Follow the Evidence: The Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators


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Extension Questions

April 14, 1865  | From Ford's Theatre to the Petersen House



What Do You Think?

If you were an attorney for the conspirators what would you have done differently?

Do you feel the evidence against each conspirator upholds their verdict? Would this verdict be upheld in court today? Why?

Do you feel President Johnson made the right decision when he pardoned the remaining conspirators? Why?

Large rewards were offered for the capture of the conspirators, do you think this helped or hindered in the hunt for the conspirators? Explain.

Why do you think Richard Garrett and his family were not arrested and tried for harboring John Wilkes Booth and David Herold?

The defendant's were not allowed to testify in their own case, how do you feel this affectedLincoln csi their verdicts?

Today there is a chance that Dr. Mudd's treatment to John Wilkes Booth's leg would be acceptable in court. Why do you think it was relied upon so heavily and considered a crime in this case?

Why do you think President Johnson waited till the end of his term to pardon Dr. Mudd?   

                                                                           Only surviving photograph of Lincoln in his casket
Illinois State Historical Library Photograph
Lincoln Research Site
R.J. Norton

The case against Samuel Arnold seems very weak yet he still received a guilty verdict, do you think people were surprised by this verdict? Why?

Would Samuel Arnold even be tried in a court today with such weak evidence? Explain your answer.

After the assassination, many people were arrested as participants or for speaking out against the Union. Many were given prison sentences, beaten or killed by angry mobs. What do you think could have been done to avoid or stop these actions?

How did President Johnson's decision to suspend the defendent's writ of habeous corpus affect their cases? Do you agree with President Johnson's decision?

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Dried flowers from the funeral
of Abraham Lincoln
Library of Congress

President Abraham Lincoln's railroad funeral car
Library of Congress
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