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Manhunt: Alternate Histories

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What if John Wilkes Booth had missed? How did the Lincoln assassination change American history? What if not only Booth, but also Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt, had accomplished their missions? Would the murders of the president, vice-president, and secretary of state have plunged the Union into chaos and prolonged the Civil War?


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Note: This topic refers to events through Chapter Two. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after Chapter Two, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

Message Edited by BookClubEditor on 03-02-2007 12:22 PM

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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

If Lincoln had not been assassinated, I think there may have been a better plan for Reconstruction in the South and for acclimating the former slaves to freedom. There were vindictive feelings about Lincoln's assassination that got in the way of all this. I'm not a history scholar so I could be wrong. Many of you are better read in history than I am. I'm interested in all of your thoughts on this.
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maxcat
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

Not knowing much about the Cival War, I would think that if all three were killed, there might be chaos in the streets. I'm past Chapter two and it seems there was chaos even upon the shooting of Lincoln. It was such a bold and precise movement and I can't believe there was no security. If that were to happen today, you know there would be guards everywhere the president went.
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ziggyp0099
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

If JWB missed and Lincoln, not Johnson, was president during reconstruction after the civil war I think it is obvious that things would have gone smoother.

Along the same lines I do not think that if all three men were murder that the union would plunge into chaos. I mean if Johnson was president and the union didn’t fall apart I don’t see the union falling apart under anyone else command.
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Donti
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories



ziggyp0099 wrote:
If JWB missed and Lincoln, not Johnson, was president during reconstruction after the civil war I think it is obvious that things would have gone smoother.

Along the same lines I do not think that if all three men were murder that the union would plunge into chaos. I mean if Johnson was president and the union didn’t fall apart I don’t see the union falling apart under anyone else command.




I agree with Ziggy. The Reconstruction process would have gone much better had Lincoln lived. I don't think if all three men were murdered that the Civil War would have lasted longer or that the union would have fallen apart.
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

I am not a big American History buff, was more into world history and biographies but this was about something i wanted to know more about so i am enjoying reading it. I never knew there was a conspiracy even. Well, i think a very long time ago in high school, lol, that something might have been mentioned but more about helping Booth shoot just Lincoln. Since American history isnt my strong suit, I could be wrong on my opinion here but then it is speculative to try to figure out at all isnt it? I do think tho, that Booth missed, the reconstruction MAY have gone better but I even wonder about that since it says Lincoln was talking about letting the blacks vote. I am not sure that idea would have gone down too well on either side back then to tell you the truth. So the war may have ended about the same but the reconstruction would have been different, maybe easier but maybe not too. If all three had been assassinated, I do think there would have been chaos and the war was not over at this point. I can see that huge event, the death of all 3 as a new rallying point for the south. The war could have waged on longer, others gone back to fight again and tho assassinations like this were pretty unheard of, other fanatics like Booth could have set out to do more. We see that happen today. Who knows what could have happened in the war if all 3 were killed, we may be reading very different history books today,even about who won. Interesting ideas anyway.
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aurora
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

When I was in high school, there was a book that became popular (can't remember the name of it) that speculated that Sec. of War Stanton was involved in the conspiracy. This, of course, was a pure conspiracy theory, but it was fun to discuss in class. We thought that Stanton might have been able gain control of the government with the president, vice president and secretary of state dead, so, he would have had a vested interest in such a plot's outcome. Also, he didn't seem to be a fan of Lincoln's post-war plans. One of the questions about that night that was brought up was the fact that the guard left his post at Ford's Theatre at just the opportune moment for Booth to make his move, etc. It was a long time ago, but I still remember the discussions we had in that class.
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KellJell
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories



BookClubEditor wrote:

What if John Wilkes Booth had missed? How did the Lincoln assassination change American history? What if not only Booth, but also Lewis Powell and
George Atzerodt, had accomplished their missions? Would the murders of the president, vice-president, and secretary of state have plunged the Union
into chaos and prolonged the Civil War?



Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This topic refers to events through Chapter Two. Some readers of this thread may not have finished
the book. If you are referring to events that occur after Chapter Two, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

Message Edited by BookClubEditor on 03-02-200712:22 PM



The best question of the lot is whether success by the three murderers would have plunged the nation into a renewed civil war. Almost certainly not, I would say. It's hard to over emphasize the relief and joy that Americans felt at the war's end. Everything I read (and much aluded to in Swanson's work) speaks of celebrations in the streets nearly round the clock. My hunch is that if the dastardly deed had been accomplished in triplicate very little would have changed. No one really cared about Seward despite his excellent job as Secretary of State. NO ONE gave a hill of beans about Johnson. Lincoln was the one (ONE!!). I think we would have staggered a bit more, but the nation really, really wanted peace. I don't see it descending into chaos. I would, however, LOVE to hear other opinions. How do I do that? I'm new at this.
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vivico1
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

I disagree. Even in just reading the book, there was chaos everywhere worrying that there was a conspiracy to assassinate the whole Union government cabinet. Stanton had soldiers checking everyone to see if they were alive and then stand post to keep them all save. Assassinating a president was a new thing and there was even fear that it was part of a organized Confederate conspiracy, so much so that they were even wary that southern troups were on their way or lurking somewhere and as far as I am in the book, just starting chp 6, they still dont know where the confederate president Jefferson Davis is. People may cheer at the end of a war, but if you believe in a cause or way of life and are still in a war, you may very well look for any opportunity to gain a new foothold and keep the cause alive till you win. There were certainly enough sympathizers around and even in Canada, looking for a way to bring down the north. I think Stanton and the city and the government leaders had every right to worry. Its not whether the people particularly liked WHO was VP or secretary of state or war etc, it was that these were held by the Union, the North. There was such a confederate underground going on all over the country that had they succeeded in killing the 3, I think other assassinations could have been possible and the south would have been looking for Davis to take this opportunity to advance the war and fight till the end for a southern victory. If all of these men were so worried about what was going on and making sure all were safe, you can bet they had enough knowledge of the times to know what it could mean.
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KellJell wrote:
The best question of the lot is whether success by the three murderers would have plunged the nation into a renewed civil war. Almost certainly not, I would say. It's hard to over emphasize the relief and joy that Americans felt at the war's end. Everything I read (and much aluded to in Swanson's work) speaks of celebrations in the streets nearly round the clock. My hunch is that if the dastardly deed had been accomplished in triplicate very little would have changed. No one really cared about Seward despite his excellent job as Secretary of State. NO ONE gave a hill of beans about Johnson. Lincoln was the one (ONE!!). I think we would have staggered a bit more, but the nation really, really wanted peace. I don't see it descending into chaos. I would, however, LOVE to hear other opinions. How do I do that? I'm new at this.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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vivico1
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories/off topic

KellJell wrote:
I would, however, LOVE to hear other opinions. How do I do that? I'm new at this.
_____________________________________________________________________-

Kell, I see you posted this question a couple of times. Are you reading the whole thread for the question that is asked? Everyone who has posted answers thus far to that thread will be there. And others have posted before you, so there should be some you could read. If you are having troubles, start a new thread and we will take this "off topic" convo there where we can see what you need to try. Also dont forget you can ask the admin if you need help, click on their name and send them a messsage( you can do that with anyone's name in here actually). Any messages to you will be at the top right where the envelope is. Good luck with your reading and good to see you posting. :smileyhappy:
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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katknit
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories

I don't believe the South had the money, the manpower, or the supplies to continue fighting, regardless of a power void in Washington. Lee held out as long as humanly possible. The Rebs were well and truly beaten.
But I do agree that there would have been chaos had the president and cabinet been dead.
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Donti
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Re: Manhunt: Alternate Histories



katknit wrote:
I don't believe the South had the money, the manpower, or the supplies to continue fighting, regardless of a power void in Washington. Lee held out as long as humanly possible. The Rebs were well and truly beaten.
But I do agree that there would have been chaos had the president and cabinet been dead.




Good point. The South did not have the manufacturing capabilities of the North. I don't think they could have carried on the Civil War for very much longer. Sure enough, there were still groups of Confederate soldiers out there trying to continue fighting the war, but they were probably just isolated and scattered groups who would not have succeeded in extending the war for a longer time, had Johnson and Seward been killed too, along with Lincoln.
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