Impact on a Nation

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With the relatively new technology of the telegraph, news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination spread quickly across the United States and beyond. Many grieved, but others celebrated the death of a man they considered a tyrant.

Reactions to Lincoln’s assassination varied and did so in ways that might surprise us. Use this page to investigate how people around the United States and world reacted. What do their feelings about Lincoln’s assassination tell us about how they saw the larger questions facing the United States as its Civil War drew to a close?

Conduct Your Own Investigation

As you look at each account, consider:

  • How does this response reflect other responses—or not?
  • Who gave the response? What might the person’s reasons be for saying what they did?
  • When did this person talk about their response? Was it soon after the event? Much later?
  • How might that affect what they said?

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“The struggle of today, is not altogether for today -- it is for a vast future also.”
President Abraham Lincoln, December 3, 1861 Message to Congress
Photo of Abraham Lincoln Courtesy of Ford's Theatre Historic Site.