Discussion in 'World History' started by JohnRM, Oct 4, 2009.
NOTE: Red type are my comments.
I am sick of this crap being passed around as fact.
I agree completely with the idea of debunking this particular urban legend. Quite frankly there's more differences than the superficial similarities. I'd also add a comment of my own:
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their
Booth wasn't "assasinated" he was corned in a barn from which he refused to come out and surrender preferring to fight it out. The soldiers set fire to the barn and one of their number (Boston Corbett) shot Booth who died a few hours later. Given that he was armed the circumstances of his death strike me as closer to something like "shot whilst resisting arrest" and not at all like how Oswald died.
Lincoln was vehemently opposed to slavery long before he ran for president. Giving birth to a stillborn would count as losing a child. Maryland is considered a southern state. "Southern" and "Confederate" are not synonymous.
That being said, you are correct that this myth is a bit silly.
According to the commanding officer on the scene Corbett shot Booth on his own accord and he was arrested for it but the charges were dropped. Corbett later said that "providence" told him to kill Booth.
Maybe assassination isn't the right word but I don't think it's a stretch to say both assassins were murdered before being brought to trial.
He may have been opposed to slavery, but he did not engage in any political movements to abolish it until the Emancipation Proclamation, which only freed slaves in those states that joined the Confederacy, or were not currently occupied by the Union.
The still-born child was born in 1956, prior to Kennedy entering the White House. The had said that the child was lost when Kennedy was President. This is not the case.
Maryland is considered by some to be a southern state. I, among many others, do not see it as such.
Regardless, Booth was not a southerner. He may have had sympathies for the Southern cause, but he lived most of his life in Maryland and was raised by English parents. He did not have access to nor did he absorb what is commonly referred to as "Southern Culture". He was a city boy.
He was a founding member of the Republican Party, which was established to end the growth of slavery and let it die in the long run.
Is New Orleans not southern because it's urban? There is a such thing as a loose Southern culture, yes, and there's no reason to exclude Booth from it. Maryland is below the Mason-Dixon Line, it was considered a southern state in the day.
What you do not mention is that Corbett also maintained that he thought that Booth was about to attempt an escape and in the attempt fire upon the surrounding soldiers. Either way Booth was armed, resisting arrest and still reasonably capable of injuring those who were trying to capture him. If Corbett only thought Booth was about to open fire that would still be grounds to shoot him.
If Booth had been captured, disarmed and then Corbett had shot him in cold blood that would be murder and akin to what happened to Oswald. If the surrounding soldiers had given Booth no chance to surrender, snuck up on him and then shot him that would be murder. The worst Corbett did was disobey orders.
That's what Corbett later said when he was faced with a court martial. However his commanding officer said that Corbett fired without provocation or reason which leads to believe that Corbett's excuse is very questionable. Then there is the fact that Corbett also claimed that God commanded him to shoot. Before and after the war Corbett was known for erratic behavior. He threatened people at gunpoint several times after the war and was confined to a mental institution. So it's not like Corbett was a stable or rational individual.
If all Booth was doing was walking around in the barn then what pretext did Corbett have for shooting him? Did he point his weapon? Corbett can't see the future. He doesn't have Jedi powers. Perhaps it was a valid excuse for soldiers in the aftermath of a violent civil war. (apparently Lt. Col. Conger didn't think so) but today no such excuse would legally absolve a policeman for killing a suspect especially with talk about God and voices telling him to shoot and especially if the excuse appears to be made up.
Not according to Swanson's Manhunt which states that he offered the reason when questioned shortly before Booth died. He also stated that he didn't want to actually kill Booth, he merely wanted to disable him for capture.
It could be seen as that, or alternatively it could be seen as his commanding officer trying to save himself from the blame for not capturing Booth alive. His commanding officer should have kept Corbett away from the barn if he was truly concerned about him, by allowing such a man to be involved he plays a part in why Booth died that day. Again I've only read Swanson's work but it mentions that the 16th were not given any orders about whether to hold their fire or not. If anything the C/O is to blame, not Corbett.
Well lets see Booth:
1) Refused to exit the barn despite numerous requests to do so and it being set on fire
2) Offered to fight it out with the soldiers surrounding him
3) Retained his arms until the point at which Corbett shot him
4) Had moved towards the barn doors and was aiming his pistol at one of the soldiers outside the barn
Points 1 and 2 aren't really in contention since more than Corbett was witness to those. Point 3 is confirmed by Baker having to prise Booth's pistol from his hand when he entered the barn. Point 4 largely relies on Corbett although he also claimed another soldier said that he thought that Booth was aiming at him. Its hard to tell if this is true or not since the issue was never investigated.
All things taken into consideration I don't think it would be unreasonable to assume that Booth had no intention of surrendering, and if he appeared to be preparing to fight I don't see shooting him as murder. If you threaten someone and act like you are going to carry that threat out its hardly suprising if they act to defend themselves is it?
Either way Stanton was satisfied that Corbett's actions did not warrant censure. It seems unlikely that he would do this if he thought that Corbett had acted incorrectly. It was Stanton after all who was desperately trying to prove a link between Booth and Davis and wanted the former alive for questioning.
John, I appreciate your desire to clear up the myth, but next time you can save yourself a lot of time by forwarding this link to snopes, covers it pretty well.
"While in his late teens, Robert Todd, Abraham Lincoln's son, was returning home from Harvard University when he lost his balance and fell between two railway cars. A fellow passenger reacted quickly, pulling him from certain death. The helping hand was that of Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes, the man who would soon assassinate the young man's father!"
I've always wondered if there is any truth to this story. Does anyone know?
You've heard of google or the wikipedia? Found this in 30 seconds.
Robert Todd Lincoln/Edwin Booth
You people are propably right.
But you are also really, really boring
Separate names with a comma.