- The Lincoln Conspiracy (book)
name = The Lincoln Conspiracy
image_caption = Cover of paperback edition
author = David W. Balsiger, Charles E. Sellier
language = English
publisher = Schick Sun Classic Books
release_date = 1977
isbn = ISBN 978-0917214035
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. Stantonand 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 kidnapLincoln. Lincoln was then intended to be hidden for a time while bogus articles of impeachmentwere 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
diarydocumenting 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 autopsyrecords 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.
Abraham Lincoln assassination
John Wilkes Booth
* "The Lincoln Conspiracy" (film based on the book)
* "" (2007 film with similar plot)
Edwin M. Stanton
* [http://www.etext.org/Politics/LaRouche/lincoln-conspiracy An etext summary of "The Lincoln Conspiracy"]
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