constitution and Masonic-influenced ritual was drawn up for this new organization.[3]

Bowers was elected the group's first "Supreme President." Aside from Bowers himself, there were six other founding members. Bowers would later relate that this "First Council" was composed of three Republicans, two Democrats, one Populist, and one Prohibitionist.[4] The religious make-up of the First Council was said by Bowers to include members of the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and Lutheran religious denominations, as well as "one of no religion."[4]...

The years 1892 and 1893 initiated a period of dramatic growth in the size of the APA, and the secret society began capturing headlines in newspapers around the country. By September 1893 the head of the Buffalo, New York local council of the APA — formerly a Loyal Orange Institution member from Toronto — boasted of more than 800 members in that city alone, and promised that "we are going to run this city just as the APA runs Kansas City, Detroit, Saginaw, and other cities of the West."[8]...

Growth of the APA during the early 1890s was spurred by the circulation of forged documents, including in particular a set of purported “instructions to Catholics” advising the faithful against "keeping faith with heretics," and another alleged Papal encyclical over the signature of Pope Leo XIII calling for Catholics to "exterminate all heretics" on or about St. Ignatius Day [September 5], 1893.[10]

The Canadian-born W. J. H. Traynor, past Supreme Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of the United States[11] and editor of a weekly anti-Catholic newspaper from Detroit, The Patriotic American,[12] succeeded Bowers as Supreme President in 1893.[4] It would be he who would lead the group during its period of greatest influence during the mid-1890s.[4] Traynor, the son of a building contractor, had joined the Orange Order at the age of 17 and maintained membership and connections with a host of religious and nationalist secret societies, including the Illustrious Order of the Knights of Malta, the American Patriot League, the American Protestant Association, and other similar organizations.[13]...

The Loyal Orange Institution, commonly known as the Orange Order, is an international Protestant fraternal order based in Northern Ireland. It also has lodges in England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, as well as throughout the British Commonwealth and the United States.[1][2][3] The Orange Order was founded in County Armagh in 1795, during a period of Protestant–Catholic sectarian conflict, as a Masonic-style fraternity sworn to maintain the Protestant Ascendancy. It is headed by the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, which was established in 1798. Its name is a tribute to the Dutch-born Protestant Parliament-supported prince William of Orange's defeat of Catholic English king James II in the Williamite–Jacobite War (1688–1691). The order is best known for its yearly marches, the biggest of which is held on or around 12 July (The Twelfth).

The Orange Order is a conservative unionist organisation,[4][5] with links to Ulster loyalism. It campaigned against Scottish independence in 2014.[6] The Order sees itself as defending Protestant civil and religious liberties, whilst critics accuse the Order of being sectarian, triumphalist,[7][8][9][10] and supremacist.[10][11][12][13] As a strict Protestant society, it does not accept non-Protestants as members unless they convert and adhere to the principles of Orangeism, nor does it accept Protestants married to Catholics.[14][15][16] Although many Orange marches are without incident, marches through mainly Catholic and Irish nationalist neighbourhoods are controversial and have often led to violence.[17][18]

-- Orange Order, by Wikipedia

The Association took an active part in the mid-term election of 1894 and off-year elections of 1895, in some jurisdictions running its own ticket, but more often supporting candidates from the main parties who agreed with its agenda. It often took credit for Republican victories, especially in the GOP landslide year of 1894. Thus it took credit with the election of John W. Griggs to the governorship of New Jersey, by bringing up his opponent's, Alexander T. McGill support of a Catholic protection bill in 1875. It also claimed it had an influence in the elections in Upstate New York during the same period.[13] Its leader Traynor said the APA had twenty members of Congress as members; he boasted that one hundred members had been elected by it.[9]

Decline and extinction

In December 1895, the APA played a dominant role in the organization of a convention of patriotic organizations to coordinate efforts in the upcoming 1896 electoral campaign.[17] Joining the APA were representatives of the Loyal Orange Institution, the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, the Society for Protection of American Institutions, and other related groups — organizations which together fancifully claimed some 3 million adherents.[17] The convention adopted a platform calling for restricted immigration, a halt to public money spent for ostensibly sectarian purposes, limitation of the vote to citizens alone, and equal taxation of all except public property, and formed committees to attend the national conventions of the various political parties in an effort to gain commitments for these principles into national party platforms.[18]...

