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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Follow the Evidence: The Trial of the Lincoln Conspirators


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Lewis Powell (Payne)

Lewis Powell (Payne)  | Evidence | Prosecution | Verdict | 
April 14, 1865 | The Conspirators


Defense Lincoln CSI

Lewis Powell was described by W.E. Doster, his lawyer, as one who "smiles as one who fears no earthly terrors." Powell set through the trial as if it wasn't really happening. This may explain why Doster chose not to defend his client's actions but instead to seek an insanity plea, a defense that was very new in 1865. Many doctors were called in to evaluate Powell's mental state. Doster did ask Powell why he committed this crime, Powell simply said "I believe it was my duty."

 

 

 

Telegram from Inspector General
James Allen Hardie to Dr. John Gray
Houghton Library Harvard University

 


 


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