tv Discussion on President Lincolns Assassination and Hidden History CSPAN May 3, 2015 12:51pm-2:09pm EDT
coalition.org -- lincoln funeral coalition.org. for the build process updates, visit abraham lindenhurst.com. -- abraham lincoln hearse.com. and the conundrum report, which i would be glad to take question and answers on that, will be available in the near future. with this, we conclude our brief talk about the build of the abraham lincoln hearse and i appreciate your attention. thank you. [applause] p.j.: i think the questions if you write them down and pass them to the end or the center aisle or what have you, they will bring them to me. make sure you write big. [laughter]
p.j.: first question i have is -- what is the most memorable thing about the building of the abraham lincoln hearse? what i learned and our family learned was that it's not about the hearse. it is about those building the hearse and it is about the veterans to whom were building the hearse for and that is abraham lincoln. is this your writing paris? [laughter] [indiscernible] p.j.: ok. i guess i can read it.
i don't know what that one word means though. [indiscernible] p.j.: what does that say? how has this impacted our life? i'm sorry. does a big word -- impact. -- that is a big word -- impact. one of them the things that has come out of this is that i have begin to heal. i am not a veteran, but you slowly begin to heal wounds that have surfaced over many years of working with that. -- death. it is different from ptsd. he call it cumulative stress syndrome. and with that comes the burden of trying to take people's grief
away. and we can't do that. we can only walk through it with the and that is what we try to to everyday -- with you and that is what we try to do every day. how did you get so lucky to find such great talent and all the veterans? this is a good story. it did not start out to be a veterans project. but that is the way god wanted it to end up. and as it went along, i called her friend, jack feather not because he was a veteran, but because he knew how to do good work. he was a good finisher in good builder -- and good builder. he said, p.j., i need to find an old-school craftsman because this first is would and i work with metal. i know i can do it, but i think
would be better to come from an old-school mill. he calls me up saying, you won't believe it. i said, what is that, jack? he said, i found a guy in northern california -- an amazing crosswind. error: that -- an amazing craftsman. eric holland that. -- hollenbeck. he said, guess what? he is a vietnam veteran. it starts to cook a little bit. -- clicked a little bit. we find a chassis builder and we have chassis builders who wanted to do the work. i do not know if any of them were veterans, but when we ended up with jay jones, my brother mark and lori, one of our administrators -- my brother and market is in this all the way. he said make it pretty and bring
it back and you do the works. [laughter] p.j.: so they picked somebody just clear out of the internet website and the first one that popped up was custom wagons in tennessee -- excuse me kentucky. went through this in areas and said that i would get the blueprints and i can build it exactly as long as you feed the blueprints to me. before the end of the conversation, i asked, are you veteran -- a veteran? he goes, sir, i will tell you who i am. right then, i knew something was up. he said, i did to -- breach was in vietnam. i cannot -- three tours in vietnam. i cannot describe what i did, where i did it, how i did it, but i served our country honorably. so he did the chassis.
what happens to the hearse after may 3? it is my understanding that after i talked to james cornelius of the presidential library museum that they would love to have the hearse in april and may of each year thereafter on standing display inside the museum. that is an honor beyond anything to have a combat built, veterans build hearse that represents our 16th president. and oh by the way, there only one icon of freedom that you can look at of any picture of any magnitude in the history as far as i'm concerned in my opinion, but you can see life, death, and a bullet for freedom is in that
hearse. the memory that our city carries with it. beyond that, it will be available for static display at the presidential museum. there may be other exhibits within the state. we have had calls that people want to have it on display at the speaker's podium and different venues in the state and neighboring states. we are not sure how we are going to transport it yet. but it will be in the custodial care of our family. we felt it needed to be a privately held piece of history so that we know how and where it is going to be. one of you other things that my brother mark and i have discussed was -- and my sister,
sue,, my son paul, we are a big family. they are not all here, thanks goodness, because there would be no more seats. one of the things that we contemplated was -- what if someone wants to use this for their funeral to go from downtown springfield to go to oak ridge or in the area of perhaps other states or other nations? we are going to be prepared to offer that for those that would like to use it. and the beneficiary of that would be the veterans. not staab. if the fee schedule comes out, it goes to the blue ox school for veterans. it goes to oak ridge cemetery foundation, perhaps the foundation here. we have not made all those decisions yet. in the light of what we see in the paper, this is a little different twist.
