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Warren Commission Report: Page 510« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX VII - A Brief History of Presidential Protection)

Czolgosz, a self-styled anarchist, did not believe 'in rulers of any kind. There is evidence that the organized anarchists in the U.S.A. did not accept or trust him. He was not admitted as a member to any of the secret anarchist societies. No co-plotters were ever discovered, and there is no evidence that he had confided in anyone. A calm inquiry made by two eminent alienists about a year after Czolgosz was executed found that Czolgosz had for some time been suffering from delusions. One was that he was an anarchist; another was that it was his duty to assassinate the President. 29


The assassin said he had no grudge against the President personally but did not believe in the republican form of government or in rulers of any kind. In his written confession he included the words, "'I don't believe one man should have so much service and another man should have none.'" As he was strapped to the chair to be electrocuted, he said: "'I killed the President because he was the enemy of the good people--the good working people. I am not sorry for my crime.' "30


McKinley lingered on for 8 days before he died of blood poisoning early on the morning of September 14. Czolgosz, who had been captured immediately, was swiftly tried, convicted, and condemned to death. Although it seemed to some contemporaries that Czolgosz was incompetent, the defense made no effort to plead insanity. Czolgosz was executed 45 days after the President's death. Investigations by the Buffalo police and the Secret Service revealed no accomplices and no plot of any kind.31

DEVELOPMENT OF PRESIDENTIAL PROTECTION

This third assassination of a President in a little more than a generation--it was only 36 years since Lincoln had been killed--shook the nation and aroused it to a greater awareness of the uniqueness of the Presidency and the grim hazards that surrounded an incumbent of that Office. The first congressional session after the assassination of McKinley gave more attention to legislation concerning attacks on the President than had any previous Congress but did not pass any measures for the protection of the President.32 Nevertheless, in 1902 the Secret Service, which was then the only Federal general investigative agency of any consequence, assumed full-time responsibility for the safety of the President. Protection of the President now became one of its major permanent functions, and it assigned two men to its original full-time White House detail. Additional agents were provided when the President traveled or went on vacation.33


Theodore Roosevelt, who was the first President to experience the extensive system of protection that has surrounded the President ever since, voiced an opinion of Presidential protection that was probably shared in part by most of his successors. In a letter to Senator Henry Cabot Lodge in 1906, from his summer home, he wrote:

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