Publication information
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Source: Law Notes
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Attempts on the Life of Presidents”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 5
Issue number: none
Pagination: 121

“Attempts on the Life of Presidents.” Law Notes Oct. 1901 v5: p. 121.
full text
McKinley assassination (public response: criticism); lawlessness (mob rule); presidential assassination (laws against).
Named persons


Attempts on the Life of Presidents

     HOW deeply the passions of grave and conservative men were stirred by the assassination of the President is shown by the utterances, while the President’s life still hung in the balance, of distinguished public men advocating lynch-laws. Could anything show more clearly than this how deeply the poison of lynch-law has penetrated the body of the nation? For our own self-respect and our good name among nations, we cannot tolerate this thing, but we should seek to devise legislation which, when an emergency arises, will remove the temptation to mob-violence. It has been proposed to make an attempt to assassinate the president or vice-president, or possibly some of the heads of departments, a capital offense. With regard to attempts on the life of the president, this seems to us a wise measure. It is objected that in the United States no difference should be made between the person of the president and that of a private individual. But we elect the president to a position where he is in especial danger, and our sense of common fairness would indicate that we should take special measures to protect him, not as above the people but as the people’s chief servant. The same principle applies in the case of the other officers indicated, but we should not go beyond our experience, and our experience indicates that political assassins aim always at the responsible head of a government or the titular ruler of a country, and that subordinate officials are in no particular danger from this source.



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