AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Air date: Tues., Jan. 17, 8:00 pm

 

On March 4, 1865, at the United States Capitol, a crowd of 50,000 listened as President Lincoln delivered his classic second inaugural address, urging charity and forgiveness to a nation in the final throes of war. Just two months later, a train, nine cars long and draped in black bunting, pulled slowly out of a station in Washington, DC. Dignitaries and government officials crowded the first eight cars. In the ninth rode the body of Abraham Lincoln – America’s first assassinated president. Some seven million people would line the tracks or file past the casket to bid an emotional farewell to the martyred president. And as the funeral train made its way across nine states and through hundreds of cities and towns, the largest manhunt in history was closing in on Lincoln’s assassin, the famous actor John Wilkes Booth. This film recounts a great American drama: two tumultuous months when the joy of peace was shattered by the heartache of assassination. At the heart of the story are two figures who define the extremes of character: Lincoln, who had the strength to transform suffering into infinite compassion, and Booth, who allowed hatred to curdle into destruction.

 

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