The President of the United States, the head of the state and the government of the US, is considered the most politically powerful and influential person in the world. President George Washington was the first President of the United States (POTUS) and President Donald J Trump is the 45th (counting Grover Cleveland twice). There have been 44 presidents who have served at the helm of American administration, prior the current president, and eight died while still in office. Of these, four presidents were killed by assassins (while holding office). These include Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F Kennedy.
President Abraham Lincoln was shot on April 14, 1865 – a Good Friday – as he was watching a play, “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. He succumbed to the wounds the following day. The assassination had been planned and executed by John Wilkes Booth. Booth had been a Confederate sympathizer. The assassination came merely days after General Robert E. Lee, surrendered ending the Civil War.
President James Garfield had been sworn in as the President of the US in March, 1881. He was shot on July 2, 1881, by Charles Guiteau. Guiteau was arrested and found to be of unsound mind. He suffered from bipolar disorder and claimed that he heard voices asking him to shoot Garfield. He also claimed that Garfield had denied him the opportunity to become the US Ambassador to France. Guiteau had stalked the president for over a month and chose to shoot Garfield in the Sixth Street Station as he was about to embark on his vacation. President Garfield died in September 1881 due to complications caused by infections accompanying the gunshots. Guiteau was tried and executed for his crime.
President William McKinley was shot on September 6, 1901, while he was shaking hands with his constituents on the steps of the Temple of Music in Buffalo, New York. His assassin, Leon Czolgosz, was an anarchist who had lost his job during the economic downturn and blamed McKinley for his woes. The President’s secretary had earlier tried to call off this visit to the Temple of Music fearing such an attempt but McKinley had insisted on it. McKinley died eight days later on September 14 due to infections caused by the bullet wounds. Czolgosz was executed for the assassination and the US Congress passed a law entrusting the Secret Service with the president’s security.
John F Kennedy
President John F Kennedy was shot on November 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Jacqueline and the Texas Governor, John Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead shortly after. Lee Harvey Oswald was found guilty of pulling the trigger and is believed to have acted alone. Before Oswald could stand trial, however, he was shot dead by Jack Ruby. Ruby too is believed to have acted out of his own personal anguish over Kennedy’s assassination. There are a number of conspiracy theories, though, which suggest that the real masterminds might have evaded detection.
Apart from this, there were numerous attempts to kill other presidents in the United States. Currently the POTUS is offered the highest level of security in the country.