Look in the shadows around the edges of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and you might find some useful information. I find the meeting at Ben Wade’s the morning after pretty fascinating.
Although Lincoln had been elevated to the Presidency by a shaky alliance of two dozen Republican Congressmen and Cabinet members, and he went along with their War to End Slavery, he refused to follow their tack when it came to treating the South as a banana republic with zero representation and tons of new taxation afterwards, which is why he vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill and was planning a secret peace agreement.
Lincoln had just started his second term when the war drew to a close, which meant he was going to be in control for a long time. And that is why Lincoln had to go.
Thaddeus Stevens is often correctly painted as the Robespierre of the Civil War, but Wade is also a good fit for that role. They both seem completely without scruples when it comes to achieving an agenda. The strange thing about the top abolitionists is a lack of love for fellow man, as they seem driven mostly by hate. Before joining this cabal Stevens had been an anti-mason, yet many in this new circle were certainly masons. Power, wealth and glory seems a more likely motivation driving some of these men, and having ardent anti-slave opinions was the fastest way to rise within this cabal.
George Julian (head of the Agriculture Committee), Zachariah Chandler, and John Covode assembled at Wade’s house when they learned Lincoln was mortally wounded and expected to soon die. Stevens was also in attendance, and would write later of this meeting:
“Their hostility towards Lincoln’s policy of conciliation and contempt for his weakness were undisguised; and the universal feeling among radical men here is that his death is a godsend. It really seems so, for among the last acts of his official life was an invitation to some of the chief rebel conspirators to meet in Richmond and confer with us on the subject of peace.”
And there you have it, the real reason Lincoln had to go, and go quickly….was he was planning a meeting with Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Cabinet to work out a peace proposal. All these men would soon praise Lincoln and help elevate him to sainthood, and never say another bad word about him, but in reality they didn’t just celebrate his death, a few undoubtedly helped plot it.