we may even start the abraham lincoln funeral fund. that would allow indigents and our veterans to be cared for properly irregardless if the state has money and not. where will the hearse be used after the ceremony? i think it is a similar question. i think i answered that pretty well. i'm to publish your research of the hearse and take steps to the public and hearse -- lincoln hearse? i think i said that right. does that sound right? we would like to publish our
findings of the cut. i will explain that in a moment. the booklet, ultimately, i believe we are in the second edition. is that correct? ok, we are in the second edition of the bill. the third edition will be coming out shortly, probably in the next week or so. perhaps the fourth edition, and then the last addition -- it is not the last addition, it is the forever addition. it will be published in hardback. we do not know where we'll be sold from, but the beneficiaries will be veterans and veterans's needs like i had previously mentioned youoned. how much is the entire project i guess is the question there. back in 1857, when the hearse
was built not for lincoln, but we will leave for leaders of the country, it was used 3 other times for presence before lincoln. we do not need to get into that now. one was the first general to die in the civil war from st. louis, missouri. the other was the interim government from missouri. the other was a u.s. senator from washington, d.c.. he died there and came back to st. louis, missouri. then, abraham lincoln, and it was retired after that. that hearse, back then, i will leave it up to your imagination, it reportedly cost $6,000 to be built in the hundreds. if i could say it is priceless that is about as close as i can
get because it is still being unfolded as we are here tonight. the team is still at work. my phone is probably ringing off the hook, but i have it on silent so it doesn't bother anyone. we have more questions here. can everyone hear me ok? no one is falling asleep? do you have the time and place the arrival of the hearse in springfield, will there be an arrival ceremony? the time and place will be april 29 at a private dedication unveiling at the lrs hanker at 6:00 p.m. now, jessica is not here correct? ok. jessica is one of our girls. i think it would be appropriate that we invite everyone here today to that dedication.
we would love to have you. you have set here and listen to me for nearly one hour now. we would love to have you at the dedication, but it is close to the public because we cannot amass the large building that we would have otherwise. corey and lori are back here in the corner. as you leave today, and you would be interested in rsvping, you would be all invited. ok? that is april 29, 6:00. what will happen to the hearse after may 2 and three? we touched on that already. will the re-creation look exactly like the photograph? how is are the plumes made on the top? to the best of our ability, it will do just that the picture.
there are some things that are not very clear on the picture. it looks clear until you start looking at every screw head and everything that happens to put this together. it is old-school built. you will see square screw heads. screw nuts, as you see the nuts and bolts on this. it will look to the untrained eye, exactly like what you see on the picture board. however the plumes made? do you care if i answer that after we build them? [laughter] there is an old-school fabric and upholstery guy in tombstone that knows exactly how to build them. we are crafting the plume framework up here in the garage
if you want to stop by and look at them. i will try to get them out of your quick, but it is really ingenious how they are done. it is engineered to the point that the wind can blow and everything can blow, it can rain, hail, and snow, and the plumes will be perfect. having said that that is about the extent. i don't want to get far secrets away. again, it will be old-school. how was the hearse transported from st. louis to springfield? that is a great question. logistically, it was next to impossible. number two, mrs. lincoln wanted to retrace the steps as he went from springfield to washington, d.c. and s
st. louis was not the stop. president lincoln was very fond of st. louis, but that was not what to lease. there were no bridges. if it came that way, it would have to transfer across on a fairy. -- ferry. it was placed on a train and a train car, brought to springfield, right over here. it was offloaded, and we believe it was offloaded in the early afternoon hours on may 3. thus, that is one of the things we determine in our conundrum report. at one time, there was a fundraising program to bring the veterans to springfield. the reenactment we weekend.
how is that progressing? it is progressing very well. there are people who have donated from all the country to bring these veterans here. that validates the return to civilian life. it is very important that when they come to town, that we appreciate their efforts, and their loving care. they are human beings who have been cut out -- shutout of civilian life when the return. it doesn't work. we cannot untrained what they have been trained to do or on view what they have seen in the field of battle. this goes back all the way to the revolutionary war. this is nothing new. i'm not sure how we can do things any different, but we still do not understand how to help these men and women return from the battlefield to civilian life. the programming is coming good.
