Talk:Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

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Good article Assassination of Abraham Lincoln has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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    Picture change[edit]

    Someone please revert this edit [1], which changed the picture at the top of the page from the first of the pictures below (which is a feature picture here on Wikipedia) to the second (which looks to be a rather unfortunate, poorly mangled Photoshop job).

    This file is likely to be the first item seen by any vistors to the page, and we ought to hold ourselves to a higher standard here. I'd revert it myself if the article weren't protected. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:ab23:5789:9deb:4598:388f:6632 (talkcontribs) 21:55 31 March 2013 (UTC)

    Union Station reference[edit]

    Union Station did not exist in Washington DC in 1865. If Grant boarded a train to Philadelphia, he probably did so at the station affiliated with the Pennsylvania Railroad system. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 19:15, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

    The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

    GA Review[edit]

    This review is transcluded from Talk:Assassination of Abraham Lincoln/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

    Reviewer: 10W40 (talk · contribs) 15:30, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

    GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)

    I'll fill out the rest of the review later, but let me make some initial comments. This is certainly an impressive work with numerous references to support it. The first problem I see is the opening, which sounds like the lede of a news story. The beginning needs some historical perspective. The name of the play, the name of the assassin, and the names of the various generals are details. How about:
    "The assassination of Abraham Lincoln occurred in Washington, DC on April 14, 1865. This was the first time that U.S. president was assassinated. The event took place a few days after the U.S. Civil War ended."
    So, are you saying that the first sentence is too dispassionate and that the lead section doesn't have enough details? I'll have to think about any possible changes to the lead - it's the result of a lot of hard work on the part of many editors, I am loath to change it. Shearonink (talk) 16:35, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
    I'm saying the first paragraph needs less detail and more focus. 10W40 (talk) 03:07, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
    The lead section's function is to summarize the main points of a Wikipedia article. I think the present version does a good job of that but will think about your points that "the first paragraph needs less detail and more focus". Shearonink (talk) 06:15, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
    1. It is reasonably well written.
      a (prose, spelling, and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
      Passes this standard. Some quibbles: Like other job titles, "president" should be lower cased unless it immediately precedes the name ("As the President was watching"), ("shot the President"). Same with "ambassador" ("soon to become United States Ambassador to Spain"). There should be no links inside of the quotes ("catafalque").
      Disagree on President/president usage. If the word is referring to the person (who is known as the President of the United States), then it is standing-in for his proper name and should be capitalized. The usage as seen in the article now does not seem incorrect to me, but is there some guidance within WP on this issue?
      Re: catafalque...seems to me that the unfamiliarity of the word would override not Wikilinking it within the quote but perhaps there is a WP guideline on this.
      Re: Ambassador/ambassador: It's true that Hale was an ambassador, but he was the Ambassador to Spain. The usage in the article does not seem incorrect to me. Shearonink (talk) 06:27, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      "Offices, titles, and positions such as president, king, emperor, pope, bishop, abbot, and executive director are common nouns and therefore should be in lower case when used generically," per WP:JOBTITLES. I know this rule gets violate a lot, but lower casing is correct according to all the style books. See here and here. 10W40 (talk) 07:19, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      In Hale's case, it is not being used generically - he was not named the ambassador to spain, he was named the Ambassador to Spain. I think the current usage in the article for President/president seems correct.
      I went through and have listed the first 14 different uses of President/president in this article; Perhaps you can point to where you consider the present usage incorrect:
      • United States President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated
      • The 16th American president, Lincoln was the first
      • who was tasked to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson.
      • As the President was watching the play, -lower case
      • conceived a plan to kidnap President Lincoln
      • and Confederate spy, evaded the president's invitation
      • to capture the President on his way back -lower case
      • Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the rest of his government
      • remembered taking a drive with the Lincolns only days before the president's assassination
      • For months, the President had looked pale and haggard -lower case
      • from the brother of John Ford, the owner, that the President and General Grant would be attending -lower case
      • audience gave the president a rousing standing ovation
      • The president smiled and replied, "She won't think anything about it
      • the President was paralyzed, and barely breathing. Leale lowered the President to the floor -lower case
      If the MOS being referred to in this case of President/president then I think the following points from MOS:JOBTITLES applies:
      When followed by a person's name to form a title, i.e., when they can be considered to have become part of the name: President Nixon, not president Nixon
      When a title is used to refer to a specific and obvious person as a substitute for their name, e.g., the Queen, not the queen, referring to Elizabeth II
      When the correct formal title is treated as a proper name (e.g., King of France; it is correct to write Louis XVI was King of France but Louis XVI was the French king)
      In every single case the usage in this article is referring to a certain person - Abraham Lincoln. If the present usage can be shown to me to be incorrect then I will change it accordingly. Shearonink (talk) 03:19, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
      Non-generic use is when you use the title as a substitute for a person's name, as in "Mr. President." I don't see anything like that in this article. Here's a quote from the corresponding article in Britannica to show you how its done: "On the morning of April 14, 1865, Booth—distraught over the collapse of the Confederacy—learned that the president would be attending a performance of the comedy Our American Cousin that evening at Ford's Theatre. Gathering his fellow conspirators, Booth outlined a plan to assassinate not just President Lincoln but also Vice Pres. Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward." Notice that "president" is lower cased even though it is a reference to Lincoln. Trust me, I know how to edit. 10W40 (talk) 05:50, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
      I again refer you to MOS:JOBTITLES:
      When a title is used to refer to a specific and obvious person as a substitute for their name, e.g., the Queen, not the queen, referring to Elizabeth II
      If I can substitute "Lincoln" for every time the word president is used, then doesn't that seem like a substitute for the name of Abraham Lincoln? Shearonink (talk) 02:47, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
      "Trust me, I know how to edit."... This issue has nothing to do with if you know how to edit or not. I disagree with your opinions on this matter and am formally requesting a second opinion about this usage at WP:GAHELP. Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong...frankly, I don't care which it is but I am asking for a second opinion on this because I want to know what is actually considered correct for Wikipedia in terms of this article's usage. In the meantime, until there's an answer regarding the President/president issue, I would appreciate your going through the other WP:GA criteria and assessing whether or not the article passes those criteria and changing the icons appropriately. Shearonink (talk) 02:47, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
