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  Origins: As governor of the Indiana Territory, William H. Harrison.

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Presentation on theme: "  Origins: As governor of the Indiana Territory, William H. Harrison."— Presentation transcript:

1   Origins: As governor of the Indiana Territory, William H. Harrison bribed and forced Native Americans to cede their lands to the U.S. government.  These hostile acts angered the Shawnee chief Tecumseh, and brought government soldiers and Native Americans to the brink of war in a period known as Tecumseh's War.  In 1811, Harrison successfully attacked Tecumseh’s village along the Tippecanoe River, earning fame and the nickname "Old Tippecanoe".  Tecumseh's brother Tenskwatawa, known as the Prophet, supposedly set a curse against Harrison and future White House occupants who became president during years with the same end number as Harrison. Can you name them? Randi Henderson and Tom Nugent, "The Zero Curse: More than just a coincidence?" (reprinted from the Baltimore Sun), November 2, 1980, in Syracuse Herald-American, p C-3

2  Targeted killing of a public figure usually for political purposes.  Date back as far as recorded history.  One of the oldest tools of power politics.  Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated.  Over 20 known attempts on U.S. Presidents.

3  In response to the Kennedy assassination, Congress enacted a law on August 28, 1965, making it a federal (no longer merely a state) crime to kill, kidnap, or assault the President, Vice President, or President elect or to threaten these officials with death or bodily harm.  The penalty for killing the President is life imprisonment or death.  The punishment for an attempt on the President's life is imprisonment for a term up to life.

4  Threatening the President of the United States is a class D felony under United States Code Title 18, Section 871.  It consists of knowingly and willfully mailing or otherwise making "any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States".  The U.S. Court of Appeals held that a threat was knowingly made if the maker comprehended the meaning of the words uttered by him.  If in addition to comprehending the meaning of his words, the maker voluntarily and intentionally uttered them as a declaration of apparent determination to carry them into execution.  The offense is punishable by five years in prison, and $250,000 fine.

5  "President Wilson ought to be killed. It is a wonder some one has not done it already. If I had an opportunity, I would do it myself.”

6  “In this country sovereignty resides in the people, not in the President, who is merely their chosen representative. To threaten to kill him or to inflict upon him bodily harm stimulates opposition to national policies, however wise, even in the most critical times, incites the hostile and evil-minded to take the President's life, adds to the expense of his safekeeping, is an affront to all loyal and right-thinking persons, inflames their minds, provokes resentment, disorder, and violence, is akin to treason, and is rightly denounced as a crime against the people as the sovereign power.”

7  “They always holler at us to get an education. And now I have already received my draft classification as 1-A and I have got to report for my physical this Monday coming. I am not going. If they ever make me carry a rifle the first man I want to get in my sights is L. B. J.”  Watts vs. United States  "We agree with petitioner that his only offense here was 'a kind of very crude offensive method of stating a political opposition to the President.' Taken in context, and regarding the expressly conditional nature of the statement and the reaction of the listeners, we do not see how it could be interpreted otherwise.“ Supreme Court

8  In a 1971 interview, Groucho Marx told Flash magazine, "I think the only hope this country has is Nixon’s assassination.”

9  The mailing of letters containing the words "kill Reagan" and depicting the President's bleeding head impaled on a stake.  It was considered a serious threat and the person was charged and convicted.


11  (CNN) In 1976, President Ford issued Executive Order 11905 to clarify U.S. foreign intelligence activities. The order was enacted in response to the post-Watergate revelations that the CIA had staged multiple attempts on the life of Cuban President Fidel Castro.  "No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination."  Following the September 11. 2001, attacks, the White House said the presidential directive banning assassinations would not prevent the United States from acting in self-defense.

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