all 26 veterans and their guests will be in springfield for the dedication. they will be in springfield through the weekend. a couple of them have to leave early to go back to their home. the stories that i could share with you that they have told me are breathtaking stories of how this hearse brought cody from his home, living in his home for 10 years, never leaving his home for 10 years after returning from the battlefields of iraq. 10 years the man stayed in his home. until he heard a way out, and that way out was lincoln's hearse. [applause]
how does the hearse come to be burned? after it was used in 18 65 for president lincoln, a return to st. louis, and was then retired and placed on -- i believe it was the second floor of the libertiy. lynch was the funeral side of the company and lynch was one of the funeral directors who came along to help with the preservation here for lincoln's body. when it returned back, it was retired and placed up in the stables and as you know, the
bucket brigades at that time were not able to extinguish fires. the ravish fire went out of control. imprint the entire -- it r burnt its the entire stable. and the abraham lincoln he arse, except for two silver medallions. we recovered one of them in the mercantile library in st. louis. the director of the museum library indicated that he had a funeral ornament from lincoln's funeral. he brought it out. he and hunt was with me, the historian for the foundation here at the abraham lincoln presidential library foundation.
and he said, you won't believe it. he said, this is an item that has been taken from the hearse probably given to the mayor or some local authority there in the st. louis area, and ultimately ended up in the museum. out of the woodwork, they did some searching, and found the second one. it was also removed prior to the fire. these were keepsakes, if you will, off the sides of the hearse. that is how that came about. how the fire started ? i don't know. even the train, it burned up in minnesota from some unknown -- well i think they know but i am not privy to that, i do not know the details. it also burned in a fire. it is being re-created as well by a company in northern
illinois, elgin, illinois. does that answer everything? well, it has been my pleasure to be here. i don't know if there's anything we need to clean up. i will bring out some of the veterans' cards for those who want to learn more about them. i will place them. in front for those who have interest in taking them. god bless all of you and have a nice evening. [applause]
>> you are watching american history tv, all we can, every week and on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> up next on american history tv, david reynolds, the author of "lincoln's selected writings." president lincoln died 150 years ago this spring on april 15 1865. this event was posted by the city university of new york. it is about one hour and a half. >> tomorrow, to honor the hundred 50's anniversary of his death, he was shot tonight and buried the next morning president obama will proclaim a
day of remembrance. for now, i want to take us back in time to that fateful night of april 14, 1865. i will first summarize what happened, and then i will discuss the cultural background of both lincoln and his murderer, john wilkes booth. about this time in the evening 150 years ago, abraham lincoln and his wife mary todd lincoln were preparing to go see the noted actress, laura kingeene in a play at ford's theater. it was well known that we can, a regular play goer would be at the play that evening because the story was in the headlines. washington was still in celebration of the surrender of robert e lee to grant at appomattox five days earlier.
april 14 was off also the five-year anniversary of the start of civil the civil war. despite all the joy and excitement, lincoln had second thoughts about going out that night. not that he had any scruples about it being good friday, he did not share the strict christian problems that christians had of going to the theater on a holy day. however, he had a disturbing dream the night before. his bodyguard had left town warning him to not go out in public, due to the highly charged atmosphere. with disgruntled enemies s shirley lurking about. als -- sureley lurking about.
he also had a hard time finding who to go with. mrs. lincoln had a hard time getting along with people though i think she is unfairly treated. anyway, lincoln's imitation was politely declaim. -- decline. lincoln invited harris, a family friend, and she brought along her fiance. by the way -- this is the actual clothing that was worn that evening. the code. pretty -- -- coat, pretty typical outfit. except for the size 14 boots. fairly typical evening coat for a man. the party arrived at ford's theater.
that is the one with the circular romanesque engines. this is a re-creation in recent times. the party arrived at ford's theater around 8:00. the play had the going on for 20 minutes. after the president entered the theater, the lead actor spotted him and add -libbed. as lincoln and his party entered the presidential box above stage right, you can see it there with the flag draped around it, above the stage to the right. the band played "held to the chief," the president bowed to the crowd low. the president settled into the rocking chair while his wife sat
t beside him. suddenly, a thin dark-haired man, his eyes glaring, was seen on the railing of the president's box. the man leapt 12 feet down to the stage. you can see where he is now on the stage. they leap was partially broken when his heel that caught in the fly below the box. he walks across the stage and exited stage left. some say that he yelled to the crowd, actually later he said that he did yellen, "thus always a tyrant."
