Five Facts About John Wilkes Booth, American Assassin 

By Grace Taylor
John Wilkes Booth, assassin of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. (Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)

He Wasn't Southern

You might imagine that the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln was carried out by a Confederate, but in fact, John Wilkes Booth wasn't even from the South. He was born in Bel Air, Maryland to one of the most famous actors in the world at the time, Julius Brutus Booth. He did sympathize with their cause, however. He even wrote to his mother of his desire to join the Confederate army and called himself a coward for not doing so. Political differences were actually what soured Booth's relationship with his brother Edwin, an ardent Lincoln supporter, both of whom went on to become esteemed actors themselves.

His Original Plan Was To Kidnap Lincoln

With the election of 1864 drawing near and Lincoln the likely victor, an angry Booth decided to kidnap Lincoln while on a trip to his summer home and take him across the Potomac, where he planned to hold the president in exchange for Confederate prisoners, hoping to turn the tide of the war. He convinced two of his friends to help him, and everything was set up for March 17, when Lincoln was to attend a play. However, in a turn of events so bizarre it could only be true, Lincoln skipped the play and instead went to a reception being held at the National Hotel in Washington, the very hotel Booth where was staying.