John Wilkes Booth was a famous actor in his day. Many historians currently believe that he was actually a spy for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The fact that he was an actor allowed him to explain why he travelled around the war-torn country without question. If you're ever in an airport and you see someone famous going through the TSA search quicker than you do, this is something to think about.
Booth was a loyalist to the Confederacy and we was quite upset by the Emancipation Proclamation. The original plan was to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln not assassinate him. The idea was to cause total chaos with the government to cause it collapse. Eventually, the plan was changed to assissination but not just to Lincoln, but to the the Vice President, Andrew Johnson, and the Secretary of State, William Seward. Booth is famous because he succeed but his two buddies, George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell, did not. Atzerodt was supposed to kill Johnson, but he just chickened out. Powell almost succeeded. While Seward was lying in bed sick with his daughter, Fanny, by his side and with a soldier, Private George Robinson, posted for security (good move). Powell gained access by pretending to be a deliverer of medicine. He gained access to the upstairs of the house by pistol whipping Seward's son, Frederick, and then stormed into Seward's room flaying a Bowie knife. Seward survived but he and his family's life changed for the worse. It was a very disturbing event.
Powell, Atzerodt and 2 other conspirators (David Herold and Mary Surratt) were hung the very next day.