On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a popular actor, shot President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was attending a play (the comedy “Our American Cousin”) at Ford’s Theater, just blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C. Booth snuck into the president’s box—Lincoln’s bodyguard had gone out for a drink—and shot him in the head. Booth then jumped onto the stage, shouted “Sic semper tyrannis” (Latin for “ever thus to tyrants”), ran outside, and fled on horseback. Lincoln died the following day.
 
Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Union troops less than a week before the assassination, signaling the end of the Civil War. Booth and other Southern sympathizers remained hostile and resentful of the toll the war took on the economy, culture, and independence of the South. 
 
Booth suffered a major leg wound when he jumped on stage. He relied on friends and allies to escape to Maryland, and then Virginia. American soldiers eventually tracked him and a fellow conspirator to a barn on a tobacco farm near Port Royal, Virginia. Booth refused to come out, and the barn was set on fire. Booth was shot and killed on April 26.
assassinate
Verb

to murder someone of political importance.

Civil War
Noun

(1860-1865) American conflict between the Union (north) and Confederacy (south).

Confederate
Adjective

having to do with the Confederate States of America (south) during the Civil War.

conspirator
Noun

person who takes part in a secret plan to carry out an illegal or harmful act.

culture
Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

economy
Noun

system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

hostile
Adjective

confrontational or unfriendly.

independence
Noun

state or situation of being free.

Latin
Noun

language of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire.

resent
Verb

to reject or dismiss due to a sense of injury or insult.

signal
Verb

to communicate using signs.

surrender
Verb

to give up.

sympathize
Verb

to understand or share a feeling or emotion.

toll
Noun

amount of loss or suffering from an event.

troop
Noun

a soldier.

Union
Adjective

having to do with states supporting the United States (north) during the U.S. Civil War.