Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief

Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief

Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief

Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief

Synopsis

The assassinations and attempted assassinations of American presidents were pivotal events that reverberated throughout the nation, even in cases where the murder was botched. The individuals behind each plot are often fascinating studies in obsession and distorted perception of realityaelike President James Garfield's assassin, who spent an extra dollar on the gun he chose for the act simply because it would look better in a museum display after the event.For the first time under one cover, this text offers a concise study of every presidential assassination, attempt, and rumor. Each chapter focuses on a single American assassination, providing an analysis of the president, the assassin, and the events that shaped their arrival at that place in time. The chapter then describes the assassination or attempt itself and the long-term impacts of the crime. Accounts of the more contemporary incidents involving Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush especially demonstrate the evolution of the monumental task of protecting the U.S. president in a free and open society

Excerpt

Article II of the U.S. Constitution states very explicitly that the “executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” The Office of the President, since the establishment of this American governmental institution under President George Washington, has been the most visible and widely known office in American government. While the power and prestige of both the U.S. Congress and the Supreme Court cannot be dismissed, the powers that the Constitution gives to the president of the United States are vast. The president is the commander-in-chief of the military, he can grant reprieves and pardons, and he is empowered with a cabinet. He is also given the power to enter into treaties and appoint ambassadors and federal justices (including those on the U.S. Supreme Court), all with the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate. These are, however, only his formal powers, those specified in the U.S. Constitution. The president also has what are called implied powers, and these relate to his ability to issue executive orders, give speeches, and hold press conferences. Taken together, these powers have helped to establish the American president as the most prominent and visible member, both nationally and internationally, of the American government. In a sense, the person who holds the office of the president is often perceived, by those outside of the United States and U.S. citizens alike, as the sole representative of our American government.

As a result of being America’s most prominent leader, the president is often the focus of the public’s attention. There are many who listen to the president in order to understand the policies of the U.S. government. There are many who agree with the president and his position on public policies, and these people often become his ardent supporters. However, in a democratic electorate there are often those who disagree with the president’s policies, and they can . . .

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