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John Wilkes Booth - "God is My Judge"

John Wilkes Booth -

John Wilkes Booth took it upon himself to kill Abraham Lincoln soon after General Lee surrendered.  He had earlier planned to kidnap the President.

Did Booth view his own actions as foolish or heroic? 

He left behind at least seventy written documents which provide some clue into his thinking at the time.  Here's an excerpt from one of his writings (split into paragraphs for easier reading):

I know how foolish I shall be deemed for undertaking such a step as this, where on the one side I have many friends and every thing to make me happy, where my profession alone has gained me an income of more than twenty thousand dollars a year [equating to around $320,000 in 2016], and where my great personal ambition in my profession has been a great field for labor. 

On the other hand, the South have never bestowed upon me one kind word; a place now where I have no friends, except beneath the sod; a place where I must either become a private soldier or a beggar.  To give up all of the former for the latter, besides my mother and sisters whom I love so dearly (although they so widely differ with me in opinion), seems insane; but God is my judge.  (Right Or Wrong, God Judge Me: The Writings of John Wilkes Booth, by John Wilkes Booth, ed. by John Rhodehamel and Louise Taper, page 148 of the paperback edition.)

Click on the image for a greatly expanded view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Jun 26, 2019


Media Credits

Image of John Wilkes Booth, online courtesy U.S. National Archives (Identifier 518136).

PD

 

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