A Brief History Of: The Secret Service

Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

An agent looks on as John McCain concedes the presidency to Barack Obama in Phoenix.

Abraham Lincoln left to Barack Obama not only an example to emulate but also the sentinels who will safeguard his life. In 1865, on the very day he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre, Lincoln green-lighted what would become the U.S. Secret Service, which has been guarding Obama (code-named "Renegade") since May 2007--longer than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history.

The agency's mission has evolved dramatically since its inception under the Treasury Dept. While today more than 3,200 Secret Service members stand ready to sacrifice their lives for the safety of the leader of the free world, the agency's job originally...

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