there was silence in the theater, punctuated by mrs. lincoln's cries "murder murder, my husband's blood." he was not l bleeding fo a few slick, it had clotted and when the doctor arrived, he had to remove the quad. -- clot. most of the blood was from the majors's arm. his artery was slashed. the theater became sheer mayhem. some in the audience tumbled forward towards the stage, some got on the stage. several, including two doctors and the actress laura keene went directly to the presidents box. the president never regain
consciousness. he was carried across the street to a house. there is a lot of activity going on tonight in the peterson house. the president was laid out on his bed. john wilkes booth had been lying there about two weeks before with one of his conspirators. anyway, the irony of history. lincoln had to be arranged diagonally because the bed was small and he was 64. on my, he was attended by physicians. the room was visited by some 90 people over the course of the night. cabinet members, politicians, and ordinary citizens. finally, his heart stopped altogether at 7:22 in the morning on april 15. here is kind of a portrait of the deathbed, a rather beautiful
portrait. quite painful as well. during the agonizing night doctors probed his wound with the long can stream it there on the bottom right. they felt a bullet that had gone through the brain and laodged behind the right eye. in the autopsy, lincoln's brain was removed and the bullet, to the right of the gun, was found along with some school fragments. i don't know if you can see them, oh yeah, they are there. later, the murder weapon was found. it was the single shot derringer pistol. news of the event spread. think of 9/11, there was a mixture of paranoia, confusion anger.
witnesses yelled "hank aaron, hang him." secretary of state was reportedly killed. many of the facts came to light. lincoln's assassin, it was mine, was the famous actor john will those -- john wilkes booth. he was a stage star, and considered very handsome, the brad pitt or rob lowe of his time. doubtless that he would be held as "people" magazine's sexiest man of the year. he was very athletic with a well toned body and often left the stage as he did in the shooting. if he hadn't caught his foot in
this flag -- as it was, he broke his small tibia when he fell. he had made as much as $20,000 per year as an actor, which was quite a lot of money in those days. he had been born and raised in thise slave state of maryland and his of these were for the confederacy. one year before the murder, he had stopped touring as an actor and had committed himself to plotting against lincoln. his original plan was to kidnap lincoln, taken to the south, and hold him for hostage in exchange for confederate prisoners. by 1865, it was clear that the confederacy was in dire straits. booth, increasingly vindictive, gathered fellow conspirators to
join him. these are just some of them. booth is on the left, of course and these are the other conspirators. booth cap track of lincoln and attended some of the major events. he was there outside the capital on march 4 when lincoln delivered his second inaugural address. it is hard to see come about on the right-hand picture, he is way up there in the corner, circled in red. several other conspirators are just below lincoln. you can barely even see lincoln here. not a particularly clear photograph. in a way, lincoln was surrounded then, this was march 4, before the assassination. in the pushing and shoving booth once got close enough to lincoln. he later said that he had an
excellent chance to kill him then. he was a little sorry he couldn't do it then. he also showed up at the april 11 talk, we do not have a picture of that, that lincoln gave after the surrender of lee from the white house where he called for african-americans suffered, which was the first time that an american president had ever done that in public. booth was actually there, quite close to him. he muttered to a fellow conspirator, that means african american citizenship, i will put the sky through. the plot became that booth would target lincoln, george, one of his conspirators, would kill
vice president johnson. another conspirator, known as pain, would kill secretary of state seward. the idea was to throw the northern government into chaos and create such mayhem in the north. somehow, booth thought that he could preserve the confederacy even though at the time -- well there were still some battles going on, but he had in his brain that somehow he could save it. the only one that succeeded in the plot was booth himself because lewis powell went to sewardd's house -- he talked his way and by saying that he was delivering medicine. he kind of for his way
