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Landmark Event - Lee surrenders at Appomattox, April 10, 1865

In an out-of-the-way place in Virginia, the South's premier general surrenders to gracious terms, allowing his men to leave for home with dignity. The cause has been lost.

Lincoln, from his White House balcony, made his last public speech. As the citizens anticipated hearing about their country's victory, Lincoln chose to talk of reconciliation and the need to ratify Louisiana's constitution. When John Wilkes Booth heard Lincoln say he wanted Negroes to vote, it confirmed his resolve to kill the President.

4/11/1865 ...We all agree that the seceded States, so called, are out of their practical relation with the Union, and that the sole object of the government, civil and military, in regard to those States is to again get them into that proper practical relation. I believe it is not only possible, but in fact easier, to do this, without deciding, or even considering, whether these states have even been out of the Union, than with it. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad. Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper practical relations between these states and the Union; and each forever after, innocently indulge his own opinion whether, in doing the acts, he brought the States from without, into the Union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it...

It is also unsatisfactory to some that the elective franchise [the right to vote] is not given to the colored man. I would myself prefer that it were now conferred on the very intelligent, and on those who serve our cause as soldiers... FT 223-7

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