Sudden Death, Assassination Attempts, and Mourning
The American political system experiences its greatest challenge when the life of the one elected to lead the country is threatened. The death of a president, from illness or especially by assassination, traumatizes the nation and plunges it into a period of questioning, reflection, and ritualized mourning. However, from the peaceful, constitutional transfer of power to the vice president, there emerges renewed confidence in our method of government.
Eight presidents have died in office. Four died from natural causes--William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Four were killed by assassins’ bullets—Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy.
|1835||Andrew Jackson||Richard Lawrence||Jackson is unhurt|
|1865||Abraham Lincoln||John Wilkes Booth||Lincoln is killed|
|1881||James Garfield||Charles Guiteau||Garfield is killed|
|1901||William McKinley||Leon Czolgosz||McKinley is killed|
|1912||Theodore Roosevelt||John Schrank||Roosevelt is wounded|
|1933||Franklin Roosevelt||Giuseppe Zangara||Roosevelt is unhurt|
|1950||Harry S. Truman||Oscar Collazo||Truman is unhurt|
|1950||Harry S. Truman|| Oscar Collazo |
|Truman is unhurt|
|1963||John F. Kennedy||Lee Harvey Oswald||Kennedy is killed|
|1975||Gerald R. Ford||Lynette Fromme||Ford is unhurt|
|1975||Gerald R. Ford||Sara Jane Moore||Ford is unhurt|
|1981||Ronald Reagan||John Hinckley Jr.||Reagan is wounded|