Why Abraham Lincoln did not have a better personal protective detail ?

Jun 2014
21
Indiana
#12
The officer assigned to guard Lincoln's box that night decided to go have a drink at a nearby pub during the play, leaving the presidential box unguarded.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#13
How likely is the story that the person killed by posse/whatever was not John Wilkes Booth, but that Booth escaped, to live a reasonably long life ?.

I have never been overly surprised that Lincoln was assassinated. More surprised it did not happen sooner. My understanding is that taken overall, Lincoln was one of the most hated men in America, especially during the civil war. This an impression only, I have no hard evidence to support my impression.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
2,687
Las Vegas, NV USA
#14
How likely is the story that the person killed by posse/whatever was not John Wilkes Booth, but that Booth escaped, to live a reasonably long life ?.

I have never been overly surprised that Lincoln was assassinated. More surprised it did not happen sooner. My understanding is that taken overall, Lincoln was one of the most hated men in America, especially during the civil war. This an impression only, I have no hard evidence to support my impression.
He did win reelection in 1864 so either people who hated him voted for him anyway or a majority of voting citizens in the North and occupied areas where voting was allowed did not hate him. Lincoln was less liked in the Midwest and border states and of course probably by most southern whites. If you add them all perhaps its true. For many or most whites in the South, the hatred was generational.
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
#15
I didn't say he was hated by a majority, but that he was the most hated man in America at that time. That does not necessarily say anything about his reelection.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,569
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#16
The man who killed President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, was a professional actor. Booth was a major celebrity throughout the United States for his work as an actor. ...Lincoln told the Secret Service to take the night off on the night that Lincoln was murdered. If the Secret Service was present, the Secret Service might have prevented the assassination....
There are two reasons why you are wrong, and the Secret service could not possibly have Saved Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The United States Secret Service didn't have the job of protecting the president in 1865. It's job was to fight counterfeiting. After the assassination of McKinley in 1901 Congress gave the secret service the additional mission of protecting the President. and other top officials. One reason why the Secret service was selected instead of other agencies in 1901 for protecting the President was that the legislation to created the Secret Service was on President Lincoln's desk April 14, 1865, the night he was shot. So one reason the Secret Service could not have saved Lincoln on April 14, 1865 because it hadn't been created yet and hadn't hired any agents yet, and the other reason was the Secret service didn't have the job of Presidential protection yet.
 
Likes: bboomer

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,569
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#17
The man who killed President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, was a professional actor. Booth was a major celebrity throughout the United States for his work as an actor. ...Lincoln told the Secret Service to take the night off on the night that Lincoln was murdered. If the Secret Service was present, the Secret Service might have prevented the assassination....
There are two reasons why you are wrong, and the Secret service could not possibly have saved Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The United States Secret Service didn't have the job of protecting the president in 1865. It's job was to fight counterfeiting. After the assassination of McKinley in 1901 Congress gave the secret service the additional mission of protecting the President. and other top officials. One reason why the Secret service was selected instead of other agencies in 1901 for protecting the President was that the legislation to created the Secret Service was on President Lincoln's desk April 14, 1865, the night he was shot. So one reason the Secret Service could not have saved Lincoln on April 14, 1865 because it hadn't been created yet and hadn't hired any agents yet, and the other reason was the Secret service didn't have the job of Presidential protection yet.
 
Likes: grey fox

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,424
#18
How likely is the story that the person killed by posse/whatever was not John Wilkes Booth, but that Booth escaped, to live a reasonably long life ?.

I have never been overly surprised that Lincoln was assassinated. More surprised it did not happen sooner. My understanding is that taken overall, Lincoln was one of the most hated men in America, especially during the civil war. This an impression only, I have no hard evidence to support my impression.
There is no question that the federal troops got their man. Booth was an actor and quite literally one of the most famous men in the United States even prior to the assassination of Lincoln. May households had portraits of him. It would be a bit like Brad Pitt or George Clooney assassinating a president. That Booth could have slipped into a quiet life of anonymity in the United States afterward, or that the troops could have been mistaken in who they had killed, is not really plausible.

Furthermore David Herrod, a known conspirator, had been with Booth in the barn the night the Booth was mortally wounded and surrendered. Herrod later confessed his role in the assassination and was hanged for it. Booth also kept a diary, which was found on his person. Booth confessed his role in the assassination in the diary.

I'm not quite sure it would be fair to describe Lincoln as one of the most hated men in America. Certainly a great many people in the former Confederate states despised him as he was the chief architect of their defeat, and the Copperheads (the anti-war faction of the Northern Democrats, some of whom had Confederate sympathies) were no more fond of him, but he was also beloved by the great mass of loyal Unionists, who were the majority in the Union states, and the 4 million or so Southerners of African descent who had gained freedom in large measure because of Lincoln's policies. The former Confederate states were also not without some degree of support for the Union. Eastern Tennessee for example sent 42,000 men to fight for Union.

News of the assassination was greeted in large measure by national mourning, not rejoicing.

That was true to some extent even of former Confederates. Assassination was not viewed as being an honorable act by most men of that age. Some no doubt would have recognized the futility of it, with the largest Confederate army remaining in the field surrendering during Booth's flight...as well as the potential danger it posed. Lincoln had advocated a gentle peace, but the assassination could potentially cause Northerners to harden their hearts and want more retribution. The former Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston for example, called the assassination "a disgrace to our age." Booth complained bitterly in his diary about the lack of support he received for the deed.
 
Last edited:
Sep 2013
796
Chattanooga, TN
#19
There are two reasons why you are wrong, and the Secret service could not possibly have saved Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The United States Secret Service didn't have the job of protecting the president in 1865. It's job was to fight counterfeiting. After the assassination of McKinley in 1901 Congress gave the secret service the additional mission of protecting the President. and other top officials. One reason why the Secret service was selected instead of other agencies in 1901 for protecting the President was that the legislation to created the Secret Service was on President Lincoln's desk April 14, 1865, the night he was shot. So one reason the Secret Service could not have saved Lincoln on April 14, 1865 because it hadn't been created yet and hadn't hired any agents yet, and the other reason was the Secret service didn't have the job of Presidential protection yet.
Lincoln told his bodyguards to take the night off on the night that Lincoln was murdered. If Lincoln's bodyguards were present, they might have prevented the assassination.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,685
#20
It is a little odd about the bodyguards not being there for whatever reason. Also, Grant was originally going to accompany Lincoln to the theatre but changed his plans.
 

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