Assassinations That Changed the World

Season 1 Episode 4

The Loner Meets the President

Aired Unknown Unknown on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

U.S. Presidents, who are among the most powerful leaders in the world, have often been targets for assassination. Many times the assassin is a lonely outcast of society who, by means of killing the President, looks to achieve some sort of fame or celebrity. There are also assassins who seek to kill Presidents because they are unhappy with government policies or have some sort of political agenda of their own. And sometimes they are obsessed individuals who look to impress someone they admire. This was the case with John Hinckley who successfully shot President Reagan in March of 1981. Reagan survived and Hinckley claimed that he tried to kill the President to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Other Presidents who survived assassination attempts include: Andrew Jackson, who miraculously avoided being shot at point blank range by a disgruntled political office seeker whom Jackson had dismissed; after he left office, Theodore Roosevelt was shot and seriously wounded by a demented man; and, Harry Truman, whose guard was shot and killed by Puerto Rican nationalists in 1950. There have been four U.S. Presidents who have been killed by an assassin's bullet. The first was Abraham Lincoln who was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth in April of 1865. Booth was an ardent confederate sympathizer and was unhappy with the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox just eight days before the assassination. Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley were shot and killed by assassins who disagreed with or felt slighted by their political beliefs and actions. However, probably the most dramatic assassination of a U.S. President was the shooting death of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Kennedy's assassin, presumed to be Lee Harvey Oswald, was an avowed Marxist who was shot and killed two days later by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Theories and rumors abound regarding whether or not Oswald was the lone gunman, however, Oswald does fit the profile of manymoreless

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