upstairs and started stabbing seward. seward had a metal brace on his neck and that effective blows. he was pretty badly stabbed and cut up. somebody interfered. everyone was screaming. powell rushed downstairs and on his way out stabbed seward's son. he expected someone to be waiting for him with his horse, but that person left. meanwhile, george went into the hotel where vice president johnson was. he was going to kill him but chickened out. he went to have a drink. he basically chickened out. he got hanged for it anyway. anyway harold who had left
powell -- harold went southward with booze and they escaped all the way over to virginia, it took about 12 days. they were trapped in the barn of the garrett farm. the farm of richard garrett sort of like a tobacco shed. harold actually gave himself up. booth wanted to fight his way out. he wanted to fight his way out and maybe become a martyr. he was shot through the neck. he died a few hours later. the guy who shot him was kind of trigger happy, his name was corbett. he became very famous for having
killed the assassin of abraham again. meanwhile -- these were the four that were hanged. that is mrs. the sarat, that is harold. mrs. arsarat ran a boarding house. to this day, it is rather dubious as to how guilty she was. she was the first woman hanged in american history. the rest of them were deeply involved in the plot. meanwhile, the nation was morning the death of abraham lincoln. walter whitman was in his home. he was in washington, but went home to brooklyn. when he heard the news, he was
totally silent. he couldn't talk, his mother couldn't talk, nobody could talk. he sat down and wrote this amazing poem. it became his most popular palm. i will just read maybe the first and last verse. i have a copy of it right here. all caps in, my captain, are fearful trip is done. the ship has weathered every red, the prize we sought is one. the port is near, the bells i hear, the people all exalting. oh hard, hard, hard -- heart, heart, heart my captain is dead. my captain does not answer. my captain does not feel my
arm, he has no polls, no will. the ship is anchored safe and sound. thank the help, -- exalt, o shores. it became his most popular poem memorized by many people. he had to read it so often along with his lecture, the death of abraham lincoln, that he became sick of the poem. he said, "damn my captain." it is like some of the old beatles tunes on my ipod, enough enough, i have heard them too much. it is a wonderful poem. he wrote another one which was maybe even more beautiful, and
certainly more characteristic. this is a moving poem, i think. the lincoln funeral train, there was a huge funeral. mrs. lincoln didn't really want to come. she was totally devastated. they had lost willie, a son earlier, and then she lost her husband. the whole nation mourned. there was a train after the washington ceremony that went nearly 1700 miles of north, very slowly, stopping in many places, with kind of a half opened coffin, the body had been embalmed. it looks less and less like lincoln as it reached chicago. it ended up in springfield where he had lived, and he is buried there. it was quite a profession. walt whitman talked about this
incredible possession of the train and all the people by the railroad tracks, most of them wearing black, and crowding to see the coffin. that is an incredible poem to o. i want to talk a little bit more about the cultural background but first, i want to injuries my book. i want to back into booth and lincoln the am i book which just came out -- via the book, which just came out on norton. what i tried to do in this book was a little different. i brought together three -- you will see the three bodies of texts. what is his writing -- one is his writing.
his speeches, letters, he even wrote poems, little jottings and so forth. i try to select them. there is a section called "lincoln and his era." this is writings from his times. songs, essays, sermons speeches, newspaper articles. then, there is a section called "modern views," and i take samples from the whole last century going through james and fears mcpherson, and a whole bunch of other people. i tried to bring those three bodies of texts together to and away create a one-stop lincoln. that is for sale, if anyone is interested. my nice norton people are here, including my editor. it has been a lot of fun to do
this. what is nice about the norton edition is available you to put footnotes at the bottom of the page, which not all books do. not that i like to over footnote either, by like to have a enough -- a lot of strange names , along the way, i like to introduce them. some of the other people in that -- beecher stoke, frederick douglass. i like try to sample a lot of different views of him to give you a sense of his culture. i wanted to take the opportunity to redo the first paragraph from the book -- read you the first paragraph from the book.
