The first section that Higham explains is titled “The Mission.” This section gives a general overview of the mission of Confederate groups to try to remove President Lincoln from office. As the author explains, the Sons of Liberty were dedicated people, not just of the South, but also from Canada, who were willing to create a plan to take out the North. They did this is several ways, such as provoking war between England and the United States. Higham backs up his belief by providing vital information. “In the fall of 1861...Union adventurer Captain Charles F. Wilkes was sent to stage a boarding and seizure of the British ship Trent. This was, in legal terms, and act of war since no ship could be boarded in that manner according to the peculiar maritime rules” (Pg 9). Higham also lays down a background of future players that will be involved in the Lincoln assassination. Officials such as Confederate President Jefferson Davis, his Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, and the Secretary of the Treasury Chris Memminger were planning to send a Confederate mission to British North America. The objective of the mission was to disrupt the loyal American states and enlist support for possible invasion, arson and murder to endanger the North. Higham’s viewpoints of the beginning stages of the coup d’etat against Lincoln are backed up with precision accuracy. It is very easy to understand his style of writing, especially when he writes about some of the people involved in the situation.
Higham calls this next player to be the “most furious and dangerous anti-Lincol...
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...d in the average history book. Here is where Higham instills a lasting impression on the reader of the entire situation. John Wilkes Booth, and most of his accomplices, were seized and sent to trial where they were all found guilty of murder. One of the interesting things about the story is that John Surratt, whose mother was hanged for the crime, managed to be at two places at once. John Surratt was another Confederate supporter who conspired with Booth about the assassination plot on Lincoln. While a fugitive from the American justice system, Surratt escaped first to Canada, proceeded to Great Britain, then Rome, and after a brief detention there, to Alexandria, Egypt. This is just one of the conspiracies Higham talks about in his book.
From start to finish, Higham thoroughly explains each stage that lead to the eventual assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. One of the reasons why Higham is so successful in his attempt tell the story is that he back his information and arguments up with detailed accounts of what actually happened. Higham style is informative and understandable. Higham knowledge of the subject matter comes through in the book.
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