Plotting to Kill the President: Assassination Attempts from Washington to Hoover

By Mel Ayton | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
The Assassination Attempts
against Theodore Roosevelt

The Secret Service men are a very small but very necessary thorn in the flesh.

—Theodore Roosevelt

Mr. Roosevelt stepped out to the porch of his residence. Less than 100 feet away
in a buggy stood Weilbrenner with a revolver aimed directly at the president as
he stood silhouetted by the light from his library. Within a fraction of a second
a bullet would have sped on its way had not the maniac’s revolver been knocked
from his hand by a Secret Service agent.

—Jacob Riis, friend of Theodore Roosevelt

Forty-two-year-old Theodore (“Teddy”) Roosevelt was one of the most colorful of U.S. presidents. He was also its youngest to date. He was widely known for his charge up San Juan Hill, Cuba, during the SpanishAmerican War, alongside the First U.S. Cavalry, which he organized and dubbed the “Rough Riders.” He was fond of what he called “the strenuous life” and enjoyed hunting, boxing, wrestling, and other types of rigorous sports and exercise.

One of Roosevelt’s first notable acts when he became president was to ask Congress to cut the power of trusts, earning him his reputation as a “trust buster.” He dissolved forty-four monopolistic corporations. Later in his presidency he gave tacit support to rebels in Panama to form a nation independent from Columbia to ensure that the United States

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