The 4 US presidents assassinated during their term

Four US Presidents, each representing distinct eras and facing unique circumstances, were assassinated during their time in office.

Throughout American history, the presidency has been marked by moments of triumph, challenge, and tragedy. Among the most harrowing events in the nation’s narrative are the assassinations of its leaders. Four presidents, each representing distinct eras and facing unique circumstances, fell victim to assassination during their time in office.

From the towering figure of Abraham Lincoln, who led the nation through the Civil War, to the youthful vigor of John F. Kennedy, whose vision inspired a generation, these leaders left an indelible mark on American history.

Their untimely deaths not only shook the nation to its core but also altered the course of history, prompting reflection on the fragility of democracy and the enduring legacy of those who have served as its guardians. In this article, we delve into the lives and legacies of the American presidents whose lives were tragically cut short by the hands of assassins while in office.

The US Presidents assassinated during their term

Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy are the four US presidents who were assassinated during their terms as US Presidents. In all, there have been 16 assassination attempts on US presidents.

Abraham Lincoln – 1865

On April 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, Lincoln was shot by Southern actor John Wilkes Booth, as part of a larger conspiracy to try to weaken the Union. The (failed) plan also involved assassinating the Vice President and the Secretary of State, thus eliminating the three highest positions in the State.

James Garfield – 1881

On July 2, 1881, while visiting Orange, Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau. The reasons for the act are attributed to the fact that Guiteau expected a reward for helping Garfield in the election campaign and had asked the Secretary of State, James Blaine, to be appointed US consul in Paris, but this was denied.
His mandate was one of the shortest in history, lasting only from March to September 1881.

William McKinley – 1901

On September 6, 1901, after giving a speech at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the president was killed by an anarchist of Polish origin, Leon Czolgosz, who shot him with a revolver. McKinley was the third president in 40 years to be killed during his term.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy – 1963

On November 22, 1963, Kennedy, while visiting Dallas, was killed by rifle shots fired by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was arrested and killed 2 days later. For this reason Oswald did not undergo any trial. President Johnson established the Warren Commission to investigate Kennedy’s assassination. Hundreds of thousands of people watched the funeral broadcast via satellite television.

The other US president who died while in office

Four other American presidents have died while in office. These presidents all died from natural causes, either from illnesses or medical conditions:

  • 1841: William Henry Harrison

  • 1850: Zachary Taylor

  • 1923: Warren G. Harding

  • 1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt

What happens if a US president dies while in office?

In the event of the death of a sitting US President, the Vice President promptly assumes the presidency by taking the oath of office, as mandated by the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution.

This constitutional provision delineates the succession protocol, facilitating a seamless transfer of authority. Consequently, the Vice President steps into the role of President for the remainder of the term, ensuring continuity in governance.

Read also: Who can run for president of the United States? Requirements, role and powers

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