"Thus always to tyrants", the words John Wilkes Booth shouted as he asassinated the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
Today Lincoln is often named among the greatest Presidents, and with
good reason, but at the time he was hated. The country was in midst of
the bloodiest war it would ever see. Southerners despised Licoln for
obvious reasons. He stood in the way of what they regarded as their
right to secession, and his stated intent to abolish slavery would
destroy their lifestyles and economy, not to mention elevating an
"inferior" race to full citizen status.
After so much death, many in the North were now ambivalent about the
war and wondered if it was really worth it. Lincoln also angered many
by exersizing emergency powers to circumvent the Constitution, and
suspend habaeus corpus, famously asking "Are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself to go to pieces, lest
that one be violated?"
In retrospect Lincoln was correct – the North was riddled with
Southern sympathizers, saboteurs, and spies – but at the time it was easy to paint
him as a power-mad dictator bent on making himself into a new Ceasar. Many people, including Booth, convinced themselves of that. And they wanted him dead.
Meanwhile, European elites generally viewed Lincoln as an uncouth, unintelligent, belligerent fool. Dangerously pursuing a ridiculous policy of agression that would inevitably overflow into the rest North America.