While Powell was executed with the other conspirators, Arnold was sentenced to life in prison but was pardoned by Andrew Johnson four years later.
Lousy, sexy Confederate scum.
April 14, 1865: Abraham Lincoln is assassinated.
Only one week before his assassination, Abraham Lincoln completed his tour of the Confederate capital at Richmond, following its fall to Union forces earlier that month. The Confederacy was on its way out, and the Confederates knew it… and Confederate sympathizers like John Wilkes Booth knew it, as well. Prior to Appomattox House, Booth had plotted to kidnap Lincoln, whose “appearance, his pedigree, his coarse low jokes and anecdotes, his vulgar similes, and his policy” he viewed with disgust. Once General Lee surrendered, however, Booth realized that kidnapping would be futile; only assassination would suffice (to accomplish what, exactly, is unclear), and so he set out to murder the man he accused of trying “to crush out or try to crush out, slavery by robbery, rape, slaughter, and bought armies”.
On April 13, Booth watched Lincoln give a speech in which he declared his support of suffrage for former slaves, which only enraged Booth further. The next day, after shooting Lincoln in Ford’s Theater, he jumped out of the president’s box and shouted “Sic semper tyrannis!“ or “Thus always to tyrants”. He undoubtedly saw himself as the Brutus to Lincoln’s Julius Caesar, and his actions as nothing less than heroic (and some agreed with him, both in the North and South).
The president died the next morning, Booth fled south, and Americans, whether anti- or pro-Lincoln, were left in a stupor. Abraham Lincoln, having already proved himself a strange and unique specimen of a man and leader, now held the added distinction of being America’s first president to die at the hands of an assassin.
I think it’s because the only thing cooler than Lincoln fighting vampires is Lincoln fighting RACIST, SLAVE OWNING, CONFEDERATE-REBEL SEPERATISTS!!!!!!!!! And that actually happened. So, yeah, no comparison, really.
Not sure this qualifies, but this is the only probable picture of Kate Warne, the first female detective. Not only was she the first detective, but she even went on to save the life of president elect Abraham Lincoln after uncovering a plot to assassinate him on the way to Washington D.C. to take office. She was best known for being a master of disguise, able to switch from Union soldier, to Southern debutante, to a harmless grandmother.
The Littlest Rebel, 1935.
I saw this at about 13 years old when I was going through a Shirley Temple phase (I think I was in mourning for my lost childhood).
It was the first movie I ever saw about the American Civil War and it weirded me out that it was set in the South. They lost AND they had slaves. Slavery is a moral evil. Full stop. And since when did Hollywood honor the losers of war?
(That’s not a rhetorical question, the answer is the Lost Cause Narrative).
Sure! I love history and the treatment of history in popular culture, so I’ll try not to write a whole thesis for you! There’s quite a bit of scholarly analysis on the Lost Cause narrative (both in history and in popular culture), so you should be able to find lots now that you know what you’re looking for.
It’s basically a myth white Southerner’s created about their experiences to do with the Civil War that relieves them of the dishonor of defeat and preserved the social order (i.e. white supremacy) because they didn’t need to question the morality of slavery/Southern race relations or even see themselves as fallible. Basically it’s straight up racist.
It became a salient national myth when Americans began to reconcile after Reconstruction (it helped explain why they fought a war amongst themselves and could be used to emphasize that they BOTH fought for what they believed in, were both valiant, etc) and the general acceptance of this view aided the loss of interest in civil rights for African Americans. It was popular in novels and plays before movies were even invented and before the Civil Rights movement it had been THE consensus view of the Civil War for ages (which is why some unreconstructed types still talk about current historical interpretations as “revisionism”).
Some of the main tenants include:
- Glorification of the Old South - in film this usually translates as the ubiquity of the rich planter class.
- Slavery portrayed as a benign institution. Slaves were happy, loyal and well-taken care of and race relations were great because everyone knew their place. In film this often translates as lovable slave-holders who then reflect well on the institution (Shirley Temple’s persona worked well here). A related topic is:
- The Faithful Slave – Because slaves were so content and loved their masters, they were happy to stay with them after emancipation. Bill Robinson in Colonel is exemplary. Also see the bit in Rebel where Shirley asks him why there’s a war, or later when he becomes her guardian. But you can see variations of this in the other black characters too; it would probably be useful to look up stuff about black stereotypes from films in this era.
- The rightness of Secession - states’ rights etc - it is always denied in Lost Cause lore that the South seceded to protect slavery.
- The North started the war, the South merely resisted invasion.
- They lost because of the North’s superior resources and manpower - it should in no way be seen as a reflection of the martial ability of individual Confederate soldiers. That translates in film as honourable, brave and valiant Confederate soldiers.
- Reconstruction was GHASTLY and the North was overly vindictive.
- Emancipation was basically like opening a Pandora’s Box - suddenly blacks started getting ideas about equality and basic human dignity, so they had to be put back in their place. This is why the aforementioned ‘Faithful Slave’ trope was so powerful.
- Eventual Redemption - Throwing off the oppressive yoke of Northern occupation and reinstating the old order, i.e. segregation and the Jim Crow Laws.
The national strain of the myth was usually less harsh on the North for obvious reasons. You can see that in The Little Colonel in that it’s ostensibly set during Reconstruction, but it’s all rather benign. Shirley’s parents’ romance - between the Southern lady and Northern man – was a common reconciliation metaphor and Lionel Barrymore is a stereotypical “Crazy Old Confederate” (it’s ok for him to hate the North, he’s old and bitter). The Littlest Rebel is also heavy on Reconciliation themes (the friendly Northern soldier, the Northern girl Shirley mentions as being just the same as her, Abraham Lincoln interceding to save Shirley’s father, etc). This is probably why they were some of the only commercially successful Civil War films of the era (Gone with the Wind being the other exception, which wasn’t too harsh on Northerners either).
I hope this has been helpful, but if you want to have a more in-depth look (especially on movies and popular culture), I found the following sources helpful when I did an essay on the Lost Cause and GWTW:
Blight, David W., Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
Campbell Jr., Edward D.C., The Celluloid South: Hollywood and the Southern Myth
Chadwick, Bruce, The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film Cullen,
Cullen, Jim The Civil War in Popular Culture: A Reusable Past
Kirby, Jack Temple, Media-Made Dixie: The South in the American Imagination
Silber, Nina, The Romance of Reunion: Northerners and the South, 1865-1900 (this one is particularly good for examining the nationalization of the myth and its effect on popular culture)
Williams, Linda, Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson
Freed Man: “Give me your hand master now that I have got a good hold of this tree I can help you out of your trouble.”
Southerner: “You go to thunder! Do you think I’ll let an infernal N***** take Me by the hand? no sir’ree this is a white man’s government”
Ulysses S. Grant: “My friend I think you had better use all means to get ashore; even if it is a black man that saves you. “
The sad thing is, if you switch the freed man with Obama, the Southerner with the Tea Party/Republicans/Conservatives/etc and Grant with pretty much the rest of the world, this is still pretty much accurate.