by a majority of historians that his contempt had eventually given way to respect and that Stanton became staunchly loyal and was always urging Lincoln to accept bodyguards. So, while a lot of the charges against Stanton don’t seem to have a legitimate basis, from my reading it seems that some of them are worth considering. First of all, to me, the planning of an assassination isn’t going to be carried out by common everyday citizens who are unhappy with the rule of their country and take it upon themselves to change it. When you look at who killed Caesar, it was the Roman senators. If there is a conspiracy involved, it’s going to include the highest levels. You always need to ask the question, who profits the most? I wouldn’t rule out the Confederates, because you could understand the motive of revenge. Certainly the list of whom they’d most like to see die would be the people who directly led to their losing the war. But I tend to think there would also be some kind of help from the Union side. They can have ulterior motives, because politics is the name of the game. When you look at the two political parties today, they can be very cutthroat within their own ranks. Why would you expect anything different back then? During the Civil War, Stanton was the second most important official in Washington—but somehow he wasn’t included on Booth’s target list. After the assassination, he not only made himself acting president but took charge of the investigation right away. “While others sat sobbing, he ordered a furious dragnet in which civil liberties were ignored and dozens of people were falsely arrested —none of whom had in any way aided the assassin.”20 In the wake of what had happened, that’s not too surprising. What does raise my eyebrows is that, only a few hours after the assassination, seven names on Stanton’s to-capture list were part of the earlier kidnap plots. Which leads you to conclude that the War Department must have had prior knowledge, at least about those.21 And if they did, how come nobody had been arrested already? Then there’s the matter of Booth’s diary. Yup, Oswald and Sirhan weren’t the first assassins to set down their thoughts ahead of the deed. Booth’s little red book was supposedly removed from his body after he was shot. The diary was taken to Washington and ended up in Stanton’s custody, at which point it disappeared for awhile. When it was located in time for the conspirators’ trial that summer, Lafayette Baker—the fellow who gave the diary, intact, to Stanton —said somebody had removed eighteen pages. Others who’d seen the diary testified that the pages had already gone missing when Stanton received it. But those were all underlings of Stanton’s at the War Department.