i don't think you can probably read that. i will just -- of all great national heroes, lincoln is the only giant. the statement by leo tolstoy is hard to dispute. abraham lincoln is generally recognized as america's greatest president and a central historical figure. i think the reason tolstoy said this and the reason we say this today, and it is loved by both liberal and conservative historians, and i think the reason that is true is because he faced a nation very divided, far more divided than our nation today. 11 states left the union. imagine that. they left and created a "new" nation. they thought it was a new nation. he somehow made it through all
of that. he was never giving up his vision. his vision was to eventually get rid of slavery. i'm not really going to read anymore from my preface. well, ok. go ahead, why not? lincoln embodied many american qualities. he was born and a kentucky room -- in a kentucky log cabin, and rose through very occupations to become an illinois lawyer, and president of the united states. he had less than one euro formal education. think of that. and yet, could recite writings. he loved reading a sub sable's
-- aesop's fables. he was inquisitive and curious. he rejected his parents' religion. he was folksy and funny, he liked storytelling and telling body jokes, that cannot be repeated in front of ladies back then, it yet had a melancholy side, which some say looked like depression. anyway, i go on and discuss his attitude toward slavery and all that. i wanted to maybe just -- in that section of my book called
"lincoln and his era," ahead i have songs from the year. this song was very popular, it is called "lincoln and liberty," by the hutchinson family, considered hippies of the area. -- era. by hippies, they were abolitionists. they pushed lincoln farther. he did not run on positive liberties, when the government tries to defend human rights and create legislation that is positive liberty. most of these amendment before the civil war were examples of negative liberties like hands-off.
lincoln and the civil war created positive liberty. at the time that the song was written, he was not there yet. for the hutchinson family singers, he was. just a few things, he was born in kentucky, he lived in indiana , and this other term, i think it refers to his fish, illinois. when they say "our good david slaying -- " they are talking about the slave, davis. if you are the hutchinson family, the hippies, you thought that lincoln won.
this other term is a reference to lincoln cutting trees. it goes something like -- [singing] will go from the sun of kentucky. the hero of hoosier. for lincoln and liberty too. [applause] i should be saying sorry about that. it reminds me, sometimes popular songs can be a little edgy. it reminds the of the 1960's when "blowing in the wind," was edgy, sung by i think dylan.
it opened the way to hendrix's music. songs like this open the way, i think. there was another song "coming father abraham," i will sing the whole song. [laughter] i promise i won't. you can plug in any number. lee can raise troops, instituted the draft. it shows the reverend that soldiers developed. he visited the troops. they could send a real sense of compassion there. again, i put 600,000 because you could really -- the version has 500,000 as well.
[singing] we are coming, father abraham, and 300 more. we leave our plows and workshops. our wives and children dear. with hearts to full, we are the silent tear. we dare not look the hind is. we are coming, father abraham 300,000 more. we are coming, we are coming. our union to restore. we are coming, father abraham 300,000 more. [applause] there are 300,000 more versus too. i don't know how they ever memorized all of the songs. anyway. i wanted in my book also to represent the more negative views of lincoln in his own
lifetime. there were people called "copperheads," who were basically democrats, northern democrats who did not like the war ended and i did not like lincoln. you can see the negative images on these books. this one is a poem. both of these books present lincoln as a devilish tyrant who threatened to destroy the united states by bringing about a reversal of racism. i wanted to be sure to include that in my book. it leads to the way that he was under a lot of threats. because of these pockets of hostility, he would receive many assassination threats and he told his law partner -- mrs. lincoln said, he is so exposed.
back then, you could go see the president, walk in the white house at one of the public recessions and mayhem. his stepmother, sarah, did not want him to be president because she feared that he would get killed. when she heard, she said, i have been waiting for it. she knew he would get killed. the question arises, why john books booth? -- john wilkes booth? why him? booth declared that slavery was a blessing. he hated lincoln. this is just very typical among lincoln-haters. i attribute it to what i call the american style of acting. the super intense passions,
total absorption in the role being played, and also what i call the higher law. i will talk about booth's father. it has a lot to do with his father. walt whitman, the poet, went and saw booth's father on the stage and was so incredibly influenced by booth. he said, his genius was to meet one of the grandest revelations of my life, a lesson of artistic expression, he had much to do with shaping me in those early years. there were two types of acting. one was called the teapot style which was very restrained and british where one had a hand on the hip, and the other twirled his hand. the other was what was became the
american style which is very over the top. booth took this to the extreme, so much so that for example once he had to be pulled off for fear that he would suffocate the other actor with a pillow. in richard the third, he had to be disarmed in his salute. he would sometimes walk the streets in his robes. he would distribute coins. he was known as "the mad tragedy," but whitman said even when he was terrible, he was great. he was also a drunk. i shouldn't go on about john wilkes booth's father. he would be locked up before the preferments so -- performance so
that he wouldn't get too close to the bottle. anyway. whitman on booth -- his whole being, and f2 scare the actors, often they were afraid of him. john wilkes booth carried on the tradition of the american style of acting. whitman was a little uncertain. this is john wilkes on the left. junius had 10 children and many became actors. in the middle is junius junior. this is an julius caesar. this is done in november 1864, not too long before the assassination. edwin love lincoln and booth
hated lincoln. there was a real quarrel between the two. actually, in this performance he was marc anthony. this was not too long before the assassination. whitman said, i saw him several times, he was a queer fellow with strange ways, he was a little odd on stage. like a stuntman, leaping here and there. a positive review said that he had more fire and fury -- the native fire and fury of his father. his onstage swordfights were so intense that he sometimes inflicted real wounds and got wounded himself. he really carried on his father's tradition.
