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John Wilkes Booth

Updated on February 3, 2015

"Sic semper tyrannis!"

Perhaps no other assassin has had more awareness of placing himself in the history books than John Wilkes Booth, as is evidenced by his cry of "Sic semper tyrannis! (always thus with tyrants!)" and leaping to the stage from President Lincoln's private booth at Ford Theater before a packed house.

Booth was a famous actor, as were his father, Junius Brutus Booth, and his brothers, Edwin and Junius. That he chose to shoot Lincoln in Ford Theater and then proudly display himself to an audience, most of whom would recognize him on sight, is telling, but I believe it's his choosing to shout in Latin, a language that spans millenia, that indicates that Booth was consciously leaving a message for future generations.

John Wilkes Booth
John Wilkes Booth

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