Killing Lincoln

Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly

Quote: “Confederate and Union soldiers are renewing old friendships…But the war is not so easily forgotten by others. Unbeknownst to all those men who risked their lives to fight those great battles- men who deservedly savor the peace- plans are being hatched throughout the South to seek revenge for the Union victory.” – O’Reilly


When reading the above quote in Bill O’Reilly’s story, two main sections stood out. The first part of the quote talks about how the soldiers were the individuals trying to restore old friendships, and the second part discusses how the attitude of the South immediately after the war suggests that they don’t approve of their defeat by the Union. These two fragments allow the reader to establish a perspective on how the relationships during the initial section of the Reconstruction Era are based on the mentalities of those who physically experienced the war and those who emotionally experienced it.

During the war, families were divided when brothers split their allegiances between the North and the South. The separation from their blood ties exemplifies the irrepressible loyalty to their beliefs on slavery, however the quote states that these soldiers, the ones who were so dedicated to fight for their cause, were the ones who were mending their friendships. It would be assumed that if the soldiers were capable of settling their differences in order to restore the Union, then the South as a whole would be able to do so as well, but according to the end of the quote, this was not the case. Individuals living in the South were still discontent with president Abraham Lincoln’s abolition of slavery, and the need for revenge by these southern extremists allude to the assassination of Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.

From this quote, the disposition for some humans to entitle themselves the final “victory” becomes evident. The desire for Booth the avenge the South or fulfill his fantasy of an ideal world shows the power individuals contain. Booth’s determination shocked the world and ultimately led to the poor initial management of the Reconstruction Era effecting the body of America. Not only does the quote exemplify the self-centered mentality of mankind, but it also shows the puzzling events that occur due to human decisions.


O’Reilly, B., & Dugard, M. (2011). Killing Lincoln: The shocking assassination that changed America forever. New York: Henry Holt and Co.