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Booth, John Wilkes

The assassin of Abraham Lincoln. Booth, an actor, was fanatically devoted to the Confederate cause in the Civil War. While Lincoln was attending a play, Booth stole into his theater box and shot him in the head at pointblank range. He then leaped down to the stage, breaking his leg, and escaped. Cornered later in a barn, he died of gunshot wounds, possibly inflicted by himself.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.