Ideology and program

APA propaganda depicting the Pope as the master decision-maker controlling the White House, Congress, and federal financial and publishing institutions. (Art from an 1894 book.)

While the Association said it did not have any conflict with Catholicism or the Irish per se, they believed that the Roman Catholic Church was making inroads into the government of the United States with the goal of controlling it. They said that Catholics had congregated in areas of large cities, preventing the election of non-Catholics in those areas, that 60% to 90% of government employees were Catholic, often illiterate and current and hired on the basis of patronage, attacks on the public school system, the "remarkable" increase in untaxed church property and the "fact" that the army, navy "were almost entirely Romanized", "frequent desecration" of the American flag by priests and the federal government was controlled by the Jesuits. They said that Roman Catholics were under the complete political control of the Pope and were to required to obey its laws when they were in conflict with those of the state, citing the Papal encyclical issued by Leo XIII on January 10, 1890, Sapientiae Christianae.[21]

The APAs program and stated aims included the "perpetual" separation of Church and State; maintenance of a free, non-sectarian public school system; prohibition of any government grant or special privilege to sectarian bodies; establishment of an educational qualification to vote, "purification of the ballot"; suspension of further immigration, and its resumption on guarantees of residence and educational qualifications; public inspections of all private schools, convents, monasteries, hospitals, educational and reformatory institutions. In New Jersey they were able to sponsor a "School Flag Act" and an act forbidding students from wearing religious garb in school.[22]

Representatives of the group also made public announcements that the Roman Catholic Church had instigated the Civil War, during which they said Catholics and Irish made up large numbers of deserters, and that both Grover Cleveland and William McKinley were controlled by the Church.[23]

Although a veil of secrecy cloaked early doctrinal documents, which later said to have only "feebly indicated" the APA's organizational aims,[24] the 1894 national convention approved a 13-point statement of principles which was made public and published.[25] This platform stated that "loyalty to true Americanism, which knows neither birthplace, race, creed, or party" was the "first requisite for membership" in the APA, and that the organization did not control the political affiliations of its members.[26]

The group's fundamental opposition to Catholicism was spelled out in the third plank of the 1894 statement of principles, which declared that while the APA was "tolerant of all creeds," it nevertheless

"holds that subjection to and support of any ecclesiastical power, not created and controlled by American citizens, and which claims equal, if not greater, sovereignty than the government of the United States of America, is irreconcilable with American citizenship. It is therefore opposed to the holding of offices in National, State, or Municipal government by any subject or supporter of such ecclesiastical power."[26]

The program further spelled out the APA's belief that "non-sectarian free public schools" constituted the "bulwark of American institutions" and protested against employment of so-called "subjects of un-American ecclesiastical power" as public school teachers or administrators.[26] The document also called for a "prohibition of the importation of pauper labor" as a means of protecting "our citizen laborers" and for tighter standards in immigration and naturalization law.[26]

Although regarded by historians as a nativist movement,[27] the APA was not automatically hostile to immigrants — quite the contrary. Many members, perhaps a majority, were themselves foreign-born, including Irish Protestants, Britons, and Scandinavian Lutherans.[28] The organization permitted African-Americans to membership, with blacks elected representatives of their state organizations to national conventions of the organization.[29] Segregated local councils for black members were organized in the Southern States in 1895 and 1896, but local councils in the North were integrated.[19] There is no evidence of either widespread participation by Jews in the APA or official anti-Semitism as a part of organizational practice.[29]

Citing immigration figures for the decade of the 1880s, which were said to have shown that 3.25 million of 6.3 million immigrants to America were Roman Catholic, one 1894 APA apologetic moved beyond the standard rationale of Papal political manipulation in arguing for a tightening of immigration standards for reasons of public safety:

"Most all of the better class of immigrants are Protestants. It remains that, almost entirely, the lowest class are Roman Catholics.... Among these are mostly found the train wreckers, robbers, plunderers, murderers, and assassins of the country.... In the large cities criminal statistics show that while Roman Catholics furnish about four percent of the population, they produce more than one-half of the crime, if we except those cities in which there is a large percent of negro criminals."[30]

