The Most Notable Assassins in U.S. History

A Brief History of American Assassination Attempts

Richard Lawrence, 1835
Richard Lawrence may not have assassinated a U.S. President, but he was the first one to try. The mentally ill house painter believed he was King Richard III of England and that he needed to kill Andrew Jackson, who was keeping him from ascending to the throne. (The real Richard III died in 1485, by the way). On Jan. 30, 1835, Lawrence shot at the President during the funeral of South Carolina Rep. Warren R. Davis. The shots missed their target, and President Jackson beat the would-be assassin to the ground with his cane. Lawrence was later found guilty by reason of insanity. He lived the rest of his life in a series of mental institutions and died in 1861.

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