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The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies por William…
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The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies (original 1983; edição 1983)

por William Hanchett (Autor)

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Clears up misconceptions spread by various conspiracy theories, recounts the factual evidence concerning Lincoln's assassination, and explains why such unproved theories have been so popular.
Membro:ih8libs
Título:The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies
Autores:William Hanchett (Autor)
Informação:University of Illinois Press (1983), 303 pages
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The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies por William Hanchett (1983)

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The Lincoln Murder Conspiracies is the first book of its kind – one to evaluate each of the various conspiracy theories that have been put forward about Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 assassination. Although the assassination clearly was the result of a conspiracy, some amateur history buffs have speculated over the years that it extended far beyond JW Booth and his cronies. This book’s author, Prof. William Hanchett, brings to the issues professional expertise as a historian of the Civil War era. Herein, he considers and ultimately discredits each of the conspiracy myths, including one that continues to influence the public’s perspective.

The author’s account begins with the well - established conspiracy of John Wilkes Booth and his motley group. Burning with hatred against Lincoln and seeking to avenge the inevitable defeat of the South, they first planned to kidnap the president. Having failed at that, they plotted to kill Lincoln, as well as his Vice President (Andrew Johnson) and his Secretary of State (William Seward). Secretary of War Edwin Stanton and federal investigators immediately suspected that the assassination plot had been part of a grand conspiracy involving the Confederacy. Some Radical Republicans even suspected Andrew Johnson of being involved. However, detailed investigation by Stanton and others failed to uncover corroborating evidence, leading to the conclusion that Booth and his group had acted on their own.

A very different conspiracy theory was put forward by Otto Eisenschiml in his 1937 Why Was Lincoln Murdered?. Eisenschiml – a chemist by profession -- proposed an elaborate, nefarious conspiracy directed by none other than Lincoln’s own Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton in collaboration with the Radical Republicans. Eisenschiml raises the question of whether Stanton actually directed Booth’s actions, and made sure that Lincoln was not guarded or accompanied by General Grant that fateful night at Ford’s Theater. What’s more, Stanton supposedly helped engineer Booth’s escape as well as his death -- and managed to prevent the captured conspirators from revealing that he headed the plot. Eisenschiml’s claims have been influential with the general public, and Hanchett devotes three chapters to refuting them point by point. Hanchett also handily disposes of yet another theory, this one blaming the assassination on a grand conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the pope himself.

In his penultimate chapter, “Reductio ad Absurdum” Hanchett turns to more recent versions of the anti-Stanton theories, including that proposed by Balsiger and Sellier in their 1977 The Lincoln Conspiracy. Hanchett is unflinching in his exposure of the ridiculous claims, distortions, lies, and fabrications that permeate the latter work.

In addition to his valuable evaluation of the various conspiracy theories, Hanchett draws on his expertise to offer a historiographic analysis of their origins and popularity. Early theories that suspected a broad Confederate conspiracy were a natural outgrowth of anti- Confederate sentiment at the end of the Civil War. The anti - Stanton scenarios promoted by Eisenschiml and others were a manifestation of historical revisionism that downplayed the evils of slavery and put the blame for the war on the north. In the same way, Balsiger and Sellier's broad attack can be viewed in the context of widespread distrust of the federal government in the post- Watergate, post- Vietnam War era.

Having read a fair amount about Lincoln’s assassination (including the above – mentioned books by Eisenschiml and by Balsiger and Sellier), I found Hanchett’s book highly interesting and thoroughly convincing. It is hard to imagine a critical reader holding to Eisenschiml’s anti- Stanton theory (or its more recent incarnation) after reading this work. However, in an age when conspiracy theories abound, there will always be those for whom evidence is irrelevant. This book is a welcome refutation of some of the more outlandish and pernicious beliefs about a central event in US history, beliefs that (like many a myth) turn out to be less enlightening than reality.

The two links below provide some information on particular assassination conspiracies and their refutation.

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln2/5656413.0001.001/1?view=image&size=100

http://www.cincinnatiskeptics.org/blurbs/vindication-of-stanton.html ( )
5 vote danielx | Jun 2, 2011 |
Hancett documents all of the theories regarding the Lincoln assassination and discredits them, including those that implicated CSA President Davis, US Secretary of War Stanton, VP Johnson, and the Pope. Widely considered the final word on the assassination in 1986, it may have been superseded by Kaufman's American Brutus. It is still worth reading however. Not for those who believe in conspiracy theories. ( )
1 vote sgtbigg | May 27, 2011 |
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Authors of new books about Abraham Lincoln frequently begin by apologizing to their readers for publishing still another book on the great Civil War president.
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Clears up misconceptions spread by various conspiracy theories, recounts the factual evidence concerning Lincoln's assassination, and explains why such unproved theories have been so popular.

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