The APA was also active in Canada, where it is said to have worked with the Orangemen and "is said to have controlled elections in the chief cities of the Dominion in 1894 and 1895." In England they also apparently worked with the Orange Lodge.[19] They were also reportedly active in Australia.[37]

-- American Protective Association, by Wikipedia

The Know Nothing movement briefly emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party. Adherents to the movement were to simply reply "I know nothing" when asked about its specifics by outsiders, providing the group with its common name.[4]

Supporters of the Know Nothing movement believed that an alleged "Romanist" conspiracy was being planned to subvert civil and religious liberty in the United States, and sought to politically organize native-born Protestants in what they described as a defense of their traditional religious and political values. The Know Nothing movement is remembered for this theme because of fears by Protestants that Catholic priests and bishops would control a large bloc of voters. I n most places, the ideology and influence of the Know Nothing movement lasted only a year or two before disintegrating due to weak and inexperienced local leaders, a lack of publicly declared national leaders, and a deep split over the issue of slavery. In the South, the party did not emphasize anti-Catholicism as frequently as it did in the North and stressed a neutral position on slavery,[5] but it became the main alternative to the dominant Democratic Party.[4]

The collapse of the Whig Party after the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act left an opening for the emergence of a new major political party in opposition to the Democratic Party. The Know Nothing movement managed to elect congressman Nathaniel P. Banks of Massachusetts and several other individuals in the 1854 elections into office, and subsequently coalesced into a new political party known as the American Party. Particularly in the South, the American Party served as a vehicle for politicians opposed to the Democrats. Many also hoped that it would stake out a middle ground between the pro-slavery positions of Democratic politicians and the radical anti-slavery positions of the rapidly emerging Republican Party. The American Party nominated former President Millard Fillmore in the 1856 presidential election, although he kept quiet about his membership, and personally refrained from supporting the Know Nothing movement's activities and ideology. Fillmore received 21.5% of the popular vote in the 1856 presidential election, finishing behind the Democratic and Republican nominees.[6]

The party entered a period of rapid decline after Fillmore's loss in the 1856 presidential election and the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in 1857 further galvanized opposition to slavery in the North, causing many former Know Nothings to join the Republicans.[7] The remnants of the American Party largely became part of the Constitutional Union Party in 1860 and disappeared during the American Civil War.

The Constitutional Union Party was a United States third party active during the 1860 elections. It consisted of conservative former Whigs, largely from the Southern United States, who wanted to avoid secession over the slavery issue and refused to join either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. The Constitutional Union Party campaigned on a simple platform "to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of the country, the Union of the states, and the Enforcement of the Laws".

The Whig Party had collapsed in the 1850s due to a series of sectional crises over slavery. Though some former Whigs joined the Democratic Party or the new, anti-slavery Republican Party, others joined the nativist American Party [Know Nothing Party]. The American Party entered a period of rapid decline following the 1856 elections, and in the lead-up to the 1860 elections John J. Crittenden and other former Whigs founded the Constitutional Union Party. The 1860 Constitutional Union Convention met in May 1860, nominating John Bell of Tennessee for president and Edward Everett of Massachusetts for vice president. Party leaders hoped to force a contingent election in the House of Representatives by denying any one candidate a majority in the Electoral College.

The 1860 election essentially consisted of two campaigns, as Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln competed with Northern Democratic candidate Stephen A. Douglas in the North, and Bell competed with Southern Democratic candidate John C. Breckinridge in the South. Ultimately, Lincoln won the election by winning nearly every Northern electoral vote. Bell took 12.6% of the nationwide popular vote, carried three states in the Upper South, and finished with the second highest vote total in each remaining slave state that held a popular vote. After the election, Crittenden and other Constitutional Unionists unsuccessfully sought to prevent a civil war with the Crittenden Compromise and the Peace Conference of 1861. Bell declared his support for the Confederacy following the Battle of Fort Sumter, but many other Constitutional Unionists remained loyal to the Union throughout the American Civil War.

