Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Presidential Protection

Presidential protection is very high, but this wasn't always the case.  This is a nice history of presidential protection.  Before Lincoln there was pretty much no protection on the President:
In the early days of the Republic, there was remarkably little concern about the safety of Presidents and few measures were taken to protect them. They were at times the objects of abuse and the recipients of threatening letters as more recent Presidents have been, but they did not take the threats seriously and moved about freely without protective escorts. On his inauguration day, Thomas Jefferson walked from his boarding house to the Capitol, unaccompanied by any guard, to take the oath of office. There was no police authority in Washington itself until 1805 when the mayor appointed a high constable and 40 deputy constables.1

John Quincy Adams received many threatening letters and on one occasion was threatened in person in the White House by a court-martialed Army sergeant. In spite of this incident, the President asked for no protection and continued to indulge his fondness for solitary walks and early morning swims in the Potomac.2

Among pre-Civil War Presidents, Andrew Jackson aroused particularly strong feelings. He received many threatening letters which, with a fine contempt, he would endorse and send to the Washington Globe for publication. On one occasion in May 1833, Jackson was assaulted by a former Navy lieutenant, Robert B. Randolph, but refused to prosecute him. This is not regarded as an attempt at assassination, since Randolph apparently did not intend serious injury. 3

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