Thus far I’m halfway through what has turned out to be a psycho-therapeutic pit stop. Being that the current state of the world is one of unmitigated anger, listless calls for some undefined goal of “justice,” the burning of infrastructure, the hedging of fortunes, both political and financial, and the appalling manipulation of a world populace against the backdrop of a pandemic–I not only construct an obscenely-long sentence, I also admit that I have had to check out.
What’s interesting about “The Lincoln Conspiracy is, it nearly parrots the current state of American affairs; a President was elected in a divided country with a controversial set of policy goals. Immediately, state houses start talking succession. Overt projections of hate and assassination make the rounds in media, and sub-cultural organizations start plotting to burn the cities, take over Washington DC, destroy the infrastructural framework of the rail systems, and kill the President-Elect.
And yet, I find it comforting, because the insanity of those days doesn’t seem to have the post-modern nihilism that permeates the American Zeitgeist of 2020. We live in an age where atonement is demanded, and forgiveness is never given. Even in the midst of the most vociferous and hateful turns of the Civil War, there appeared to be lines of demarcation that said, “Life must resume again, no matter our broken starting place.”
Interestingly enough, it never occurred to me that Lincoln’s election itself would be the starting place for someone wanting to take him out. And yet, why not? People are people. It’s not like the slavery and abolitionist factions didn’t have words before the Emancipation Proclamation. Everyone knew stuff was coming down the pike. Reasonable men may differ about Lincoln’s dedication to the abolitionist cause, but his actions were undiluted enough to sent John Wilkes Booth into the balcony seating to make sure Our American Cousin had an eternal intermission.
The idea of a plot to kill Lincoln on the way to his Inauguration is a movie-grade plot line–and yet it’s true. And that fact that we know it as not successful begs the question: How was it foiled?
I’ll leave out most of it, but understand this; the Pinkerton detective agency is involved, along with a cadre of the country’s first commissioned female detectives. This is done out a matter of recognized logistical ability and expressed self-advocacy for intelligence-gathering, rather than Alan Pinkerton getting “woke,” which is actually a refreshing thing to think about. The agency of women are instrumental in saving the life of an American President.
Perhaps I should finish reading it before opening my mouth, but since I know he wasn’t killed until 1865, I can safely say he made it to his March 4th, 1861 inauguration.
How he got there, however, is worth the price of the book alone.
The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President–and Why It Failed–Brad Meltzer and John Mensch.