The Lincoln Conspiracy | Brad Meltzer

Summary of: The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President–and Why It Failed
By: Brad Meltzer

Introduction

Dive into the gripping account of ‘The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President–and Why It Failed’ by Brad Meltzer as it unveils a sinister yet lesser-known plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln before he could even take office. This summary delves into the tumultuous political landscape of the 1850s and 1860s, where the issue of slavery was heating up and conspiracies were afoot. Relive the fierce battle between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, the formation of the white supremacist group – the Knights of the Golden Circle, and the intense political chaos throughout the South. Join us as we unravel the extraordinary efforts by Allan Pinkerton, America’s first private detective, and his team to safeguard Lincoln from a dastardly assassination attempt.

The Power of Collaboration

Co-authors Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch explore the history of successful collaborations that reshaped the world and made an impact. Drawing from historical examples such as Wright Brothers, Martin Luther King Jr. & Fredrick Douglas and others. They articulate a message of collaboration; they suggest that it is one of the most important and essential practices in human accomplishments, and it’s time for us to understand its value and implement it in our daily lives. By following the principles of communication, connection, and empathy, anyone can achieve greatness through collaboration. This book is a practical guide for individuals and teams who want to achieve remarkable things together.

Lincoln: The Underdog That Almost Unseated an Incumbent

In the summer of 1858, Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln engaged in seven debate sessions while vying for the US Senate seat in Illinois. Douglas was a wealthy landowner, slave owner, and white supremacist, while Lincoln was an abolitionist and country lawyer. Although Douglas was heavily favored to win, Lincoln emerged as a persuasive speaker and star abolitionist in the race. While he ultimately lost the election, Lincoln’s popularity sky-rocketed, culminating in the Illinois State Republican Convention two years later, where he was chosen as the Republican presidential nominee for Illinois.

The South’s Radical Response

The South’s seething anger against the Northern abolitionist republican nominee for the presidency reached boiling point, leading to a surge of violence and political chaos. Amid this South Carolina beating of an abolitionist senator, southern elite white supremacists formed the Knights of the Golden Circle. Meanwhile, a divisive Democratic party split into secessionists and moderates. All these factors contributed to Republican nominee, Lincoln’s presidential win, which the South viewed as a disaster that posed a significant threat to slavery. This interpretation of events was fueled by the language of revolt increasingly used in Southern newspapers. The book also highlights a fascinating event where Lincoln saw his ghostly reflection, which haunted him, and his wife interpreted it as a terrible omen.

Lincoln’s Election: Southern Response

As Lincoln won the election campaign with a promise to prevent slavery from being adopted by new US territories, the South viewed his victory as a catastrophe that reinforced the growing schism between North and South. Southerners reacted violently, sending about 70 letters per day to Lincoln, as well as threats and vows of eternal hatred. The South Carolina state assembly followed through on its promise to secede from the United States, followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. Lincoln, however, kept quiet before taking office, while his security team worried that the final stretch of his journey to the White House would take him into a hostile environment. He then embarked on a publicity tour from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, D.C., which would take a lot of preparation, with ample opportunity for things to go wrong.

Lincoln’s Protector

Allan Pinkerton’s fight to protect Lincoln’s presidency from assassination attempts, rebellions, and sabotage.

In the early days of Lincoln’s presidency, the United States was a highly volatile country. The threat of assassination attempts, rebellions, and sabotage was spreading like wildfire from state to state. The city of Washington was particularly vulnerable, given its location between Virginia and Maryland, both of which were slave states.

Samuel Felton, a railroad magnate based in Philadelphia, received word of a secretive cabal planning to blow up his railroad lines, preventing Lincoln from reaching the capital. When he brought his concerns to George Kane, the Baltimore Police Marshal, Kane dismissed him casually. Felton decided to reach out to Allan Pinkerton, America’s first private detective and a fierce abolitionist.

Upon hearing about the threats, Pinkerton quickly sprang into action and traveled to Philadelphia. His worst fears were confirmed: political cabals of white supremacists and railroad saboteurs were planning to launch attacks on Lincoln. The president-elect had made his tour schedule public, providing an opportunity for those who wished him ill to carry out attacks.

With little time to devise a plan, Pinkerton and his team got to work. They formulated a comprehensive security strategy to protect Lincoln from all potential threats. This plan included everything from scouting out locations along the railroad to ensuring that Pinkerton’s team was in constant communication with each other.

With time running out, Pinkerton and his team worked tirelessly to protect Lincoln as he traveled to Washington. Despite facing many obstacles and challenges along the way, including assassination attempts and sabotage, Lincoln arrived in the capital safely and prepared to take on the challenges of his presidency.

Allan Pinkerton’s unwavering dedication to protecting Lincoln’s presidency is truly commendable. His heroic efforts saved Lincoln’s life and paved the way for a brighter future for all Americans.

Pinkerton’s Secret Mission

In this book, the author writes about how Allan Pinkerton and his agents went undercover in Baltimore to prevent any plot against Abraham Lincoln. Pinkerton’s team developed false identities and infiltrated the groups of white supremacist secessionists to learn their plans and foil them. As Pinkerton assumed his new identity as John Hutcheson, a stockbroker from Alabama, his operatives were also making their debuts into white supremacist Baltimore society. One of his agents, Harry Davies, befriended Otis Hillard, a Baltimore socialite, and learned about the large-scale action planned against Lincoln. Meanwhile, Pinkerton was also ingratiating himself with Thomas Luckett, who revealed his involvement in an organization powerful enough to defy Lincoln, and their secret stockpiles of guns and ammunition. Luckett offered to introduce Pinkerton to the organization’s leader, Cypriano Ferrandini, who turned out to be planning to kill Lincoln, right there in Baltimore. Pinkerton had a shocking realization and had to act fast to save the president-elect.

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