January 30, 1835

On January 30, 1835, the very first assassination attempt against an American President occurred. Professional house painter, Richard Lawrence, was waiting in ambush for Andrew Jackson to leave the funeral of South Carolina Representative Warren R. Davis. When Jackson walked by him, Lawrence pulled his pistol from his cloak and tried to shoot Jackson. It misfired. Lawrence then took out his second pistol out and it also misfired. Lucky for Jackson, it was a wet and humid day and revolvers hadn’t been invented yet. Jackson then beat Lawrence with his walking stick until passersby pulled him off his attempted assassin. Why did Lawrence try to kill Jackson? It’s because the man thought he was the Richard III of England and he believed the United States government owed him money. He thought Jackson was being miserly and as President was personally denying him his money and that if he was dead, the Vice President, Martin Van Buren, would allow the bill to be paid. At Lawrence’s trial in April of 1835, it only took the jury five minutes to find him not guilty by reason of insanity. He spent the remainder of his life in an insane asylum and died in 1861, still thinking he was Richard III and that the US government owed him money.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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