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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:38

Later stages of the Civil War - Appomattox and Lincoln's assassination

AP.USH:
KC‑5.3.I.D (KC)
,
Unit 5: Learning Objective I
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WOR (Theme)

Video transcript

so in the last video we talked about the year 1864 in the American Civil War and now we're getting down to the very end of the war so in 1864 William Tecumseh Sherman had his famous march to the sea where he captured Atlanta and then carried on a total war through the state of Georgia to Savannah and from Savannah he turns north and starts heading to the forces of grant so he can back him up and a final victory against Lee who has encamped in Richmond meanwhile Abraham Lincoln wins the election of 1864 and is ready to bring this war to a close so let's move on to 1865 a lot happens very quickly in 1865 starting with in January Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed slavery for all time so it's clear that when the south is brought back into the United States it is going to be brought back in without slavery there is no option for slavery in the United States going forward now grant after his incredible victory in Tennessee in Vicksburg has been going after Lee's army in Virginia now Lee has holed up in Richmond and eventually he realizes his forces can't stay there anymore they can't hold the city so in the beginning of April they evacuate Richmond and on April 3rd the United States forces occupy Richmond and Abraham Lincoln himself actually goes down to visit Richmond which he'd never been to before and he even goes to the government building in Richmond where Confederate President Jefferson Davis had governed and goes into his office and he's there less than 48 hours after Davis himself had left and then events after that events take place very quickly so Lee falls back from Richmond to Petersburg and grant is kind of marking him the whole time and they retreat across Virginia to the West he's probably heading for Lynchburg and grant manages to cap catch up with him at Appomattox and at first Lee thinks that he's actually gonna fight at Appomattox and then he realizes he just does not have the men necessary so he invites grant to come and have a parley for surrender and they meet this is actually a picture of Lee outside the house in Appomattox Courthouse Virginia where he surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to grant now that is not the actual end of the Civil War but it's kind of the end for all intents and purposes because Lee is the general in chief of the Confederate armies grant is likewise for the United States and after this point it's just gonna be kind of a matter of time until all the rest of the Confederate armies surrender so there's great celebration in Washington DC everyone is very happy finally this four-year long war where six hundred and twenty thousand Americans have died is over and Abraham Lincoln goes and gives a speech talking about what reconstruction is going to be like and in this speech he lays out that african-americans after the Civil War are going to have citizenship at least some of them and the right to vote which is in keeping with everything that he's really said since the Emancipation Proclamation but what he does not know is that this man John Wilkes Booth is in the crowd that day listening to him and when he hears Lincoln say that african-americans are going to have citizenship they're gonna have the right to vote he vows to kill Lincoln John Wilkes Booth is a really interesting character we only know so much about him he himself was a famous actor in fact Lincoln had seen him perform a number of times and liked him even invited him to the White House because he thought he was a great actor but Booth refused to go and see Lincoln and he was from a family of famous actors I think kind of modern-day equivalent might be the sheen family Booth's had a famous brother who was also an actor and a famous father who was also an actor just like you know Martin Sheen's sons are Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen today so this would be like if Emilio Estevez or Charlie Sheen suddenly decided to murder the president which would be a pretty incredibly big deal just as it was then a booth was a Confederate sympathizer and almost certainly a Confederate spy who had gone up to Canada at some time to plot some movement on behalf of the Confederacy and he was an outright racist I think the part where Lincoln said that African Americans would have citizenship was what pushed him over the edge into assassinating Lincoln originally he had actually planned to kidnap Lincoln and ransom him for the end of the Civil War but after Lee surrenders booths plan changes he wants to basically decapitate the government so he conspires with a couple of other people and they planned that they're going to kill all the highest people in government at once so they're going to kill Lincoln they're going to kill General Grant they're going to kill William Seward the Secretary of State and they're going to kill Andrew Johnson the vice president and Booth thinks that perhaps in this moment of panic that follows the decapitation of the entire United States government that perhaps something positive for the south will happen remember they had hoped that getting rid of Lincoln in the election of 1864 might result in putting a government more favorable to the south in office in the north which didn't happen so perhaps Booth wants to do the same thing at this time so booth reads in the newspaper that Abraham Lincoln is going to be attending a play at Ford's Theater that evening and Booth is a regular at Ford's Theater in fact he even has his mail delivered there so it's kind of his home away from home and when booth goes to the theater with the intent to kill Lincoln he pretty much just goes up to Lincoln's box and everyone knows who he is and they say hi John and he just walks on by walks right into Lincoln's box shuts the door behind him and shoots Lincoln through the back of the head at that point he jumped on the stage from the the booth which is maybe 14 feet above the stage if you've never been to Ford's Theater and you have an opportunity I highly recommend you go it's a really interesting museum and historical place and in the process he actually breaks his ankle so in his running away he's dealing with this broken ankle and eventually he is captured and refuses to be taken alive so he is killed and then later the rest of the conspirators are hanged for their participation in this plot there's some confusion over what booth said when he jumped out of the box a lot of people say that he yelled Sic Semper Tyrannis which means thus always to tyrants and is also the motto of the state of Virginia other people heard him say things like I've done it or revenge for the South but Sic Semper Tyrannis is kind of the famous phrase that has come out of this so booth is calling Lincoln a tyrant and that tyrants are eventually always assassinated the arrest of the assassination plot from that evening mostly failed one of the conspirators Lewis Powell did manage to get into William Seward's house and stabbed him he did not succeed in killing him but he did wound Seward very badly the rest of the assassination plots did not come to fruition whatsoever and one thing you'll notice is that only a few parts of the Confederate Army have actually surrendered at the time of Lincoln's assassination so the war is in some cases still ongoing particularly in North Carolina in Raleigh and Durham where Sherman's forces have come up through South Carolina North Carolina to meet the forces of Confederate General Joe Johnston and it's on April the 26th at Joe Johnston surrenders to William to a Sherman from that point forward there are a few dribs and drabs of other armies that are still surrendering interesting fact the last Confederate unit to surrender actually surrendered in November of 1865 in Liverpool England this was a Confederate ship that had been sailing around and when they finally came into port they officially surrendered now after Lincoln's assassination which was an incredible shock to the United States remember that no president had ever been assassinated before the power is then transferred to Andrew Johnson Lincoln's vice president and Johnson's presidency is going to end up being very problematic for a number of reasons the most important of which being that he's very sympathetic to the south and with Johnson in power as president he's going to have a considerable amount of conflict with the American Congress which is dominated by Radical Republicans who think that Lincoln himself was not nearly Kuna t'v enough toward the south there's going to be just an incredible battle of wills between Congress and Johnson that's going to end with Johnson being the first American president to be impeached and so thus endeth the Civil War of the United States with the north of victorious the southern states come back into the Union the rebellion in the south is defeated slavery has ended and the era of states rights is over in the next video I'd like to talk just for a few moments about the big takeaways about the American Civil War what is it that makes it so important and what were the lasting effects I'll get to that in the next video