- from Lincoln
On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was a happy man. The war 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 speech that day, he talked about giving some former enslaved persons the right to vote. He was looking forward to reuniting the nation, “with malice toward none.” (Malice means “nastiness” or “evil.”) He also looked forward to the future. In four years, he would return to Illinois and relax with friends and family.
That Friday night, Lincoln had fun plans. He was going to Ford’s Theatre with his wife, Mary, and some friends. He really loved seeing a good play. But a man named John Wilkes Booth was also in the theater. During the play, he sneaked into Lincoln’s box of seats, aimed his gun, 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. No American president had ever been murdered.