Monday, January 12, 2009
People have tried to prove that a wider conspiracy existed in 1865 to murder Abraham Lincoln. The most famous "conspiracy" is the murder of President Kennedy in 1963. Both of these murders have hundreds of books, articles and information out there for researchers to read and history buffs to debate about. Historian Henry Steele Commager and historian William Manchester wrote some interesting information about the Kennedy assassination which directly relates to the death of Abraham Lincoln.
Commager wrote "I do think that there has come up in recent years...something that might be explained by ordinary processes...We are on the road to a paranoid explanation of things...The conspiracy theory, the conspiracy mentality, will not accept ordinary evidence...There's some psychological requirement that forces them to reject the ordinary, and find refuge in the extraordinary." It is hard to accept that Lincoln's conspiracy was led by a actor who built a group of "loser" conspirators. Its hard to accept that a low-life like Lee Harvey Oswald decided to shoot Kennedy at the last minute and carried out the process all by himself.
Perhaps William Manchester did a better job describing it better when he wrote (and you could substitute the information about the Lincoln assassination here) "Those who desperately want to believe that President Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy have my sympathy. I share their yearning. to employ what may seem like an off metaphor, there is an esthetic principle here. If you put six million dead Jews on one side of a scale and on the other side put the Nazi regime---the greatest gang of criminals ever to seize control of a modern state---you have a rough balance: greatest crime, greatest criminals. But if you put the murdered President of the United States on one side of a scale and that wretched waif Oswald on the other side, it doesn't balance. You want to add something weightier to Oswald. It would invest the President's death with meaning, endowing him with martyrdom. He would have died for something.
A conspiracy would, of course do the job nicely."
I feel that Machesters statement says it all.
Kauffman, Michael W. American Brutus : John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2005.
Posner, Gerald. Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK. New York: Random House, 1993.