Abraham Lincoln was the first American president to be assassinated. He was attacked by actor John Wilkes Booth, a Southern sympathizer, during a performance at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. It was exactly five days after the end of the Civil War.
In death, Lincoln achieved the adoration and popular appeal that eluded him in life. He became a martyr for national unity and equality and a hero to the millions who responded to his death with an unprecedented outpouring of grief.
The manner in which America mourned Abraham Lincoln evolved into rituals that shaped the way the country has reacted to tragedies ever since, including John F. Kennedy's assassination one hundred years later.