Reasons Why John Wilkes Booth is the Worst Criminal in America’s History

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ReasonsWhy John Wilkes Booth is the Worst Criminal in America’s History

JohnWilkes Booth was a renowned actor on the U.S., despite his young age.He had perfected the art of acting and attracted many people who gotamused by his prowess. He earned tremendous respect from people whenhe joined the acting company associated with Shakespeare at the ageof 17 and started performing. Booth was known to be a charismatic,humble and a good looking man. However, despite his career as anactor, he was also a criminal, but only a few people knew about it.He was not a straightforward and innocent person as many peoplethought. Booth perpetuated crime in the country, an art he learnedand perfected from his family, which was known to enslave people. Healso had ill motives against the government led by President AbrahamLincoln. At the back of his mind, Booth was overly convinced that thegovernment was determined to destroy the South.

CriminalActivities of John Wilkes Booth

SupportedCivil War

JohnBooth was always an ardent supporter of the South as he was stronglyopposed to the government and could not at any point. He advocatedfor slavery in the state of Maryland and would do anything within hiscapability to ensure that everyone supported it. Alford explainedthat John Booth was against the continued calls for the abolishmentof slavery by the North (156). To be able to perpetuate his agenda,Booth was a staunch Confederate sympathizer during the Civil War. Hebelieved that the war would have been paramount in necessitatingfreedom for the South. Being a supporter of slavery, he pioneered thekilling of those who were behind the motive of abolishing it. Boothwas convinced that all the abolitionists had the ill motive ofallowing immigrants into the country. As a matter of fact, John Boothspearheaded the killing of one of the most campaigners of theabolition of slavery in the country John Brown. Having no power ormoral authority to support slavery, Booth was not justified to goagainst the government. It was wrong to try and oppose the effortsput in place by the government to fight slavery. Furthermore,supporting the civil war was in unethical since it led toinsurmountable deaths of Americans.

Planto Kidnap President Lincoln

JohnBooth was vehemently opposed to the leadership headed by AbrahamLincoln. Therefore, between 1864 and 1865, he conspired with othersto abduct the president. In his capacity, Booth organized variousmeetings with the conspirators in Washington D.C to come up with thebest strategies to capture President Lincoln (Franscell 114). Theprimary motive of kidnapping the president was aimed at perpetuatingthe release of the detained Confederate soldiers. Together with hisconspirators, Booth planned to bring the president to Richmond todiscuss the issue. However, the daring move by perpetuated by theyoung man never bore fruits following the failure of Abraham Lincolnto show up as they had expected. It bothers many how a youngindividual would attempt to kidnap a president, bearing in mind thathe did not have the capacity to do so. However, it proves that theindividual had perfected the art of crime at is young age and was notready to relent.

TheKilling of Lincoln

Whenit was announced that Abraham Lincoln would attend a live comedyperformance at Ford`s Theatre on April 14th, 1864, Booth embarked onan articulate plan to execute him (Loux 189). Booth`s unshakenresolve to murder the president succeeded despite him being fullycognizant of the consequences that would follow. He shot thepresident in the back of his head, killing him instantly and escaped.This was done in total disregard of the law and exhibited a lack ofrespect for the leadership. Being the president, many people wouldnot have imagined the killing such a powerful individual especiallyat a place full of humanity. The murder of Lincoln made Booth ahardcore criminal and to a larger extent, a hero to his confidants.He had presumably overpowered the government, seamlessly making himthe most feared criminal of his time. Despite the manhunt placed onBooth by police, it proved too difficult to get hold of him. He haddisappeared to Port Royal in Virginia together with hisco-conspirators. However, after a hot pursuit by the police, David E.Harold, one of Booth`s colleague surrendered. However, after aconsistent gunfight with police, Booth was overpowered and later diedof gunshots.

Killinga sitting president was not a walk in the park. It entailed properand strategic planning. Booth was such an undeterred criminal asdefined by his boldness. It is baffling to many how he got to the boxwhere Lincoln was seated and managed to get rid of him despite theheavy security that was present. The decision of killing thepresident just to defend the south was peculiar and insensitive. Bykilling the president singlehandedly, Booth can only be termed as afearless man who wanted to the government into a state of fear andpanic. Therefore, he can be regarded as the father of crime for hisdare-devil unparalleled action of maiming a sitting president. Theincident poses a challenge to the security agents to be steadfast inthe war against crime and never to underrate any criminal elements.


Alford,Terry. Fortune`sfool: the life of John Wilkes Booth.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Franscell,Ron. CrimeBuff`s Guide to Outlaw.Washington, DC. Lanham: Globe Pequot Press, 2012.

Loux,Arthur F. JohnWilkes Booth–day-by-day.Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland &amp Company, Inc., Publishers,2014.