Avenging Lincoln's Death

Avenging Lincoln's Death : The Trial of John Wilkes Booth's Accomplices

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Avenging Lincoln's Death: The Trial of John Wilkes Booth's Accomplices is an examination of the 1865 military commission trial of eight alleged accomplices of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin who murdered President Abraham Lincoln. The book analyzes the trial transcript and other relevant evidence relating to the guilt of Booth's alleged accomplices, as well as a careful application of basic constitutional law principles to the jurisdiction of the military commission and the fundamental fairness of the trial. The author found that the military commission trial was unconstitutional and unfair because Congress never authorized trial by military commission for these eight civilians. President Johnson exceeded the scope of his authority as commander in chief by ordering the accomplices to be tried by military commission. He failed to follow the Habeas Corpus Act of 1863 that required him to turn over the alleged accomplices to civilian authorities for prosecution. The accomplices were convicted on perjured testimony and the Government was allowed to drag in unrelated evidence of Confederate atrocities to poison the minds of the panel of officers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 246 pages
  • 147 x 232 x 19mm | 372g
  • Cranbury, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 9 Illustrations, black and white
  • 1611478294
  • 9781611478297

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Chapter One. The Conspiracies
Chapter Two. The Hunter Commission
Chapter Three. The Lawyers
Chapter Four. The Conduct of the Trial
Chapter Five. The Case against Mary Surratt
Chapter Six. The Case against Samuel Mudd
Chapter Seven. An Unconstitutional, Unfair Trial
About the Author
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Review quote

[Reed] tells the story of this trial in an interesting and informative way that makes the events come alive for the reader.... This book would be an excellent starting point for anyone who wanted to research this time period and the assassination of President Lincoln, as multiple sources are well documented in footnotes... This book would be a great choice for any Lincoln collection and any library that has an interest in collecting Civil War materials. It is also timely, as the choice between military commissions and civilian courts is still under discussion. * Law Library Journal * Exhaustively researched, and enhanced with a bibliography and an index, Avenging Lincoln's Death is a studious and welcome contribution to public and college library judicial studies shelves. * Midwest Book Review * Author Thomas Reed has presented "the story of the trial of Booth's alleged accomplices" and a "legal and constitutional analysis of the trial" in his very precise and easy-to-read book Avenging Lincoln's Death.... [H]e presents his case in a very clear and understandable way.... If we had been there in that day and time, most of us would likely have agreed that the trial by military was right, but if you read Thomas Reed's book (we highly recommend it), you will find yourself wondering if that was the correct way to close out this very emotional chapter of our history. * Surratt Courier *
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About Thomas J. Reed

Thomas J. Reed is professor emeritus of law at the Widener University School of Law.
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