Lincoln assassination topic of series

This October, Steve Rogstad, Lincoln historian and lecturer, returns with a four-session course on the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Theories.

Sponsored by the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center, the programs will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on four consecutive Tuesdays, Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25. Held at the Sheboygan County Historical Museum, 3110 Erie Ave., Sheboygan, the events are open to the public and free of charge.

The Lincoln assassination is one of the most prominent – and also one of the most misunderstood – events in American history. Aside from the acknowledged fact that Lincoln was murdered by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theater, most of what people think they know about Lincoln’s murder is wrong and do not associate the crime with the Civil War, or as a natural result of it.

For nearly eight decades after Booth killed Lincoln, the crime was seen as an isolated event, without having any connection with the civil conflict that preceded it, or Reconstruction that followed it. Moreover, Lincoln’s assassin was portrayed as a mentally deranged – almost demonically influenced – individual, who killed America’s newly anointed presidential saint.

When the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, however, is studied as a result of the hatred that existed between the sections of a divided country, President Lincoln’s controversial policies, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the South’s view of Lincoln as a tyrant and dictator, his death seems not only logical, but almost anticipated.

This course examines the details of the assassination through the lens of conspiracy theories that arose immediately after Lincoln’s murder. Session 1 puts the Lincoln assassination into its proper historical context. Session 2 looks at the event as a Grand Confederate Conspiracy. Session 3 examines it as a Simple Conspiracy. Session 4 studies a myriad of other conspiracy theories.

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