Grade 7 English Language and Arts - Skill Builder + ACT Aspire Rehearsal Based on a true story - history and fiction

Grade 7 English Language and Arts - Skill Builder + ACT Aspire Rehearsal Based on a true story - history and fiction

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The Assassination of President Lincoln
April 14, 1865


Shortly after 10 p.m. on April 14, 1865, actor John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C., and fatally shot President Abraham Lincoln. As Lincoln slumped forward in his seat, Booth leapt onto the stage and escaped through the back door. A doctor in the audience rushed over to examine the paralyzed president. Lincoln was then carried across the street to Petersen's Boarding House, where he died early the next morning.

Lincoln was the first president assassinated in U.S. history. Why did Booth do it? He thought it would aid the South, which had just surrendered to Federal forces. It had nearly the opposite effect, ending Lincoln's plans for a rather generous peace. Booth did not act alone. This "wanted" poster appeared everywhere, offering a reward for the arrest of Booth and his accomplices. The conspirators were all captured, and Booth was shot while trying to escape from Union soldiers.

The whole country grieved the death of President Lincoln. As the nine-car funeral train carried President Lincoln home for burial in Springfield, Illinois, people showed up at train stations all along the way to pay their respects.

"The Assassination of President Lincoln." The Assassination of President Lincoln. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. <http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/civil/jb_civil_lincoln_1.html>.


The Martyr

BY Herman Melville

Indicative of the passion of the people
on the 15th of April, 1865

Good Friday was the day

Of the prodigy and crime,

When they killed him in his pity,

When they killed him in his prime

Of clemency and calm—

When with yearning he was filled

To redeem the evil-willed,

And, though conqueror, be kind;

But they killed him in his kindness,

In their madness and their blindness,

And they killed him from behind.

There is sobbing of the strong,

And a pall upon the land;

But the People in their weeping

Bare the iron hand:

Beware the People weeping

When they bare the iron hand.

He lieth in his blood—

The father in his face;

They have killed him, the Forgiver—

The Avenger takes his place,

The Avenger wisely stern,

Who in righteousness shall do

What heavens call him to,

And the parricides remand;

For they killed him in his kindness,

In their madness and their blindness.

And his blood is on their hand.

There is sobbing of the strong,

And a pall upon the land;

But the People in their weeping

Bare the iron hand:

Beware the People weeping

When they bare the iron hand.

Source: “Words for the Hour”: A New Anthology of American Civil War Poetry, edited by Faith Barrett and Cristanne Miller (University of Massachusetts Press, 2005).


Based on the passage, who helped Booth?