Lincoln's Assassination

The Event That Changed History

Key Points

  • Abraham Lincoln was the first US president to be assassinated in office
  • John Wilkes Booth was the assassin that killed Abraham Lincoln
  • Abraham Lincoln did not die on the spot he died the next morning in a hospital
  • Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while watching a play in Ford's Theatre
  • The assassination was committed on April 14, 1865


Abraham Lincoln was the first US president to be assassinated. John Wilkes Booth is the man responsible for assassinating Lincoln. He was assassinated while watching a play called Our American Cousin. Lincoln occupied a private booth, on a balcony, with his wife, Henry Rathbone, and Rathbone's fiance, Clara Harris. While watching the play around 10:15 John Wilkes Booth walked into their booth and shot Lincoln in the back of the head. Henry Rathbone dove to get a hold of Booth but Booth stabbed him in the arm before he could get him. Booth jumped down from the balcony and broke his leg from the fall, he then proceeded to yell "Sic Semper Tyrranis!" meaning "Thus ever to tyrants." Booth then escaped on horseback. A 23-year-old doctor named Charles Leale, who was also watching the play, came over to the balcony to help. They carried Lincoln over to a house across the street but it was concluded that he would not survive through the night. He died at about 7:22 the next morning.


The surrender of the Confederacy at Appomattox connects to Lincoln's assassination because the assassination of Lincoln happened 5 days after the surrender. The surrender may have led the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, to become angry and assassinate the president.

More information on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln