Today In History: April 14 1865

In the Ford Theatre in Washigton, DC, actor John Wilkes Booth fatally shot the President of the United States Abraham Lincoln. The attack came just five days after the American Civil War ended with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.

Born in a cabin in the woods of Kentucky, Lincoln was elected as the first presidential candidate of the Republican Party in 1860. With the election of Lincoln against slavery, the secession of the Southern states are scored, and in April 1861 civil war began. In 1863, when most turned against the Confederacy, he emancipated the slaves and won reelection in 1864. By preserving the Union and ending slavery, and his unique character and powerful oratory, Lincoln is widely recognized as the greatest American president.