Mary Surratt: A Conspirator in Lincoln’s death?

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Mary Surratt [Source: www. womenshistory.about.com]

Today, I watched most of a film called The Conspirators.  When the film began, my interest  divided between the screen and some other task however sometime in between I looked up and I saw James McAvoy with a certain expression on his face. I heard myself say “hmmm” and my interest piqued.

Mr. McAvoy plays Frederick Aiken the Defense Attorney for Mary Sarratt.  The film deals with the trial of Mary Surratt, the first woman hanged by the United States Federal Government on July 7th, 1865, for conspiring  Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Now this caught my attention and I was soon fully engrossed in the story. Whilst Aiken traded smiles with Rory ( that name from Gilmore Girls always comes up when I see this actress), I quickly did a search of Mrs. Surratt to verify the boldness of this  late 19th century woman. From what I have read so far, I realized that the film staged the trial and the interactions between Mrs. Surratt and her lawyers to create sympathy for the accused. Mrs. Surratt claimed that she was innocent but her boarding house association with key persons involved in President Lincoln’s assassination -.such as Lewis Powell, John Wilkes Booth- did not help her case. In addition, her son John Surratt was in direct communication with  John Wilkes Booth-the assassin of President Lincoln. There were also witnesses who testified of Mrs. Sarratt  direct involvement with the death of the President.

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To read more about Mrs. Sarrett, here :

Bigham, Darrel E. “The Abraham Lincoln Collections at the Indiana Historical Society.” The Indiana Magazine of History (2005): 58-70.

Laverdure, Paul. ““The Jesuits Did It!” Charles Chiniquy’s Theory of Lincoln’s Assassination.” Historical Papers (2001).

Leonard, Elizabeth D. “The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln (review).” The Journal of Military History 73.1 (2009): 283-284.

Marcus, Alan S. “From the Civil War to 9/11: Democracy and the Right to a Fair Trial.” Social Education 75.4 (2011): 196-198.

Trindal, Elizabeth Steger. Mary Surratt: An American Tragedy. Pelican Publishing, 1996.

http://www.biography.com/people/mary-surratt-9499375

 

 

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