President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln, assassinated on April 14, 1865

Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin, may not have died in Garrett's barn, contrary to what the War Department claimed.

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton

Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Some researchers believe he was involved in the assassination plot.

Lafayette Baker, one of Stanton's leading henchmen

Lafayette Baker, one of Stanton's most vicious henchmen. Shortly before he died, Baker claimed that Stanton and other Radicals were behind Lincoln's murder.



Michael T. Griffith

The U.S. War Department claimed that President Lincoln was killed by a Confederate conspiracy. However, there is evidence that he was killed by a Radical Republican conspiracy and that the Radicals blamed the murder on Confederate leaders to deflect attention away from themselves.

War Department officials and some U.S. Army officers claimed that John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln on orders from the Confederate government. These officials further claimed that the alleged Confederate conspiracy also targeted Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward (Johnson’s assassin allegedly lost his nerve and did not attack him, while Seward’s assassin wounded him but failed to kill him).

But why would any Confederate or Southern sympathizer have wanted to assassinate Lincoln when Lincoln was offering lenient, merciful terms for the Southern states to rejoin the Union? Why would any Confederate or Southern sympathizer have wanted to kill not only Lincoln but also Johnson and Seward, when removing those men would have made it much easier for the Radical Republicans to impose harsh, vengeful reunification terms on the South?

None other than Vice President Johnson, who became president after Lincoln’s death, indicated that he suspected that Radical Republicans had conspired to kill Lincoln. Representative George Julian, a leading Radical Republican in Congress, wrote in his diary shortly after the assassination that “the universal feeling among radical men” was that Lincoln’s death was a “godsend” (Julian repeated this statement in his memoir). Another Radical in Congress, Senator Benjamin Wade, declared two days after Lincoln's death that with Lincoln gone, "there will be no trouble now in running the government!" Less than eight hours after Lincoln died, a group of Radicals, including Wade, held a meeting and declared their intent to "get rid of the last vestige of Lincolnism."

Nearly all books on the Lincoln assassination accept the War Department's claim that Booth was shot and killed in Garrett's barn on April 26, 1865, but there is evidence that Booth was not the man in the barn and that he escaped.

Mary Surratt, falsely accused of conspiring to murder Lincoln and sentenced to death by Stanton's illegal military tribunal

Joseph Holt, a ruthless and unethical Radical who served as the prosecutor for the illegal military tribunal that tried the accused conspirators

Dr. Samuel Mudd, falsely accused of conspiring to murder Lincoln and sentenced to life in prison by Stanton's illegal military tribunal

President Andrew Johnson. The Radicals tried to remove him from office for following Lincoln's Reconstruction program and for firing Stanton.