- from Lincoln
On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was a happy man. The war that had made his presidency so rough had ended five days earlier, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.
The people had reelected Lincoln to a second term the November before. In March, he had taken his second oath of office. In his second inaugural address, he mentioned giving some former enslaved persons the right to vote. He was looking forward to reuniting the nation, “with malice toward none.” He had a lot to look forward to after all that, too. In four years, he would be heading home to Illinois to spend time relaxing with friends and family.
On that particular Friday, Lincoln was planning for a nice evening out. He was going to Ford’s Theatre with his wife, Mary, and some friends. He really loved seeing plays. But a man named John Wilkes Booth was also in the theater that night. During the play, he sneaked into Lincoln’s box, aimed his pistol, and fired. “The president is shot!” cried an actress from the stage. The next morning, at 7:22 a.m., Abraham Lincoln died. “Now he belongs to the ages,” said his secretary of war. Lincoln’s death was a huge shock to the country, because no American president had ever been murdered.