Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief

By Willard M. Oliver; Nancy E. Marion | Go to book overview

2
Abraham Lincoln

INTRODUCTION

President Abraham Lincoln, at six feet four inches, towered over most Americans in the mid-1800s. He was a man of great physical strength, but had a warm and tender heart.1 He thoroughly enjoyed attending the theater, where he could escape from the pressures of leading the country during a tumultuous and stressful time. On the night of April 14, 1865, President Lincoln and his wife, Mary, decided to attend a production of Our American Cousin, a popular comedy of the time, at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. They arrived midway through the opening act to cheers and an ovation from the audience, many of whom attended the play that night simply to see Lincoln.

President Lincoln was fifty-six years old, and had completed the tasks of ending slavery and keeping the country united—accomplishments that did not sit well with all Americans. John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor of the time, had entered the building at some point. He was a familiar face, so no one stopped him or questioned his presence in the theater. Booth was not an admirer of President Lincoln. Even more, he was armed, motivated, and had access to the president’s suite upstairs in the theater. With Booth in place, the Lincolns’ choice to attend the theater that night would for all time be described as “fateful.” Booth made his way to the suite and awaited his cue.


ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. When he was young, the family moved to Indiana, where his mother died. His father remarried, and Abraham’s stepmother encouraged him to read and learn. The family

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Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Andrew Jackson 1
  • 2 - Abraham Lincoln 15
  • 3 - James a. Garfield 35
  • 4 - William McKinley 53
  • 5 - Theodore Roosevelt 69
  • 6 - Franklin D. Roosevelt 87
  • 7 - Harry S. Truman 99
  • 8 - John F. Kennedy 113
  • 9 - Gerald R. Ford 131
  • 10 - Ronald Reagan 147
  • 11 - Other Assassination Attempts 161
  • 12 - Rumored Assassinations 181
  • Notes 197
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index 227
  • About the Author 237
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