-- Constitutional Union Party (United States), by Wikipedia


Anti-Catholicism had been a factor in colonial America but played a minor role in American politics until the arrival of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics in the 1840s.[8] It then reemerged in nativist attacks on Catholic immigration. It appeared in New York City politics as early as 1843 under the banner of the American Republican Party.[9]

The American Republican Party was a minor anti-Catholic, anti-immigration and nativist political organization that was launched in New York in June 1843, largely as a protest against immigrant voters and officeholders.

In 1844, the American Republican Party carried municipal elections in New York City and Philadelphia and expanded so rapidly that by July 1845 a national convention was called. This convention changed the name to the Native American Party and drafted a legislative program calling for a twenty-one-year period preceding naturalization and other sweeping reforms in the immigration policy. Failure to force congressional action on these proposals, combined with the growing national interest in the Mexican problem before the Mexican–American War, led to the party's rapid decline.

Its founders included Lewis Charles Levin, Samuel Kramer, "General" Peter Sken Smith, James Wallace, and John Gitron.

-- American Republican Party (1843), by Wikipdia

The movement quickly spread to nearby states using that name or Native American Party or variants of it. They succeeded in a number of local and Congressional elections, notably in 1844 in Philadelphia, where the anti-Catholic orator Lewis Charles Levin, who went on to be the first Jewish congressman, was elected Representative from Pennsylvania's 1st district. In the early 1850s, numerous secret orders grew up, of which the Order of United Americans[10] and the Order of the Star Spangled Banner[11] came to be the most important. They emerged in New York in the early 1850s as a secret order that quickly spread across the North, reaching non-Catholics, particularly those who were lower middle class or skilled workmen.[12]

The Order of the Star Spangled Banner (OSSB) was an oath-bound secret society in New York City. It was created in 1849 by Charles B. Allen to protest the rise of Irish, Catholic, and German immigration into the United States.

To join the Order, a man had to be at least 21 years old, a Protestant, and willing to obey the Order's dictates without question. Members were Nativists, citizens opposed to immigration, especially by Catholics. They saw Catholics as dangerous, illegal voters under the control of the Pope in Rome. Members invariably responded to questions about the OSSB by claiming that they "knew nothing." This practice caused newspaper editor Horace Greeley to label them "Know Nothings." The OSSB would eventually form the nucleus of the nativist Know Nothing movement which ran candidates in 1855–56 under the American Party ticket.

According to The American Pageant:

Older-stock Americans ... professed to believe that in due time the "alien riffraff" would "establish" the Catholic church at the expense of Protestantism and would introduce "popish idols." The noisier American "nativists" rallied for political action. ... They promoted a lurid literature of exposure, much of it pure fiction. The authors, sometimes posing as escaped nuns, described the shocking sins they imagined the cloisters concealed, including the secret burial of babies. One of these sensational books – Maria Monk's Awful Disclosures (1836) – sold over 300,000 copies.

-- Order of the Star Spangled Banner, by Wikipedia

The name Know Nothing originated in the semi-secret organization of the party. When a member was asked about his activities, he was supposed to reply, "I know nothing." Outsiders derisively called them "Know Nothings", and the name stuck. In 1855, the Know Nothings first entered politics under the American Party label.[13][14]

Underlying issues

The immigration of large numbers of Irish and German Catholics to the United States in the period between 1830 and 1860 made religious differences between Catholics and Protestants a political issue. Violence occasionally erupted at the polls. Protestants alleged that Pope Pius IX had put down the failed liberal Revolutions of 1848 and that he was an opponent of liberty, democracy and republicanism. One Boston minister described Catholicism as "the ally of tyranny, the opponent of material prosperity, the foe of thrift, the enemy of the railroad, the caucus, and the school".[15][16] These fears encouraged conspiracy theories regarding papal intentions of subjugating the United States through a continuing influx of Catholics controlled by Irish bishops obedient to and personally selected by the Pope.

