The Baltimore Plot was an alleged conspiracy in late February 1861 to assassinate President-elect Abraham Lincoln en route to his inauguration. Allan Pinkerton, eponymous founder of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, played a key role by managing Lincoln's security throughout the journey. Though scholars debate whether or not the threat was real, clearly Lincoln and his advisors believed that there was a threat and took actions to ensure his safe passage through Baltimore.
On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States, a Republican, and the first to be elected from that party.
Shortly after his election, many representatives of Southern states made it clear that secession was inevitable, which greatly increased tension across the nation. President-elect Lincoln survived the alleged assassination attempt in Baltimore, Maryland. On February 23, 1861, he arrived secretly in Washington, D.C. But for the remainder of his presidency Lincoln's many critics would hound him for the seemingly cowardly act of sneaking through Baltimore at night, in disguise, sacrificing his honor for his personal safety. However, the efforts at security may well have been prudent.
Allan Pinkerton was commissioned to provide security for president-elect Lincoln on his journey to Washington, D.C., through Baltimore.
Whether or not there was a plot, Maryland was a slave state with strong Southern sympathies and was considered dangerous territory through which to travel for such a controversial politician.
Lincoln's actions: appropriate, unnecessary, or cowardly
On February 11, 1861, President-elect Lincoln boarded an east-bound train in Springfield, Illinois at the start of a whistle stop tour of seventy towns and cities ending with his inauguration in Washington, D.C. Pinkerton had been hired by railroad officials to investigate suspicious activities and acts of destruction of railroad property along Lincoln's route thr...