      So. In your opinion, other than President/president...
      "Ambassador to Spain" is correct?
      The Wikilinkage for "catafalque" is correct?
      Shearonink (talk) 02:47, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
      Wikipedia's guidelines are not clearest or best written in the world. But there was never any intention of creating a capitalization style specific to Wikipedia. If you go by any of the published style guides, including the guides recommended in the MOS, these words should be lower cased, i.e. "ambassador to Spain."
      "Items within quotations should not generally be linked; instead, consider placing the relevant links in the surrounding text or in the "See also" section of the article," per MOS:LINKSTYLE. 10W40 (talk) 06:51, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
      The MOS recommends consulting CMOS, which has this to say: "titles are normally lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name" (CMOS, 8.18). Before you drive a truck through the "substitute for their name" exception, take a look at the examples of this that CMOS gives: "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister," "I would have done it, Captain, but the ship was sinking," and "Thank you, Mr. President" (CMOS, 8.19). Here is the AP Style Guide: "Capitalize president only as a formal title before one or more names: President Reagan, Presidents Ford and Carter. Lowercase in all other uses: The president said today. He is running for president. Lincoln was president during the Civil War." 10W40 (talk) 07:40, 25 January 2017 (UTC)
    2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
      a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR): d (copyvio and plagiarism): }
      This, this, and this came up on the copyvio detector. It looks to me like they are copying from us. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so nice going.
    3. It is broad in its coverage.
      a (major aspects): b (focused):
      The mourning of Lincoln currently gets a sentence in the lead and a paragraph under "Aftermath." This was a highly notable aspect of the event. See Mourning Lincoln by Martha Hodes. If Samuel J. Seymour can get a mentioned, surely there is room for Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!."
      Point taken about Whitman. Edited accordingly. Am not certain that the sentences need to be referenced (that Whitman write the poem, the year etc) since there is appropriate Wikilinkage. Let me know what you think. Shearonink (talk) 16:35, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
    4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
      Fair representation without bias:
      Do we want to say that preventing blacks from voting was THE motive for Booth? He had earlier wanted to kidnap Lincoln and take him to Richmond. Once Richmond had fallen, Booth obviously had to revise his plans. If it was for slavery, that only begs the question of: Why did he care so much about slavery? Here's another theory: My Thoughts Be Bloody. We can't cover every theory, but the current writeup makes a complex issue sound very cut and dried.
      I understand your thoughts on this but Booth's statement is well-known and sourced. I have added a wikilink to the section in Booth's article where the matter can be treated in much greater detail than possible in this article (as to the various theories, opinions by historians and others). I tried to use your URL above for My Thoughts Be Bloody but it seems to be broken. Shearonink (talk) 16:35, 22 January 2017 (UTC)
      @10W40: After mulling over your thoughts on the subject I am expanding the Motive section. It's important to list some of them but I don't want the section to become bloated (like with maybe every theory promulgated on the internet...) Anyway, am working on it over the next few days - give me some time to get the text & refs together and let me know what you think. Shearonink (talk) 01:43, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      This article is a standalone item. It shouldn't depend on what's in some other article. Wikipedia is not paper, and all that. I've fixed the link to My Thoughts. The book has a forward by Goodwin, so it probably deserves a mention.10W40 (talk) 03:07, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      Here is a review of My Thoughts. John's brother Edwin was pro-Union and a better actor than he was. John was consumed with sibling rivalry. Or so goes Nora Titone's theory. If that was his motive, he certainly succeeded. In history, Edwin is entirely overshadowed by his less talented brother. To assume that assassins act out of political motive pumps them up. 10W40 (talk) 03:34, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      This article is not dependent on some other [Wikipedia] article, *a Template:Further information was added to link to a section in the John Wilkes Booth article and that has nothing to do with WP:NOTNEWS.
      Per your remarks above I stated *I was expanding the Motive section. I suggest you read that redrafted section which I said I was going to be writing over the next few days.
      Assume that assassins act out of political motive pumps them up? It is a verifiable fact that John Wilkes Booth stated this to Powell. Is it the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the WP:VERIFY/truth? History will actually never really know because Boston Corbett shot Booth before he could be interrogated, so all we have left is: 1)what the man said and did & 2)interpretations by historians and authors of the man and what he said and did. Shearonink (talk) 06:03, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      You should take a look at Titone's book before you judge. It was quite well-reviewed. Lots of people held the same political views as Booth and didn't assassinate anyone. After the assassination, Booth lept on the stage and spoke lines he had obviously prepared in advance. It was the role of a lifetime and he was a star, finally outshining Edwin. Isn't that the exit someone who knew all the Shakespearian tragedies would choose? I am not saying that anybody's theory is wrong! My point is simply that more than one exists in the RS. 10W40 (talk) 06:49, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      I think the part about John Brown just adds confusion. Booth was inspired by Brown in the sense that Brown showed it was possible for a single man to change history through a dramatic action. I don't think most readers will catch that point. Booth became a partisan of the South after a falling out with his brother in 1860, which is a few years after the Brown incident. 10W40 (talk) 11:57, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
      Booth was executed in December 1859. The section now contains what different reliable sources state about Booth's possible motives and makes no value judgement about any of them plus Booth's thoughts on Brown are well-documented - the job of a Wikipedia article is to represent well-sourced various points of view (in this case about Booth's possible motives) about a particular subject. Shearonink (talk) 03:19, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
    5. It is stable.
      Passes this standard.
      No edit wars, etc.:
      No problem here.
    6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
      a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
      I like the "Wanted" poster. You could put it on top of the article. The current lead picture requires a detailed note to explain how it's all wrong, which is distracting. Nice to have the picture of Booth and Lincoln together on Inauguration Day -- and right next to the text that describes this.
      This is an article about the assassination. To put the wanted poster in the infobox, or "on top of the article", gives too much prominence to the assassin and this is not an article about him. The Currier & Ives print is important because it depicts how the country digested the news through the media of the day. And yes, that was all wrong, but people in the North had prints of this scene and "Lincoln on his Deathbed" up in their houses for years and years afterwards. Within the next few days I'll work on removing that sentence from the infobox and instead put it into a footnoted-"Notes" section that will then explain the print. Maybe that will work better. Shearonink (talk) 06:03, 23 January 2017 (UTC)
    7. Overall:


    Just a reminder: As the Review progresses, when the Reviewer ascertains that the article fulfills a particular GA criteria, they will need to fill in the last {{}} section (after the check|) with a y. Please see the Example section of Template:GAList. Thanks, Shearonink (talk) 06:03, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

    I need to know which WP:GA parameters this article has passed. All the parameters are presently showing as greyed-out... no "yes" or "no" or "on hold". Thanks, Shearonink (talk) 02:47, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

    Outside opinions regarding usage of President/president[edit]

    This is what's called "respect capitalization." Writers capitalize nouns that are important to them to show respect. The minions capitalize the boss's title. No where is the problem more serious than with the title U.S. president. 10W40 (talk) 08:55, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

    Comment from uninvolved editor[edit]

    I have concerns about this Good Article Review, specifically relating to the competency with which it is being carried out. I'd advise the reviewer to have a look through GA reviews carried out by experienced editors so they can see where they are going wrong. I share the article nominator's obvious frustrations regarding this GA review's tone and progress. Exemplo347 (talk) 09:01, 25 January 2017 (UTC)


    Yes, I have to agree with the editor above. I've also been following this GAR- with some trepidation at times, it must be said- and I think that we will all agree that the reviewer meant well, and we commend then for their efforts and enthusiasm. However: there are sure signs of uncertainty and misunderstanding in the review, and, going by this, it has been noticed and commented upon before. I reiterate the remarks their talk page, that they should become 'used to Wikipedia and improving articles on your own before attempting to review good articles.' O Fortuna!...Imperatrix mundi. 09:42, 25 January 2017 (UTC)

    The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.