Anticipating Presidential Protection


secret service

One of the last official acts of President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) before leaving for Ford’s Theater where he would be fatally shot was to sign legislation that created the United States Secret Service.

While the Secret Service would ultimately be charged with the responsibility of protecting the President of the United States, it can hardly be said that Lincoln’s motivations were out of concern for his safety. When the Secret Service was created that day, April 14, 1865, it was for the purpose of combating the growing threat of counterfeiting. It wasn’t until 36 years later, following the assassinations of two more presidents (James Garfield and William McKinley) that Congress added presidential protection to the Secret Service’s responsibilities.

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One thought on “Anticipating Presidential Protection

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  1. The first three presidents assassinated were all shot from a very short distance, while President Kennedy was shot from a long distance. The Secret Service may have prevented the first three assassinations, if they had been used to protect presidents before the Lincoln assassination.

    However, it was more difficult to protect a president traveling in an open vehicle, with his limousine passing many buildings with open windows, including the 6th floor window of the Texas Book Depository Building.

    It is sad that President Lincoln and Congress didn’t have the foresight, to include protecting the president, when creating the Secret Service.

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