In 1849, an oath-bound secret society, the Order of the Star Spangled Banner, was created by Charles B. Allen in New York City. At its inception, the Order of the Star Spangled Banner only had about 36 members. Fear of Catholic immigration led to a dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party, whose leadership in many cities included Catholics of Irish descent. Activists formed secret groups, coordinating their votes and throwing their weight behind candidates sympathetic to their cause:

Immigration during the first five years of the 1850s reached a level five times greater than a decade earlier. Most of the new arrivals were poor Catholic peasants or laborers from Ireland and Germany who crowded into the tenements of large cities. Crime and welfare costs soared. Cincinnati's crime rate, for example, tripled between 1846 and 1853 and its murder rate increased sevenfold. Boston's expenditures for poor relief rose threefold during the same period.[17]


In spring 1854, the Know Nothings carried Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, and other New England cities. They swept the state of Massachusetts in the fall 1854 elections, their biggest victory. The Whig candidate for mayor of Philadelphia, editor Robert T. Conrad, was soon revealed as a Know Nothing as he promised to crack down on crime, close saloons on Sundays and to appoint only native-born Americans to office—he won by a landslide. In Washington, D.C., Know Nothing candidate John T. Towers defeated incumbent Mayor John Walker Maury, causing opposition of such proportion that the Democrats, Whigs, and Freesoilers in the capital united as the "Anti-Know-Nothing Party". In New York, in a four-way race the Know Nothing candidate ran third with 26%. After the 1854 elections, they exerted decisive influence in Maine, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California, but historians are unsure about the accuracy of this information due to the secrecy of the party, as all parties were in turmoil and the anti-slavery and prohibition issues overlapped with nativism in complex and confusing ways. They helped elect Stephen Palfrey Webb as mayor of San Francisco and J. Neely Johnson as governor of California. Nathaniel P. Banks was elected to Congress as a Know Nothing candidate, but after a few months he aligned with Republicans. A coalition of Know Nothings, Republicans and other members of Congress opposed to the Democratic Party elected Banks to the position of Speaker of the House.

The results of the 1854 elections were so favorable to the Know Nothings, up to then an informal movement with no centralized organization, that they formed officially as a political party called the American Party, which attracted many members of the now nearly defunct Whig party as well as a significant number of Democrats. Membership in the American Party increased dramatically, from 50,000 to an estimated one million plus in a matter of months during that year.[18]

The historian Tyler Anbinder concluded:

The key to Know Nothing success in 1854 was the collapse of the second party system, brought about primarily by the demise of the Whig Party. The Whig Party, weakened for years by internal dissent and chronic factionalism, was nearly destroyed by the Kansas–Nebraska Act. Growing anti-party sentiment, fueled by anti-slavery sentiment as well as temperance and nativism, also contributed to the disintegration of the party system. The collapsing second party system gave the Know Nothings a much larger pool of potential converts than was available to previous nativist organizations, allowing the Order to succeed where older nativist groups had failed.[19]

In San Francisco, a Know Nothing chapter was founded in 1854 to oppose Chinese immigration—members included a judge of the state supreme court, who ruled that no Chinese person could testify as a witness against a white man in court.[20]

Fillmore–Donelson campaign poster

In the spring of 1855, Know Nothing candidate Levi Boone was elected mayor of Chicago and barred all immigrants from city jobs. Abraham Lincoln was strongly opposed to the principles of the Know Nothing movement, but did not denounce it publicly because he needed the votes of its membership to form a successful anti-slavery coalition in Illinois.[21][22] Ohio was the only state where the party gained strength in 1855. Their Ohio success seems to have come from winning over immigrants, especially German-American Lutherans and Scots-Irish Presbyterians, both hostile to Catholicism. In Alabama, Know Nothings were a mix of former Whigs, discontented Democrats and other political outsiders who favored state aid to build more railroads. Virginia attracted national attention in its tempestuous 1855 gubernatorial election. Democrat Henry Alexander Wise won by convincing state voters that Know Nothings were in bed with Northern abolitionists. With the victory by Wise, the movement began to collapse in the South.[23][24]

Know Nothings scored victories in Northern state elections in 1854, winning control of the legislature in Massachusetts and polling 40% of the vote in Pennsylvania. Although most of the new immigrants lived in the North, resentment and anger against them was national and the American Party initially polled well in the South, attracting the votes of many former southern Whigs.[25]

