The Lincoln Conspiracy (book)

The Lincoln Conspiracy (book)

Infobox Book
name = The Lincoln Conspiracy
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Cover of paperback edition
author = David W. Balsiger, Charles E. Sellier
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country =
language = English
series =
subject = Abraham Lincoln
genre =
publisher = Schick Sun Classic Books
release_date = 1977
english_release_date =
media_type =
pages =
isbn = ISBN 978-0917214035
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Lincoln Conspiracy" is a book by David W. Balsiger and Charles E. Sellier, Jr. promoting certain conspiracy theories concerning the 1865 assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Major themes and arguments

Cover-up of the plan to kidnap Lincoln

The central premise of the book is that "traditional" historians have perpetuated a cover-up, originally orchestrated by Lincoln's Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and some Radical Republican allies in 1865, by over-reliance on false documentation produced by Stanton and his conspirators. According to the authors, this was done to disguise the fact that Stanton, Union spy Lafayette C. Baker, Senator Benjamin F. Wade, Senator John Conness, other congressional Radical Republicans, and a group of Northern bankers and speculators were all involved in a plot to kidnap Lincoln. Lincoln was then intended to be hidden for a time while bogus articles of impeachment were drafted to remove him as President. The primary motivations for this plot were strong opposition to Lincoln's liberal Reconstruction plans and the loss of profits due to Lincoln's restrictions on the cotton trade during the U.S. Civil War.

Kidnapping changes to assassination

The book further claims that in late 1864, Baker uncovered the plans of Lincoln's future assassin, John Wilkes Booth, to kidnap Lincoln with the help of a different group of conspirators with different motives. The Stanton group, through Baker and Conness, provided Booth with money and information on Lincoln's movements. After several abortive attempts, Booth was ordered to halt his efforts in March, 1865. Mr. Booth made no further attempts to kidnap Lincoln, but secretly resolved to murder him instead.

Booth's "incriminating" diary

Lincoln's assassination by Booth on April 14 is said to have thrown Stanton and his allies into a panic, fearing that their involvement in the kidnap plots would be exposed. A frantic search soon turned up Booth's coat, which contained a highly incriminating diary documenting meetings with several members of the Stanton group. A few days later on April 26, a Confederate double agent (James William Boyd), mistakenly indentified as Booth, was shot and killed in Virginia. Stanton, who was aware of the mistake of identity, saw to it that the autopsy records were altered to remove or obscure descriptions of the body not consistent with Booth. Booth's diary, now in Stanton's personal possession, had 18 pages of incriminating references removed. Baker quietly pursued the hunt for Booth as far as Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, where the trail went cold.

At the military trials of Booth's conspirators (who were not members of the Stanton group), held in May and June 1865, the proceedings were rushed, the government produced paid witnesses against the defendants, and even the trial records were altered. Four of Booth's co-conspirators were hanged on July 7, 1865, others received long prison sentences, but Booth himself eventually escaped to England. However, Booth's whereabouts after that are uncertain.

Cold reception by historians

Unsurprisingly, "The Lincoln Conspiracy" was greeted with hostility and derision from academic historians. Many objections were raised against the book's sensational theories and the authors' use (and misuse) of source materials.

"The Lincoln Conspiracy" was the basis of the 1977 film of the same name.

ee also

* Abraham Lincoln assassination
* John Wilkes Booth
* Conspiracy theory
* "The Lincoln Conspiracy" (film based on the book)
* "" (2007 film with similar plot)
* Edwin M. Stanton

External links

* [http://www.etext.org/Politics/LaRouche/lincoln-conspiracy An etext summary of "The Lincoln Conspiracy"]


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