Discussion John Surratt question

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Read a brief piece on the Surratt trial that ended in a mistrial. What confused me a bit is while denying any part in assassination, it seems he admitted part kidnap plot. But the article said after the mistrial, he wasn't charged with anything else because statue of limitations had expired on any other charges.

My question is hasn't the statute of limitations on federal charges always been 5 years? If the trial was in 1867....and he is eventually released in 1868, how wouldn't any role in kidnap plot post 1862-63 not be still chargeable? Wasn't there a botched kidnap attempt just about a month before the assassination?
 

James N.

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One reason he may not have been charged was the revulsion against what had happened to his mother Mary Surratt in the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination. Hanging a woman - especially on such flimsy circumstantial charges - was pretty much an anathema to many; it took the shock of the first assassination of an American President ramrodded by a near-total despot Edwin Stanton to accomplish and still there were many of the Northern public who disapproved, especially in hindsight.
 

Bruce Vail

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One reason he may not have been charged was the revulsion against what had happened to his mother Mary Surratt in the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination. Hanging a woman - especially on such flimsy circumstantial charges - was pretty much an anathema to many; it took the shock of the first assassination of an American President ramrodded by a near-total despot Edwin Stanton to accomplish and still there were many of the Northern public who disapproved, especially in hindsight.

Despot Edwin Stanton?

Last time I checked Edwin Stanton was a functionary of the Lincoln administration whose nomination as Secy of War was proposed by Lincoln and confirmed by the US Senate.

Stanton may have been an ambitous and unscrupulous politician, but he was hardly a despot.
 

James N.

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Despot Edwin Stanton?

Last time I checked Edwin Stanton was a functionary of the Lincoln administration whose nomination as Secy of War was proposed by Lincoln and confirmed by the US Senate.

Stanton may have been an ambitous and unscrupulous politician, but he was hardly a despot.
There have been plenty of discussions here on the forum describing the lying, conniving, and - rightly put - unscrupulous Stanton, faithless "friend" to most of his associates. Regardless of how he got it and the definite improvement over his predecessor, the fact remains that his position allowed him to tyrannize over a large throng of underlings, from generals to hapless and basically helpless civilians, some of who were no doubt at least Rebel sympathizers. Of course he wasn't in position to reign as prime despot but he should be given credit for making the most of such opportunities as presented themselves. I think Sherman had the right idea about him!
 

Bruce Vail

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There have been plenty of discussions here on the forum describing the lying, conniving, and - rightly put - unscrupulous Stanton, faithless "friend" to most of his associates. Regardless of how he got it and the definite improvement over his predecessor, the fact remains that his position allowed him to tyrannize over a large throng of underlings, from generals to hapless and basically helpless civilians, some of who were no doubt at least Rebel sympathizers. Of course he wasn't in position to reign as prime despot but he should be given credit for making the most of such opportunities as presented themselves. I think Sherman had the right idea about him!

This argument reminds me a little of the Lost Causers who always want to explain away Gen. Lee's defeats on the battlefield by blaming his subordinate generals when anything went wrong. They can't accept the notion that Lee was flawed and made mistakes.

Likewise with many admirers of Lincoln. They want to blame the federal excesses of the Civil War on Lincoln's subordinates, even when those subordinates were acting in perfect accordance with Lincoln's policies and practices. That's how I view Stanton. If I'm wrong, then I would like to see some examples of when Stanton went against Lincoln in pursuit of his own despotic goals.
 

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Washington got lucky when Stanton received the command as Secretary of War. Having even 'ole brains' Halleck answering to him as a direct link to the presidency, he did what needed to be done. Such a high pressure position in such a crucial time had to have been a real anxiety attack without a strong will. I think he performed remarkably, and bravely asserted his vested powers, which needed to be done forcefully, wholeheartedly, and without bending. He was looking out for the country, and not his reputation, nor his monetary gains. He really cared as much as Lincoln to win the war and have it end.
Lubliner.
 

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