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Sic Semper Tyrannis: The Plot to Kill Lincoln

July 7, 2023-September 15, 2023

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, became the first Commander-in-Chief to die at an assassin’s hand. While Lincoln attended a performance at Ford’s Theater with his wife and friends on the night of April 14, 1865, actor John Wilkes Booth snuck into the President’s box and fired a single shot at Lincoln. He then jumped to the stage, waved a dagger, and yelled “Sic semper tyrannis,” a latin phrase meaning “Thus always to tyrants,” before escaping out the backstage door of the theater.

In the days that followed, investigators realized the plot was more than just a single, radical assassin, but a team of conspirators led by Booth with hopes of killing not only the President, but the Vice President and Secretary of State as well, seeking to cripple the United States government. John Wilkes Booth was killed by authorities while on the run, but his nine co-conspirators faced a military tribunal for their involvement in the plot. This temporary exhibit will explore the conspiracy and commemorate the execution of four of the conspirators on July 7, 1865.

Objects Include

  • A Lincoln Funeral Relic
  • Lillie Leg Irons
  • 1864 Lincoln Re-Election Display
  • ________

    Alcatraz East hosts temporary exhibits, in partnership with outside organizations, related to crime and law enforcement topics.

    If your organization is interested in proposing a temporary exhibit, please email .

    Learn More About Our Other Temporary Exhibits.

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