If you went to high school in the 1980s as I did, you probably were not taught who Mary Surratt was in history class. That’s because Mary Surratt was an innocent woman executed by the United States government as part of the “conspiracy” to assassinate president Lincoln. Mary Surratt holds the unsought title as the first woman executed by the United States government, too. Why, then, are we discussing this today? Because there is an adage that states: “History repeats itself”. And this is certainly true. But with the United States government, history repeating itself is a matter of government policy which cannot be changed, altered, or deviated from no matter the consequences for failing to do so.
If you were given the government’s side of the story in high school history class, you were told John Wilkes Booth crept up behind President Lincoln and, bang, he shot him. End of story. Now, on to the Transcontinental Railroad and see the shoe on the other foot: Bang, we shot them, on a grander scale in dealing with Native American insurgents and unlawful enemy combatants. However, the reason the government leaves off the entire assassination conspiracy is because they executed an innocent woman. Mary Surratt’s “crime”, as it were, happened to be owning a boarding house that the Lincoln assassination “conspirators” rented rooms in. She was promptly seized in the federal sweep-and-clear operation to find the assassins, even if they really weren’t. Anyone with Southern heritage would do.
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