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Source: Iowa State Register
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Protecting the President”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Des Moines, Iowa
Date of publication: 1 November 1901
Volume number: 46
Issue number: 256
Pagination: 4

“Protecting the President.” Iowa State Register 1 Nov. 1901 v46n256: p. 4.
full text
presidential assassination (laws against); McKinley assassination (government response).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz.


Protecting the President

     A Washington correspondent says that the commission which is engaged in codifying the Federal statutes has drafted a bill intended to promote the safety of the president of the United States, and that this measure will be promptly introduced when congress next meets. By this bill an assault upon the president, whether successful or not, is made a crime punishable by death, while the prescribed penalty for threatened violence is a fine of $5,000. It is also provided in the measure that all who are accessories to the crime shall be held to be equally responsible and shall be punished with like severity, this clause being especially designed to bring to justice anarchists or others who inspire assassination. So far so good, but the bill goes on to provide that the infliction of the proposed penalties shall be restricted in that the threat or the assault upon the president must have been inspired by something which the president has done or has failed to do in the discharge of the duties of his office. This clause spoils the whole bill, and should be stricken out as it makes it a half way measure and provides a loophole for the escape of most any assassin. It is very much to be doubted, for instance, if Czolgosz could have been convicted under a law containing such a clause. It is claimed that this clause is necessary as in his personal capacity the president has the same standing as any other citizen and congress has no right to give him especial Federal protection. There should be no quibbling over technicalities in this matter, and if congress has not the right to pass a law giving full protection to the president of the United States at all times the constitution should be sufficiently modified to provide for such a law, and the people will promptly so modify the constitution if they are given the opportunity to do so.



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