Andrew Jackson’s Assassination Attempt

Did you know the first attempted assassination of a sitting president of the United States (that we know of) was against Andrew Jackson? It was in 1835. An unemployed housepainter tried to shoot him. Twice. The pistols misfired both times.

Jackson hit the failed assassin with his cane, as you do, and then the guy was carted away and put in an insane asylum for the rest of his life, because among other things he believed he was King Richard III.

I just want to prepare you in case this shows up in a self-valorizing Trump ramble.

Possible talking points: The assassin was an immigrant (from England) and although he was pretty unambiguously a crazed lone actor, there were conspiracy theories that blamed the Whigs (and you can extend this conspiracy theory to make contemporary Democrats secretly Whigs). There was, at the time, an argument similar to the one over the bank bailout crossed with sniping about the Federal Reserve. (Jackson’s deregulation of the banking sector and dissolution of the bank of the U.S. destabilized the financial system, sparking off a seven-year recession – the panic of 1837 – with unemployment as high as 25%. Such a great president.)

Also, Jackson, and Jackson fans, believed the misfires were caused by God’s direct intervention, although God didn’t think it was especially important to for instance cure the assassin of madness before it got to that point.

But what am I even talking about; you don’t need to prepare. I mean, if this administration has taught us anything.

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