The unconstitutional trial of Mary Surratt

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Southern New Hampshire University
For this final course at Southern New Hampshire University, this project will focus on the trial of Mary Surratt, one of the conspirators in President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. While many historians and authors tend to focus on the actions of one man, John Wilkes Booth, his coconspirators such as Mary Surratt, have been overlooked. After Booth was killed, Mary, along with several other conspirators, were rounded up and put on trial. This trial was not a typical case, as it was judged and conducted by a military commission. These men were picked from Lincoln’s finest generals and were men closest to the President. Because of this fact and the surrounding evidence that proved to be unreliable, Mary was sent to the gallows as the first woman to be executed by the United States government. Through military and gender lenses, Mary’s case will be reexamined and her trial will prove to be unconstitutional. Through various archival institutions such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and the Surratt House Museum, archives will be collected and displayed in an online exhibit using Omeka. This exhibit will show the evidence of Mary’s guilt to be unreliable and the witnesses to be untrustworthy as the facts are revisited. (Author abstract)