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Warren Commission Report: Page 504« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX VI - Commission Procedures for the Taking of Testimony)

APPENDIX VII - A Brief History of Presidential Protection

In the course of the history of the United States four Presidents have been assassinated, within less than 100 years, beginning with Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Attempts were also made on the lives of two other Presidents, one President-elect, and one ex-President. Still other Presidents were the objects of plots that were never carried out. The actual attempts occurred as follows:


Andrew Jackson Jan. 30, 1835.
Abraham Lincoln Apr. 14, 1865. Died Apt. 15, 1865.
James A. Garfield July 2, 1881. Died Sept. 19, 1881.
William McKinley. Sept. 6, 1901. Died Sept. 14, 1901.
Theodore Roosevelt Oct. 14, 1912. Wounded; recovered.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Feb. 15, 1933.
Harry S. Truman Nov. 1, 1950.
John F. Kennedy. Nov. 22, 1963. Died that day.


Attempts have thus been made on the lives of one of every five American Presidents. One of every nine Presidents has been killed. Since 1865, there have been attempts on the lives of one of every four Presidents and the successful assassination of one of every five. During the last three decades, three attacks were made.


It was only after William McKinley was shot that systematic and continuous protection of the President was instituted. Protection before McKinley was intermittent and spasmodic. The problem had existed from the days of the early Presidents, but no action was taken until three tragic events had occurred. In considering the effectiveness of present day protection arrangements, it is worthwhile to examine the development of Presidential protection over the years, to understand both the high degree of continuing danger and the anomalous reluctance to take the necessary precautions.

BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR

In the early days of the Republic, there was remarkably little concern about the safety of Presidents and few measures were taken to protect them. They were at times the objects of abuse and the recipients of threatening letters as more recent Presidents have been, but they did not take the threats seriously and moved about freely without protective escorts. On his inauguration day, Thomas Jefferson walked from his boarding house to-the Capitol, unaccompanied by any guard, to take the oath of office. There was no police authority in Washing-
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