Did Jefferson Davis Order the Assassination of Lincoln?

7/17/2014 • Ask Mr. History

Did Jefferson Davis as head of the secret services of the Confederate States (Rebel) give the order to John Wilkes Booth personally to assassinate President Lincoln before April 1865 so the War could continue in face of the Confederacy’s approaching defeat?

John G. O’Connell, III

? ? ?

Dear Mr. O’Connell,

As President of the Confederate States of America, Jefferson Davis gave no order to John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President of the United States Abraham Lincoln. There is no evidence of such an order and nothing in Davis’ character to suggest an inclination to do so—whereas there is ample evidence for Booth, whose original plan had been to kidnap the president, assassination only coming into play when he judged the kidnapping plan impracticable.



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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