Lincoln Assassination

An Eventful Four Days In American History–April 12-15

Every day in the calendar year one can find historical events of great significance, but in many ways, the days from April 12 to 15 are particularly outstanding for turning point moments in American history.

April 12 is the day the Civil War began at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina in 1861.

April 12 is also the day of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union, to go into space in 1961, followed by American astronaut Alan Shepard on May 5 to go into space.

Sadly, April 12 is also the day of the death of the greatest President of the 20th century, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945.

April 13 marks the birthday of one of our greatest Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, in 1743.

April 14 is another sad day, marking the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, our greatest President, shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, and dying the morning of April 15, 1865, at 7:22 AM, at the Peterson House across the street.

Also, on April 15, 1947, the nation witnessed the racial integration of baseball with the courage and skills of second baseman Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Any four day period that includes the birthday of a President, the death of our two greatest Presidents, the beginning of the most significant event in American history (the Civil War), the ushering in of the Space Age for the United States, and the integration of major league baseball, is simply an amazing four days!

Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, And History: Fact Vs Fiction! Addendum Correction And Apology!

Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck are well known political commentators, and both have millions of fans and followers of their television and radio programs.

Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck have the right to say whatever they wish on their programs, and they have the right to write and publish whatever books they wish to produce!

Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, however, are not historians who work at producing accurate, valid historical works, and one has to realize that they are more outstanding in producing historical fiction than fact, when they make references to the past via speech or by publication.

So the fact that O’Reilly has published a book on the Lincoln assassination, which the Fords Theatre bookstore in Washington, DC will not sell because of alleged incorrect or unsubstantiated information without documentation, and this decision is backed up by expert historians on the Civil War period, has become the center of controversy.

O’Reilly is, of course, furious, and he has a right to be, as any author can feel, but the historical profession needs to legitimize what is called “history”, and to challenge publications that claim to be “history”, but are in fact historical fiction!

Certainly, there is much interpretation that goes on in the historical community of scholars, but there is a responsibility when there appears to be a lack of accuracy and validity on a book and topic that many will read and believe is totally true, when experts make it clear it is NOT accurate, or backed up by appropriate documentation!

So it means a serious student of history should have a doubting view of anything that Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck (author of a supposed authoritative view of George Washington), or any other political propagandist chooses to publish!

Anyone can write and publish what he or she wishes, but we have the right to make a judgment on its validity and to state so, whether that author likes it or not!

ADDENDUM: It has now been reported that there were only four minor errors in O’Reilly’s book, and they have been corrected, and Fords Theatre has NOT removed his book from their store as reported incorrectly in the media. O’Reilly is owed an apology, and I will also apologize. However, any reader should always be alert to any book published, whether by O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, or anyone else, as to whether it is accurate in its factual basis and documentation!

The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln 1865: Still Affecting America Today!

On this day, at around the hour I am writing this, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, by actor John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer, who wished to reverse the Union victory accomplished five days earlier by the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Lincoln looks better all of the time, and we are now commemorating the sequicentennial of the Civil War, which lasted officially from April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865, and killed two percent of the population, approximately 620,000 men!

The sectionalism that helped to cause the Civil War still exists, and much of the South is celebrating the Civil War anniversary, rather than just commemorating it!

American history would have been quite different if Lincoln had lived, and it is still the greatest human tragedy of the nation’s history, as far as any individual’s role in history is concerned.

Much is published regularly about Lincoln, but the mountain of material never stops, and a lot of attention will be given to it over the next four years because of it being 150 years ago, a notable anniversary!

A movie well worth seeing, opening tomorrow, is THE CONSPIRATOR, which portrays the assassination of Lincoln, and the supposed complicity of Mary Surratt, who ran the rooming house where the Lincoln conspiracy was discussed by the group involved in the plot, including her son, John Surratt, who escaped punishment for his complicity in the event, but had his mother become the first woman executed in American history, due to a military tribunal illegally condemning four of the conspirators to death, rather than having trial by a civilian jury!

The movie informs us of the unconstitutional actions taken by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, who was in such a hurry to eliminate the conspirators that he broke the Bill of Rights, a troubling followup to the tragedy of the Civil War!

It is a warning that even in crisis, we must not forget the Constitution and Bill of Rights, too often ignored in the name of national security!