The party name gained wide but brief popularity. Nativism became a new American rage: Know Nothing candy, Know Nothing tea, and Know Nothing toothpicks appeared. Stagecoaches were dubbed "The Know Nothing". In Trescott, Maine, a shipowner dubbed his new 700-ton freighter Know Nothing.[26] The party was occasionally referred to, contemporaneously, in a slightly pejorative shortening, "Knism."[27]

Leadership and legislation

Historian John Mulkern has examined the party's success in sweeping to almost complete control of the Massachusetts legislature after its 1854 landslide victory. He finds the new party was populist and highly democratic, hostile to wealth, elites and to expertise, and deeply suspicious of outsiders, especially Catholics. The new party's voters were concentrated in the rapidly growing industrial towns, where Yankee workers faced direct competition with new Irish immigrants. Whereas the Whig Party was strongest in high income districts, the Know Nothing electorate was strongest in the poor districts. They expelled the traditional upper-class, closed, political leadership, especially the lawyers and merchants. In their stead, they elected working-class men, farmers and a large number of teachers and ministers. Replacing the moneyed elite were men who seldom owned $10,000 in property.[28]

Nationally, the new party leadership showed incomes, occupation, and social status that were about average. Few were wealthy, according to detailed historical studies of once-secret membership rosters. Fewer than 10% were unskilled workers who might come in direct competition with Irish laborers. They enlisted few farmers, but on the other hand they included many merchants and factory owners.[29] The party's voters were by no means all native-born Americans, for it won more than a fourth of the German and British Protestants in numerous state elections. It especially appealed to Protestants such as the Lutherans, Dutch Reformed and Presbyterians.[30]

The most aggressive and innovative legislation came out of Massachusetts, where the new party controlled all but three of the 400 seats—only 35 had any previous legislative experience. The Massachusetts legislature in 1855 passed a series of reforms that "burst the dam against change erected by party politics, and released a flood of reforms."[31] Historian Stephen Taylor says that in addition to nativist legislation, "the party also distinguished itself by its opposition to slavery, support for an expansion of the rights of women, regulation of industry, and support of measures designed to improve the status of working people".[2]

It passed legislation to regulate railroads, insurance companies and public utilities. It funded free textbooks for the public schools and raised the appropriations for local libraries and for the school for the blind. Purification of Massachusetts against divisive social evils was a high priority. The legislature set up the state's first reform school for juvenile delinquents while trying to block the importation of supposedly subversive government documents and academic books from Europe. It upgraded the legal status of wives, giving them more property rights and more rights in divorce courts. It passed harsh penalties on speakeasies, gambling houses and bordellos. It passed prohibition legislation with penalties that were so stiff—such as six months in prison for serving one glass of beer—that juries refused to convict defendants. Many of the reforms were quite expensive; state spending rose 45% on top of a 50% hike in annual taxes on cities and towns. This extravagance angered the taxpayers, and few Know Nothings were reelected.[32]

The highest priority included attacks on the civil rights of Irish Catholic immigrants. After this, state courts lost the power to process applications for citizenship and public schools had to require compulsory daily reading of the Protestant Bible (which the nativists were sure would transform the Catholic children). The governor disbanded the Irish militias and replaced Irish holding state jobs with Protestants. It failed to reach the two-thirds vote needed to pass a state constitutional amendment to restrict voting and office holding to men who had resided in Massachusetts for at least 21 years. The legislature then called on Congress to raise the requirement for naturalization from five years to 21 years, but Congress never acted.[33] The most dramatic move by the Know Nothing legislature was to appoint an investigating committee designed to prove widespread sexual immorality underway in Catholic convents. The press had a field day following the story, especially when it was discovered that the key reformer was using committee funds to pay for a prostitute. The legislature shut down its committee, ejected the reformer, and saw its investigation become a laughing stock.[34][35][36][37]

The Know Nothings also dominated politics in Rhode Island, where in 1855 William W. Hoppin held the governorship and five out of every seven votes went to the party, which dominated the Rhode Island legislature.[38] Local newspapers such as The Providence Journal fueled anti-Irish and anti-Catholic sentiment.[38]
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