April 14-the day Lincoln was shot

Today marks the anniversary of the day that John Wilkes Booth changed American history forever. Until April 14, 1865, no American president had been assassinated and only two had died in office (William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor). However, that April evening in 1865, Lincoln and his wife were enjoying the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in DC, when John Wilkes Booth entered the President’s box and fired his derringer, lodging the ball in Lincoln’s head. Today is a sad anniversary for our nation, as we lost one of our greatest leaders before we should have. Much speculation reigns today about the course of Reconstruction and post-war America had Lincoln finished his second term. I would argue that had Lincoln not been shot, the nation would have endured a much gentler Reconstruction and relations between the North and South would have been more positive in the late nineteenth century. Imagine the post-Presidential life that Lincoln could have enjoyed. Would he have toured the world delivering addresses, or returned to the life of an attorney in Springfield? Rest in peace Mr. Lincoln.

A sad anniversary

April 14, 2008 marked the 143rd anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and today, April 15 marks the anniversary of his death. His death was one of the final tragedies of a nation that suffered through the Civil War. His death also provided counter factual history with a tantalizing case. Given the different views regarding Reconstruction between Lincoln and Johnson, one only wonders how our history would be different had Lincoln led the nation through Reconstruction, but I will let other folks debate that story. With next year marking the bicentennial of his birth and the sesquicentennial of the war beginning in 2011, the date of his assassination and death will become even more significant. Having visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield, Illinois, I have passed by the reproduced scene of his coffin lying in state and it is quite a moving thing to see. So, as a fellow Illinois resident, I say Rest in Peace, Mr. Lincoln, you are not forgotten.