The First Presidential Assassination Attempt
Through the course of American History, there have been four confirmed Presidential Assassinations and two more rumored assassinations. There have also been over 90 confirmed Presidential Assassination attempts on sitting presidents.
As with all history, there was a first time. The first assassination attempt in American History of an American President was the attempt to kill Andrew Jackson on May 6, 1833.
President Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was elected as the seventh President of the United States in 1829. Before being elected President, Jackson served as the military governor of Florida after commanding American forces at the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812. Nicknamed Old Hickory, Jackson is remembered for his rugged toughness and his return of the government to the people. Jackson also has a scarred legacy due to his treatment of Native Americans and his support and use of slavery.
The First Assassination Attempt
The first attempt to assassinate a sitting American President occurred on May 6, 1833. Jackson had dismissed Robert B. Randolph from the United States Navy for charges for embezzlement. On May 6, Jackson sailed to Fredericksburg, Virginia to pay homage to Mary Ball Washington, George Washington's mother. While Jackson was in Alexandria, Virginia, Randolph appeared and struck the President. Jackson was not seriously injured. Randolph fled the scene and was chased down by Jackson supporters, including the author Washington Irving. Jackson did not press charges.
The Second Assassination Attempt
The second attempt on Jackson's life occurred on January 30, 1835. Jackson was leaving the U.S. Capitol after attending the funeral of U.S. Representative Warren Davis. While walking out of the East Portico, Richard Lawrence stepped out from the crowd and aimed a pistol at Jackson. It misfired. Lawrence then pulled out a second pistol and aimed it at Jackson. It also misfired.
Legend has it that after the second misfire, Jackson began beating Lawrence with his cane until he was held back by his aides. Those around Jackson then restrained Lawrence. Theories state that moisture due to humidity caused the pistols to misfired.
Jackson & Lawrence
Richard Lawrence had no political motives to kill Andrew Jackson. In fact, Lawrence was an unemployed house painter from England who suffered from mental defects. After being arrested, Lawrence told doctors that he tried to kill Jackson because it was his fault he could not find work as a house painter. Lawrence claimed that with Jackson dead, "money would be plenty." Later, Lawrence told detectives that he was the deposed English King Richard III which was amazing since Richard III died in 1485. Lawrence was deemed mentally insane and spent the remainder of his life institutionalized and was never charged with the crime of trying to kill the President of the United States.
Andrew Jackson finished his Presidency without further attempts on his life by assassins, although there were many who wanted Jackson dead due to his stance on the Bank of United States and other political policies.
- Benedict Arnold: From Founding Father To Traitor
The name Benedict Arnold in American lore is synonymous with being a traitor to the United States. And with good reason. Benedict Arnold for his own personal reasons and benefit committed crimes against the...
- Full Circle: The Story of Philidelphia, Mississippi
The small Mississippi town of Philadelphia has a notorious and sordid past. Fifty years ago the town of only seven thousand was in the middle of the fight for civil rights and stood for the South’s...
More by this Author
The name Benedict Arnold in American lore is synonymous with being a traitor to the United States. And with good reason. Benedict Arnold for his own personal reasons and benefit committed crimes against the American...
The first female attorney in the United States was Arabella Mansfield. Mansfield was admitted to the Iowa State Bar in 1869. Despite an Iowa State Law that only allowed white males over the age of the twenty one to take...
Ask any grade school student in New York or Chicago what City is the capital of California; most would likely say Los Angeles or San Francisco. As amazing as it may seem, however, the Capitol of California is the City...