Conspiracy? Oh, Never!

by Al Benson Jr.

Member, Board of Directors, Confederate Society of America

An article called Conspiracy Theater on the internet made a couple brief comments which noted why many still think the Lincoln assassination was a conspiracy. The article noted: “Yet from the moment of the president’s murder on that drizzly Good Friday, suspicions about the actual nature of the conspiracy began to fester. Did the government have foreknowledge of Booth’s plot? Was Booth a pawn of high-ranking officials? Inevitably, 125 years after the crime of the nineteenth century, fact and lore are more than a little tangled. Still, given the abundance of odd ‘coincidences’ and curious admissions of the players, in many ways America’s first presidential assassination remains a genuine mystery.” The articles noted that most of those involved with Booth were “ne’er-do-well Northerners” with Southern sympathies. That description doesn’t quite fit Lewis Powell, the man who tried to kill Secretary of State Seward. At one point he is supposed to  have ridden with Mosby.

The article also stated that: “The more enduring–and earthbound–theories assert that Booth was working for traitors among Lincoln’s own cabinet, that he escaped with their assistance, and that the rakish actor lived to a ripe old age on a handsome government pension.” I don’t know about the part about the government pension. That seems a bit far fetched.

Author and researcher Otto Eisenschiml also noted that: “There was one man who profited by Lincoln’s assassination. This man was his Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton.’ A member of the Radical Republican faction that bitterly opposed Lincoln’s lenient reconstruction plan for the South, Stanton stood to consolidate  his own power if the North imposed a hard-line military occupation instead. As Eisenschiml and other revisionist historians saw it, Stanton’s behavior immediately preceding the assassination, and also after, was highly suspicious. Stanton refused a request by Lincoln to allow the secretary of war’s assistant, Major Thomas Eckert,  to accompany the president to the fateful performance at Ford’s Theater.  The implication, according to Eisenschiml, is that Stanton knew something  Lincoln didn’t.” You can see why Iisenschiml felt that way. Lincoln was told Eckert had to work late and so couldn’t go with him when, in actuality, Eckert went home early.

And then there was the “coincidence” of the telegraph being down at the exact time Booth was making hiss escape. Now was that handy, or what?

Dave McGowan, who did the amazing series Everything You Think You Know About The Lincoln Assassination Is Wrong noted some interesting information regarding those who actually witnessed the assassination. He said:  “Of the four potential eyewitnesses, none were ever questioned by reporters. Only one was ever questioned by authorities. Only one was ever deposed. Only one was ever called on to testify as to what he or she witnessed that evening…Despite the fact that the Lincoln assassination was billed as the Crime of the Century, authorities seem to have had no interest at all in speaking with the handful of people who actually witnessed the event.” As for Mrs. Lincoln, her only words made public about the assassination came from a letter she wrote to Edward Lewis Baker in 1877. That was twelve years after the assassination!

McGowan also noted that “Clara Harris was similarly tight-lipped about what she witnessed at Ford’s Theater.”  What little she said also came from personal correspondence. McGowan then observed: “That leaves us only with the tale told by Major Henry Rathbone,  which we already know was a hopelessly scripted, rehearsed affair that he told under oath in almost exactly the same words on no less than three occasions…It is a strange tale, to be sure, and it would seem to indicate  that Rathbone spent more time studying the physical characteristics of the room than he did watching the play….it is very hard to believe that Rathbone would have spontaneously offered up such testimony. Those details were undoubtedly provided to him as part of the script he appears to have been following.” Remember, Rathbone was an officer in the army. That means he would have been under Stanton’s influence as to what he should say publicly.

Then there was the supposed struggle between Rathbone and Booth after Lincoln was shot. McGowan again noted: “And yet none of the witnesses who claimed to see the man leap from the box mentioned seeing him struggling with Rathbone either before or while doing so. Another problem is that Rathbone claims to have suffered a substantial wound that bled profusely, so much so that his fianc’e  allegedly found herself drenched in blood, and yet of all the witnesses who said they saw the fleeing man prominently brandish a large knife as he made his exit across the stage, not one of them mentioned seeing any blood on that knife. Or on the man’s hands. Or on his clothing. How is it possible that he could have cut Rathbone so severely,  and then continued grappling with him, and yet walked away with no visible blood on him?” McGowan asked some good questions, again, questions I never saw anyone else ever ask, and we have no answers for them. The politically correct among us would just as soon such questions were never asked.

And as badly as Rathbone was supposed to have been cut up, he never went for any medical treatment. He was “merely taken home and dropped off.” McGowan told us that, according to the official story,  there were three doctors on hand, and they could not do very much for Lincoln, obviously, but why didn’t anyone think of treating Rathbone’s wound? Why did they just take him home and let it go at that?

McGowan sums it up thusly: “What we seem to have here is a situation in which: (a) witness accounts don’t allow enough time for Rathbone to have been seriously wounded; (b) Rathbone never received treatment for a serious wound; (c) the knife that allegedly inflicted the wound was bloodless just seconds  later, as was the guy carrying it; and (d) none of the self-proclaimed witnesses in the theater that night saw Rathbone grappling with his alleged assailant.”

Now remember, folks, there is no conspiracy. Nothing to see here except Booth and his merry misfits. So just believe what the government tells you and move along. Don’t look too close. Don’t see anything you shouldn’t, and above all don’t ask any questions that might be embarrassing. Do all this, and you are guaranteed to be just like Sergeant Schultz when he says “I know nothing!” That’s exactly where the feds want you–fat, dumb, and ignorant. That way they and their left-wing friends can steal your history and heritage and you will be too dumb to know what’s happening.

That’s the safe way out–but is it the most satisfying???

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