his acting really merged with real life. go through in his diary when he was on the run, he was in the swamp, in the woods running away, and said, i am here doing what brutus was honored for, yet i, for striking down a far greater tyrant than they ever knew, and looked upon as the common cutthroat, but my action was. -- my action was. purer than either of theirs. he was over there in the confederacy absorbed in this brutus-like sensibility. another thing that inspired him was the higher law.
meaning the law of justice, the law of divine right, the law of morality. he was saying, some people think the constitution condones slavery. it did at that moment. at least, it was kind of silent on slavery. he said, there is a higher law. in the 1850's, people acted on the higher law particularly john brown, a militant abolitionist. he thought he was appointed by god to go down south and end slavery. he took 21 men and rated harpers ferry, virginia -- raided harpers ferry, virginia. what happened is that he was captured tried, and convicted on three counts, and hanged. at his pagan hanging was john books booth -- john wilkes
booth. he had left the gig in richmond. he was an actor and joined a local militia, and went to the hanging, he wanted to be there. he saw it and much to his own surprise, he came to admire john brown a lot. not that he agreed with him because he thought the opposite, but he admired him, shook hands with his jailer, that set, thank you for your services, and was extremely calm. john books wilkes booth, time and again said he was such a brave men. he contrasted brown and lincoln. he said, lincoln and other
anti-slavery people were treacherous. he also wrote that lincoln was standing in the footprints of john brown but brown was a man that inspired the greatest characters of the century. they were characters, almost like they were on the stage of history. this character, john brown. he said, lincoln's appearance, this is booth is a disgrace to the seed that he holds. so john wilkes booth wanted to be john brown in reverse. both of them used religious wing which a lot. when booth talked about slavery, he said, i have ever considered a blessing slavery that god
bestowed on this nation. before he died, he said that something great and decisive must be done, i want firm steps our country owes all of its trouble to lincoln and god made me his instrument. he's full to himself that he was -- fooled himself that he was the new john brown but in reverse. what version of higher law do we accept? john brown or john wilkes booth? lever or not, there have been a number of people over the years who have excepted -- accepted booth. in 1904, the statue was erected in honor of booth.
former rand paul eight, jack hunter, who helped write a book on the tea party every birthday of john wilkes booth he raises a toast to booth. there are people, not that many but there are, who loved john books booth. there are people who love john brown. a lot of people don't like john brown either. even to this day, there are some good historians who just think he is a crazy fanatic. however, someone like emerson said that he was the say who made his gallows like the cross, in other words, he was like jesus christ. frederick douglass said, i could live for the slaves, but john brown could die for them.
debbie beois wrote a nice book on brown. lincoln himself was more religious than what is a college. -- what is acknowledged. he did not belong to a church, but he read the bible. he had written an anti-christian pamphlet early in his career but in his own way, he was very religious. he often thought about god. he even approach the cabinet about putting god in the constitution. he also issued nine proclamations of prayer on thanksgiving. thomas jefferson didn't even issue one proclamation of prayer on thanksgiving.
