Journal of Community Health

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 309–324 | Cite as

A. Lincoln, Esquire Defends The Murdererof A Physician

  • Allen D. Spiegel
  • Florence Kavaler


After only about a year of law practice, Abraham Lincoln participated in his first murder trial. Dr. Jacob M. Early was shot and killed in a bitter political imbroglio. Lincoln joined a defense team of highly accomplished litigators. Despite his having the least legal experience, he was selected to give the defense summation. In his argument, he spoke to the jury in a conversational tone making his point that Dr. Early had a deadly weapon in his hands, namely an upraised wooden chair, when he was shot. His self-defense plea indicated that Henry B. Truett, the defendant, truly believed that he was in danger of being crushed by the upraised chair. Interestingly, Lincoln knew both the defendant and the murdered physician. He handled litigation for the former and served in the Black Hawk War under the command of the latter. Furthermore Lincoln knew at least five of the jurors.


Abraham Lincoln Black Hawk War murder Stephen A. Douglas Stephen T. Logan 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen D. Spiegel
    • 1
  • Florence Kavaler
    • 1
  1. 1.Professors of Preventive Medicine and Community HealthState University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, College of Medicine, SUNY, Downstate Medical CenterBrooklynUSA

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