Booth From the Great Beyond

While researching Edwin Booth in 1870, I stumbled across this article about his dead brother that I knew I had to share:

Talking With John Wilkes Booth's Spirit

I think it’s great that John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln were able to work out their differences in death. I’m sure their daily walks on the other side are filled with interesting and lively discussions highlighted, of course, by the shared laughter of the two “good friends”. In truth we should have known that, given the chance, Lincoln and Booth would have been friends. Look at how attentively Lincoln’s spirit followed Booth after the latter murdered the former:

Assassin's Vison

Clearly Lincoln was waiting patiently for his walking buddy to arrive so the two could work things out.

This article reminded me of another instance where Booth’s spirit is resurrected, as it were.

1872 Harper's Weekly political cartoon by Thomas Nast showing Presidential candidate Horace Greeley shaking hands with John Wilkes Booth's spirit over Abraham Lincoln's grave.  Due, in part, to Nast's severe character assassination of Greeley through his cartoons, Greeley lost the election to U.S. Grant.

The 1872 presidential election was between incumbent U.S. Grant and the candidate Horace Greeley. Greeley was the founder and editor of the New York Tribune, and one of the most outspoken abolitionists leading up to the Civil War. During and after the Civil War, Greeley’s views often seemed contradictory.  Though ardently opposed to slavery, he attempted to pursue a peace policy with the Confederacy in 1863/1864.  During Reconstruction he sided with the Radical Republicans and pursued harsh policies for ex-Confederates with simultaneously signing a bond for the release of Jefferson Davis.   He supported Grant in the 1868 election, but became unhappy with his presidency.  He broke away from the Republican party and helped form the Liberal Republican party.  The Liberal Republicans made Greeley their candidate for the President in the 1872.  The Democratic party at that time consisted of mainly Copperheads and former Confederates.  Desperate to get Grant out of the White House, the Democratic party also endorsed Greeley as their candidate too.  Greeley was now aligned with a party he had fought against for years.

Republican supporters of President Grant like artist Thomas Nast seized upon the illogical pairing of Greeley and the Democrats.  Nast proceeded on a campaign of character assassination through his cartoons, demonstrating Greeley’s willingness to side with anyone in order to get votes.  The above cartoon showing Greeley shaking hands with John Wilkes Booth over Lincoln’s grave, is one of several in a series demonstrating Greeley’s willingness to ignore travesties of the past to win the election.  You can see more of Nast’s political cartoons about Greeley on this fascinating site.

Not only did Horace Greeley lose the election of 1872 to Grant, but he also died between the popular vote and the electoral college.  Perhaps he and Thomas Nast took a page out of Booth and Lincoln’s book and are up there now, taking a walk and working out their differences.

References:
Daily Eagle, 9-19-1870
Harper’s Weekly, 9-14-1872
Cartoonist Thomas Nast vs. Candidate Horace Greeley

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Booth From the Great Beyond

  1. Rich smyth

    Well, that answers one question! Mrs. Surratt was innocent. Did the medium say anything about Dr. Mudd?

  2. How about Lew Powell? No one ever mentions him in a “spiritual” context! 😀

    Great stuff, Dave as always…. I love these old Ghost Stories. Occasionally, the Evening Star would print some really nice old stories about the boarding house being haunted. And watch for one on the Arsenal Ghosts in John and Barry’s soon to be published book!

    • Jenny

      Betty, I have heard of Lew in a spiritual context from a friend. I’ll just say he went immediately to a good place. 😉

      Very nice find with the newspaper article!

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