American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser

1539 words 7 pages
An American Tragedy
Megan Kerns
October 20, 2011
ECI 430, Paul Harvey Project

John was born May 10, 1838 on a farm outside Baltimore, Maryland. He was the fifth of six surviving children. John enjoyed his childhood, but his father was haunted by alcoholism and spells of madness. His father had often been dismissed as a crazy and drunken actor. Like most children, John aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps; therefore, John blossomed into a performing actor and like his father suffered from an extreme case of alcoholism. Growing up on a farm in Maryland meant that John had been born into a world in which slavery was apart of the accepted order of things. Like most of the community, he believed
…show more content…

John Wilkes Booth was outraged by the outcome of the Civil War and the South’s ultimate defeat. During the war, Booth served as a spy for the Confederacy and had made at least one attempt to kidnap the president. This time Booth was determined to kill. Booth’s co-conspirators were formally known as his childhood playmates. John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and Lewis Powell, gathered and carefully executed the assassination of the three most important federal officials in 1865. Booth took it upon himself to assassinate president Abraham Lincoln; meanwhile, Herold and Atzerodt were assigned to assassinate vice-president Andrew Johnson, and the secretary of state William Seward. After Booth’s gunshot erupted into the back of Lincoln’s skull, he attempted to escape from the box to the stage below. The smoke from the black powder explosion provided Booth with a temporary advantage. Booth fought free from the major clutches and proceeded to escape. Booth knew the audience would be horrified when they found out their beloved president had been assassinated, therefore Booth only had a short amount of time to escape the theater. His initial plan was to jump from the presidential box, onto the stage, then dash off into the night on horseback. However, as Booth lunged for the stage, his boot