16 Presidential Assassins Who Failed To Kill The President

Published February 19, 2018
Updated February 20, 2018

No matter how strange some of these would-be Presidential assassins might seem, every one of them came close to changing everything.

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16 Presidential Assassins Who Failed To Kill The President
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Four out of 45 American Presidents have been assassinated. Statistically speaking, that means there's a 1 in 11 chance a President's term will end in murder. That's pretty bad, but it gets a lot worse because the odds someone will at least try are pretty close to 100%.

Madmen and radicals have been trying to make their mark in history by murdering a President since the time of Andrew Jackson, and some of them have gotten way too close for comfort. We remember the men who pulled it off.

We remember John Wilkes Booth, who shot Abraham Lincoln in the head during a play. We remember Charles Guiteau, who killed James Garfield; Leon Czolgosz, who killed William McKinley; and Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot John F. Kennedy. There are dozens more, though, who come within inches of killing the seating President of the United States.

Some of these would-be Presidential assassins had political reasons; many more were just insane. Some of their reasons are downright absurd, from the man who tried to kill Ronald Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster to the woman who tried to kill Gerald Ford to impress Charles Manson. Others, though, are stories of historical struggles, with freedom fighters taking their causes too far and becoming terrorists with an attempt on the President's life.

Some almost got close enough to take their shot; others got close enough that they actually took it. Some were stopped by civilian heroes, some by Secret Service agents, some by their own consciences, and some by nothing short of a miracle.

Some of the stories are incredible, and some of the stories seem completely absurd. But no matter how strange some of these would-be Presidential assassins might seem, every one of them came close to changing everything. Because if any one of these would-be killers had pulled off their plots, everything would have changed.


Next, check out these horrifying photographs from the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the CIA's crazy plots to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver is a writer, teacher and father whose work has appeared on The Onion's StarWipe, Yahoo, and Cracked, and can be found on his website.
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