Impact on a Nation
With the relatively new technology of the telegraph, news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination spread quickly across the United States and beyond. Many grieved, but others celebrated the death of a man they considered a tyrant.
Reactions to Lincoln’s assassination varied and did so in ways that might surprise us. Use this page to investigate how people around the United States and world reacted. What do their feelings about Lincoln’s assassination tell us about how they saw the larger questions facing the United States as its Civil War drew to a close?
Conduct Your Own Investigation
As you look at each account, consider:
- How does this response reflect other responses—or not?
- Who gave the response? What might the person’s reasons be for saying what they did?
- When did this person talk about their response? Was it soon after the event? Much later?
- How might that affect what they said?
Reactions to Lincoln’s Assassination
How did people around the United States and around the world respond to the assassination? What do their responses tell us about how people were feeling—about how the country would and should come back together in April 1865?
The International Response
What happened when John Wilkes Both stepping into Ford's Theatre?
On the morning of April 14, 1865 (Good Friday), actor John Wilkes Booth learned President Abraham Lincoln would attend a performance of the comedy Our American Cousin that night at Ford’s Theatre—a theatre Booth frequently performed at. He realized his moment had arrived.
Teaching Lincoln’s Assassination and Legacy
Are you looking to teach the Lincoln Assassination?
We offer ready-to-use history lesson plans focused on how to teach President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the Civil War.
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