How was Abraham Lincoln assassinated?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He served his first term starting in 1861, and was elected for a second term starting in 1865, but was assassinated near the beginning of the second term. He is best known in U.S. history for issuing the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in the United States and leading the country during the Civil War. Although now revered by most citizens of the United States for his role in ending slavery, Lincoln was deeply unpopular among many white people in the southern slave states, something that led to his assassination.

On 14 April, Lincoln attended the famous actress Laura Keene’s  performance of Tom Taylor's play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. Lincoln sat in a private box with his wife, Henry Rathbone (son of a Senator), and Rathbone’s fiancé.

John Wilkes Booth was a Southern sympathizer who thought that killing Lincoln and other important northern officials would save the Southern Confederacy. At 10:15 p.m. Booth entered Lincoln's box and shot Lincoln in the head with a  .44-caliber pistol. Despite immediate first aid by Charles Leale, a young doctor in the audience, and the efforts of the surgeon general at the house to which Lincoln was carried, the gunshot proved fatal. Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m.

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