The Politico reports:
On this day in 1835, Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) became the first U.S. president to be targeted by an assassin.
Richard Lawrence, an unemployed house painter, approached Jackson as he left a congressional funeral held in the House chamber of the Capitol and shot at him. His gun misfired.
A delusional Lawrence believed that the U.S. government owed him a large sum that Jackson was keeping from him.
Release of the funds, he thought, would allow him to take his rightful place as King Richard III of England.
Jackson, who was 67 at the time, repeatedly clubbed Lawrence with his walking cane.
During the ensuing scuffle, Lawrence took another pistol out of his pocket and pulled the trigger. But that gun also misfired.
Bystanders joined in, wrestling Lawrence to the ground and disarming him. One of them was Rep. Davy Crockett of Tennessee.
The U.S. Secret Service — which is now charged with protecting presidents, members of their families and other high-ranking officials — did not undertake such duties until 1901.
Historians have come to view Lawrence as a mentally unstable person, but the Democratic president became convinced that his political enemies in the rival Whig Party had hired Lawrence to assassinate him.
At the time, Jackson was locked in a bitter struggle with the Whigs over his ultimately successful effort to scuttle the Bank of the United States.
Hat tip: Reddit.
Editor in Chief, THL
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