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Lincoln's Good Friday Death Transformed Him into a Christ-Like Figure

Posted 4/15/17 (Sat)

With his fatal wounding at Ford's Theatre on Good Friday 1865, Abraham Lincoln was transformed from a victorious war President into a Christ-like figure. His martyrdom on Good Friday created a recurring theme in the decades after the Civil War, with Lincoln assuming Christ-like qualities as the "Savior" of a restored Union.
Said Hartford, Connecticut Rev. C.B. Crane in April 1865: "Jesus Christ died for the world, Abraham Lincoln died for his country." And only five hours after Lincoln's death 152 years ago this morning on Apr. 15, 1865, Ohio Congressman James Garfield said, "It may be almost impious to say it, but it does seem that Lincoln's death parallels that of the Son of God."
Sixteen years later, Garfield himself became the second U.S. President to be assassinated, having recently appointed Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, to his Cabinet as Secretary of War.
Longtime Fargo resident and Lincoln bodyguard Smith Stimmel writes about the last time he saw Lincoln alive in his book, Personal Remembrances of Abraham Lincoln. He was not among the bodyguards who accompanied his remains to the Capitol on the day of the funeral. He wrote, "I witnessed the cortege leave the White House, but did not go to the Capitol to view his remains as he lay in state. I think most of the boys went, but I told them I did not want to see him dead; I wanted to remember him as I saw him the evening of April 11, when he made that last public speech from the window of the White House."


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