Larson uses many source materials throughout the book. In chapter one “Devoted Body and Soul To The Cause”, Larson uses Mrs. Surratt card from L.J. Weichman with additional testimony. This helps to understand what was going on from a different points of views that could have not been brought up. Larson uses many dates throughout the chapter one as well as the rest of the book. Chapter one includes things like “The Assassins! Their Trail at Washington,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 15, 1865. She includes historical facts of things that happened throughout this period.
In chapter two “Creating a Life, Building the Nest,” Larson brings in the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, this is a useful source material because it brings in outside knowledge to the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln. Larson adds in meaningful and knowledgeable source materials that help understand why Mary Surratt is planning to kill Abraham Lincoln. She provides enough endnotes for me to be sure of the source of her facts and for me to evaluate how good her facts are. After reading the book I was able to go back to the endnotes and understand why she put information and facts she did. The spots in the book I was unsure about I was able to back to the notes and understand.
Larson sets the scene for her study of Surratt swiftly at the beginning. She doesn’t esse into the book at all, she states her opinion very clear at the beginning. Larson adds in a handful of important information that helps you understand better, using the appropriate language, and setting the mood off the bat. Larson takes the book back to when Surratt had children and how her children’s life were. Larson provides numberless historical facts like The Treason Trials, The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Conspiracy of 1865, and the House Divided speech by Abraham Lincoln. Larson did not uncover any necessary new information about the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln but she did a splendid job in an organized manner and presenting it clear. From the beginning of the book in chapter one Larson has told us that Surratt was very much guilty and was more involved than the military tribunal uncovered.
The time range of the story starts from the beginning educating us on who Surratt was before she was considered an accomplice to the most shocking assassination in United States history. Also who she was before the Civil war, married to a drunk husband and played the role as a mother. The story goes all the way to the end when Surratt was hung even though some people never thought it would happen. “Mary Surratt was hanged, and suddenly everyone was up in arms about hanging an “innocent woman.” Mind you, it wasn’t that people thought she was innocent of the charges; it was the idea that a woman was too innocent to be sentenced to such a horrifying death,” this is a quote from the book that helps provided evidence why people didn’t think it would be done.
The major figures in this account is mainly Surratt even though she never played an active role as an operative for the Confederate government. Her son John that was in the Confederate government, John Wilkes Booth and Dr. Samuel Mudd played a role in the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln just as much as Surratt. John was very much involved by traveling to different places like Richmond, Virginia, and Canada, but Surratt was still keeping things running in their boarding house. This boarding house was more like a place to keep Confederate spies. We are still unsure if Louis Weichmann was trying to protect himself or if he really knew what was going on with the Confederate spies and Surratt. These people were the major figures in this account to the finding of the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln.
Larson throughout the book poses questions and leaves the discussion to the reader. Larson is biased in this book, she believes that the trial for the people were unfair. She provides a mix of events from Surratt’s life and historical events that help explain a better reason why. Larson clearly explains why she thinks Surratt didn’t have a fair trial, given the factual testimony. We see that because Larson describes the reasoning behind President Johnson’s and the U.S. attorney General James Speed decided to try and accuse the military. Also the emotional distress of Abraham Lincoln’s murder caused a dislike toward the defendants, this is a biased venue from the book. Larsen does a great job making points throughout the book not making it obvious, but may be prior to reading the this text “The assassin’s accomplice: Mary Surratt and the plot to kill Abraham Lincoln.” Larson believes that not guilty or guilt everyone deserves a fair trial, even though during this time the 1865 law says the accused were not allowed to testify.