jefferson davis issued 10. they were having a competition there. a lincoln's case, it gives rise to this visionary rhetoric, the house divided, which is from the bible. the gettysburg address, "one nation under god." the second inaugural address has 10 mentions of god, three biblical citations. in a way, a lot of his rhetoric is saturated in religion, even though again, he was not a conventional member of any church. it reminds me of what whitman who said, mind is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths. i reject any organized religion, but have such deep faith. that is the way i think of
lincoln. he also met regularly with church leaders, and he bred a sort of ecumenical spirit, was close to jewish people catholics, many kinds of protestants, and had a very strong race, religious base, among churches, and many different kinds of churches in the north. i suppose you could even say that he waged his own holy war, particularly as the war went on. some say that he had the higher law, created his own law because he canceled habeas corpus at one point and put some people in jail for saying bad things in the newspaper, and so forth. he was only once involved, not directly, but a lot happen under his watch. a lot thought that he followed his own law, yet he had
the ultimate goal of preserving the union and abolishing slavery. to support the more, he started the national currency, the national banking system, all kind of federal funding -- infrastructure, not to mention proclamations and all of that. in a way, he did strengthen the national government all under the ages of this idea of freedom , of liberty. the reason his hire law is ridiculously appealing is he had the wisdom and insecurity.
both sides read the same bible and pray to the same god, but god has his own purposes. even like some people who say god supports what i am doing and he thinks you are the devil lincoln never felt that way. his wife was from a slaveholding family. he himself had been born in kentucky and stonewall jackson -- he really admired him. he had a real openness that a lot of people who believe in hire law just don't have. he wasn't alone gun. he believed in the democratic process. he thought that was the best way
of filtering the higher law and trying to get through. he realized it did not always work that way but when he says a government of for the people, either people, one nation under god, he wants the people to decide. we know democracy does not always work that way but only somebody with a division like abe lincoln, i could say he does. the final view of lincoln is that booth did us a favor. he made what whitman called the great martyr chief. he said it provides a more than anything underlined in a cordial
army. it's the one thing needed to blast the nationality. in a way, he is right. whether you are liberal or conservative, i think you can talk with respect about lincoln even though you can notice wrinkles -- there were plenty of wrinkles there as well. perhaps if john wilkes booth had not followed his hire law, maybe you would not be quite as powerful a presence as he is. whitman says a nation is defined and created by that's. when you think of martin luther king when you think of kennedy certainly in the case of lincoln
, that was the one depth -- despite the naysayers and whatever, the rand paul types. even libertarians -- i suppose it's hard for libertarians to swallow lincoln. we can talk about this and debated, but there is compassion and sort of more democratic understanding of the higher law that lincoln achieve greatness. anyway, thank you very much. i appreciate it. [applause]
i am supposed to -- we have another microphone. anybody have any comments? maybe you want to do your own risk on lincoln or maybe you want to disagree with me, which is fine. >> professor reynolds, it's a great pleasure to see you again. i'm curious -- i don't know if you have had the opportunity to read a new book which is a biography of john wilkes booth. david: i just finished it. >> the last three words of that book are embraced and forgiven. in your opinion, are we as a culture in a position to forgive john wilkes booth, and if we are, what does that say positively and negatively about our society? david: are we in a position to forgive? i'm trying to think -- john wilkes booth certainly is a
celebrity. he is famous and there's a lot of fascination with john wilkes booth. i suppose i take the walt whitman view of him which is almost accidentally or unwittingly, john wilkes news in a sense did something good because lincoln, he used to receive assassination letters all the time. he said it doesn't matter what i do. if someone tries to assassinate me, i don't care how many cavalry people are around me. he said i'm not going to prevent assassination and he wasn't really scared of it either. i think we can forgive booth in
a whitman-esque sense in that his action created some positive good, i think unwittingly. can we had -- can we admire his ole miss? i disagree with john wilkes booth's views, i wrote a book about john brown and i don't feel the same ring about john wilkes booth that i feel about john brown because i happen to feel the same way as wep do boys did -- web dubois did. i think fundamentally his heart was in the right place but john wilkes booth toss heart was in the wrong place. i believe in a right and a wrong on issues like slavery. i don't forgive him in that
sense, but i suppose in a whitman-esque type interpretation -- the terry alford book i think is very will done. does the new meals have any admiration or feelings of admiration and if you do, it is perfectly fine. you are allowed to say it. >> that is not what i was going to ask. recently, there was an op-ed page in the new york times about how lincoln was romanticized and was a martyr and both sides sort of shook hands and treated each other as gentlemen.