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A Bullet Through America’s Heart: Lincoln’s Assassination, April 14, 1865
Today, on April 14, 1865, (Good Friday of that year), Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC by the crazed Confederate sympathizer and traitor John Wilkes Booth. It was a tragedy that permanently altered history and deeply harmed America, as there could hardly have been a worse replacement for the unifying, wise, charitable, and pro-civil rights Lincoln than his racist, divisive, and irascible VP, Andrew Johnson.
It is significant that Lincoln’s murderer, Booth, shot Lincoln after hearing Lincoln express his support for full civil rights for black Americans in a speech.
“[Indiana State Museum] Lincoln’s support for Black rights proved fatal
Soon after the war ended, Lincoln gave a speech that argued for Black men and veterans to have the right to vote. John Wilkes Booth was in the audience. Enraged that Lincoln supported Black citizenship, Booth vowed, ‘That is the last speech he will ever make.’ Booth shot Lincoln three days later.”
As Jesus Christ was crucified on Good Friday because of sin, Abraham Lincoln was murdered on Good Friday 1865 because of the sins of slavery and racism. Was Lincoln a saint or savior? No. When he died, the man who called former slave Frederick Douglass his “friend” and who was willing to pay the ultimate price for supporting civil rights was a long way from the man who had struggled all his life to overcome racism and other faults.
And yet, there were those who definitely saw in him God’s chosen instrument. When Lincoln arrived at the recently captured Confederate capital of Richmond mere days before his assassination for a visit, newly freed slaves fell to their knees or greeted him as “the great messiah!” In his own imperfect way, Lincoln had saved millions of men, women, and children. To us, it might seem exaggerative to call Lincoln a “messiah.” But to the former slaves in Richmond, who had spent their whole lives caught in a hopeless position of enforced servitude, prejudice, and abuse, the “Great Emancipator” seemed like a messenger straight from God.
When John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, he sent a bullet straight through the heart of America. America did not die, but the wound has never been healed, merely concealed or denied. To this day, we live in a country created not by those who won the Civil War, but by those who lost the Civil War (the radical Democrats). But we have a choice now. Will we allow Booth to have the final triumph? Or will we take up the task for which Lincoln was willing to die, the unity and liberty of America, and vow, as Lincoln famously put it, that “this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”