Opponents and Assassination of Abraham Lincoln


As a man who grew up from the humble frontier of Kentucky, who was able to soar and achieve great heights because of his perseverance, how did he end up assassinated? Does he have any enemies? Who are those who loathed him?

Find out who he went against as he was a small-time lawyer until he was seated in the White House.

Clary’s Grove Boys

At the age of 22, he moved out of their home and lived in New Salem, Illinois. He faced a tough crowd, including the group of ruffians called the Clary’s Grove boys, who were said to be hellraisers of New Salem. They are looking for an opportunity to intimidate Abraham, being a newcomer to their town. They challenged him of a wrestling match. According to some witnesses, the ruffian leader played dirty. His perseverance and determination did not put him down on his knees. It left a profound impact on his enemies. He was able to get the respect of these men.

James Shields

At the age of 28, as he arrived in Springfield, Illinois, he was witty and cunning. Still, it eventually got him into trouble after publicly ridicule him a politician named James Shields for publishing provocative and pseudonymous letters to a local newspaper. In Shields’ response, he challenged Lincoln to a duel.

Stephen A. Douglas

Abraham Lincoln eyed a position in the Senate. In a series of seven intense debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas about slavery. Stephen insists on the Kansas-Nebraska Act by allowing the people in the said territories to vote whether or not they will allow slavery.

Each of their debate lasted for three hours. The news reporters covered their discussions vigorously to feed the nation’s curiosity. By writing in shorthand, they were able to complete each debate’s texts and published throughout the country by sending the information through the telegraph. There are speculations that the newspaper on Stephen Douglas’ side polished and edited his words while leaving Abraham Lincoln’s words raw.

Abraham Lincoln did not get the senate seat; however, his consolation prize was popularity. His name was reaching across the nation for taking on Stephen Douglas and assert his political outlook, making him a viable candidate and propelled him for the 1860 presidential election.

Great perils on his way to Washington, D.C.

Allan Pinkerton, a famous detective, escorted Lincoln on his way to Washington, D.C. At a point where Abraham Lincoln reached Philadelphia, Pinkerton was encouraged to keep a low profile; however, Lincoln evades the impression of being a coward. Before entering the capital, Lincoln have to switch trains in Baltimore, a hotbed of southern sympathy. In that point of transition, the President is vulnerable to southerners who wished for his demise. Knowing the conspiracy against his life, he was still reluctant to change his schedule despite his advisors’ assertion. In the end, his advisors convinced him to take a night train to Washington, D.C unharmed.

He reached the capital physically unharmed and left his political reputation tarnished. The press ridiculed him because of his gesture of hiding in the night. He was even mocked in newspapers as a coward and dressed in woman’s clothes.

Cabinet Members during his administration

Abraham Lincoln invited his political rivals to serve as a cabinet member during his administration. It was his subtle strategy to disarm his critics after his political reputation smeared. Also, to unify the Republican party, he needs to merge different factions such as the radicals, conservatives, and the moderates. 

George McClellan

Abraham Lincoln’s commanders questioned his authority, especially General George McClellan. The President appointed him on July 27, 1861, in replacement of General Irvin McDowell.

McClellan contributed a lot in training and restoring the troops’ morale but does not have the nerve to utilize them in combat. He was reluctant to engage the enemy tested the President’s patience. Abraham Lincoln continued to encourage him to be aggressive for months. McClellan continued to treat the President with contempt.

Abraham Lincoln’s patience grew short. He relieved General McClellan and took direct command of the Union Army in March of 1862.

He even went against him in the Presidential election but lost by a landslide.

Jefferson Davis

Jefferson Davis, the first president of the Confederate States of America, was knowledgeable in battle tactics and had an impressive credential. He was a veteran of the Mexican-American war and even served as the Secretary of War.

He appointed General Robert Lee to command the most massive Confederate Army troops after General Joseph Johnston was injured.

As a final offense of the Confederates against the Union, they fought the three-day-long Gettysburg battle in Pennsylvania, which crippled their forces.

Concluding the Civil War, he was captured and imprisoned on May 10, 1865, in Georgia. 

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth was an actor and a Confederate sympathizer. He was known as the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln.

According to some accounts, he initially planned to abduct Abraham Lincoln but abandoned it. After a victorious collapse of Confederacy, many believed that the last public speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln about his support to Black Suffrage prompted John Wilke Booth with drastic action. He firmly believes that by killing Abraham Lincoln, he was doing service to both the nation and the white supremacists.


Three days before the fateful night of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln had a promotion of his death through a dream. As he walks to the East Room of the White House, people are mourning on a corpse. In his dream, he asked who died, a soldier answered, “An assassin killed the President.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination

On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, went to Ford’s Theater to see “Our American Cousin.”

John Wilkes Booth came in and walked in the President’s box. He waited for the perfect time when the audience bursts into laughter. As soon as the comedic line blurted, he shot Abraham Lincoln less than four feet at the back of his head and shouted, “Freedom!”.

In his attempt to escape, he drew his knife and stabbed Henry Rathbone on his left arm as he tried to stop him from escaping. He jumped from the President’s Booth to the stage and exited to the side door. He fled riding a horse.

Abraham Lincoln’s Death

The bullet which killed Abraham Lincoln was behind his left ear and tore his brain to his right eye. They rushed him to a nearby boarding house where he took his last breath at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865. His death was largely mourned in the North.

The train that carried Abraham Lincoln’s body on its way back to Springfield, Illinois, processioned was observed, mourned and honored by the citizens.


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