The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln

by Michael J. Kline
     
 

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"In a thrilling detective story of conspiracy, treachery and assassination, Michael J. Kline suggests how close the Baltimore plotters came to achieving their goal, and reveals how Lincoln and a few guards outwitted them. Meticulously researched and written with verve, "The Baltimore Plot" takes readers aboard Lincoln's inaugural train for a perilous and

Overview

"In a thrilling detective story of conspiracy, treachery and assassination, Michael J. Kline suggests how close the Baltimore plotters came to achieving their goal, and reveals how Lincoln and a few guards outwitted them. Meticulously researched and written with verve, "The Baltimore Plot" takes readers aboard Lincoln's inaugural train for a perilous and unforgettable journey." —James L. Swanson, author of the Edgar Award-winning New York Times bestseller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer

On February 11, 1861, the "Lincoln Special" - Abraham Lincoln's private train—began its journey from Springfield, Illinois, to the City of Washington, carrying the president-elect to his inauguration as the sixteenth president of the United States. Considered a "sectional candidate" by the South, and winning the election without the popular vote, Lincoln was so despised that seven states immediately seceded from the Union. Over the next twelve days, Lincoln would speak at numerous stops, including Indianapolis, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia, expressing his desire to maintain the Union. But as Lincoln made his way east, America's first private detective, Allan Pinkerton, and a separate undercover operation by New York City detectives, uncovered startling evidence of a conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln during his next-to-last stop in Baltimore. Long a site of civil unrest—even Robert E. Lee's father, Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, was nearly beaten to death in its streets—Baltimore provided the perfect environment for a strike. The largest city of a border state with secessionist sympathies, Baltimore had been infiltrated by paramilitary groups bent on killing Lincoln, the "Black Republican." The death of the president-elect would, it was supposed, throw the nation into chaos and allow the South to establish a new nation and claim Washington as its capital. Warned in time, Lincoln outfoxed the alleged conspirators by slipping through Baltimore undetected, but at a steep price. Ridiculed by the press for "cowardice" and the fact that no conspirators were charged, Lincoln would never hide from the public again. Four years later, when he sat unprotected in the balcony of Ford's Theatre, the string of conspiracies against his life finally succeeded. One of the great presidential mysteries and long a source of fascination among Lincoln scholars, the Baltimore Plot has never been fully investigated until now. In The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline turns his legal expertise to evaluating primary sources in order to discover the extent of the conspiracy and culpability of the many suspects surrounding the case. Full of memorable characters, including Kate Warne, the first female undercover agent, and intriguing plot twists, the story is written as an unfolding criminal proceeding in which the author allows the reader to determine whether there was a true plot to kill Lincoln and if the perpetrators could have been brought to trial.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Corporate lawyer Kline details an alleged plot to which most Lincoln books only allude. President-elect Lincoln journeyed by private railway from Springfield, IL, through Maryland to his 1861 inauguration and, in Baltimore, escaped from what was probably the first conspiracy to assassinate him. The alleged plotters were never brought to trial. Kline contextualizes Baltimore as the largest city of a pro-secessionist border state, where previous tumults had earned it the sobriquet "Mobtown." Foiling the plot burnished the reputation of private detective Allan Pinkerton, among others. Lincoln's protectors saved his life but not his reputation. The press ridiculed Lincoln for resorting to disguise when moving between stations in Baltimore in the midst of his otherwise highly publicized "Lincoln Special" to Washington. Lincoln thereafter vowed never to hide. Kline translates legal concepts into comprehensible language, making readable an at times exhaustive examination of a scheme tied together through the "circumstantial evidence of motive, means, and opportunity." Kline invites his readers to serve as judge and jury and to conjecture how history would have been different had such a conspiracy succeeded. Comparing favorably with Harold Holzer's Lincoln President-Elect, this book demonstrates the use of archival sources beyond the usual standard and is recommended for libraries serving specialists and general readers.
—Frederick J. Augustyn Jr.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594165566
Publisher:
Westholme Publishing
Publication date:
03/07/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
9 MB

Meet the Author

Michael J. Kline is a senior corporate attorney in Atlanta. He is the former editor of the Journal of Law and Commerce.

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