Political Assassinations and Attempts in US History

The Lasting Effects of Gun Violence Against American Political Leaders

Political Assassinations and Attempts in US History

By:  Martinez, J. Michael

9781631440700
$53.99 Hardback
 2017/11/14
Coming Soon
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2017/11/14
Carrel Books

Limited ***

6.0 X 9.0 in
456 pg



HISTORY / United States / General
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society
The long, dark history of political violence in the United States

Violence has been employed to achieve political objectives throughout history. Taking the life of a perceived enemy is as old as mankind. Antiquity is filled with examples of political murders, such as when Julius Caesar was felled by assassins in 44 BCE.

While assassinations and assassination attempts are not unique to the American way of life, denizens of other nations sometimes look upon the US as populated by reckless cowboys owing to a “Wild West” attitude about violence, especially episodes involving guns.

In this book, J. Michael Martinez focuses on assassinations and attempts in the American republic. Nine American presidents—Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan—have been the targets of assassins. President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt was also a target shortly before he was sworn into office in 1933. Moreover, three presidential candidates—Theodore Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy, and George Wallace—were shot by assailants. In addition to presidents and candidates for the presidency, eight governors, seven U.S. senators, nine U.S. House members, eleven mayors, seventeen state legislators, and eleven judges have been victims of political violence.

Not all political assassinations involve elected officials. Some of those targeted, such as Joseph Smith, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr., were public figures who influenced political issues. But their cases are instructive because of their connection to, and influence on, the political process.

No other nation with a population of over 50 million people has witnessed as many political assassinations or attempts. These violent episodes trigger a series of important questions. First, why has the United States—a country constructed on a bedrock of the rule of law and firmly committed to due process—been so susceptible to political violence? Martinez addresses these questions as he examines twenty-five instances of violence against elected officials and public figures in American history.

“In J. Michael Martinez’s new book Political Assassinations and Attempts in US History, he does a brilliant job of putting US presidential assassinations and attempts under a microscope for an insightful and sobering view of US history.” —Greg Stebben, author of White House Confidential

“J. Michael Martinez’s new book about political assassins is a must read and is a book which I heartedly recommend. His book adds a crucial historical dimension to our understanding of the motives which have driven assassins and would-be assassins in US history.” —Mel Ayton, author of Hunting the President: Threats, Plots and Assassination Attempts

“J. Michael Martinez’s new book about political assassins is a must read and is a book which I heartedly recommend. His book adds a crucial historical dimension to our understanding of the motives which have driven assassins and would-be assassins in US history.” —Mel Ayton, author of Hunting the President: Threats, Plots and Assassination Attempts “This fascinating book provides a deeper understanding into the warning signs, which unfortunately, may be all too plentiful in today’s political climate.” —Mike Farris, author of A Death in the Islands: The Unwritten Law and the Last Trial of Clarence Darrow

“Original and evocative, this book examines within the historical context the nature of assassinations perpetrated against twenty-five American political figures. Grappling with this perplexing issue, Martinez probes the jagged edge of human psychology. He offers a provocative explanation of the underlying motives behind political assassinations, assigning them to five categories.” —Orville Vernon Burton, author The Age of Lincoln

“In Political Assassinations and Attempts in US History, Martinez thoughtfully examines political assassinations in America to understand not just the historically important question of what happened, but, perhaps more importantly, the intriguing one of why individuals resorted to violence against prominent political figures.” —William D. Richardson, author of Democracy, Bureaucracy, and Character: Founding Thought

“In Political Assassinations and Attempts in US History, J. Michael Martinez provides an incisive description and analysis of a problem that has plagued nations and communities. Based on twenty-five instances of violence against elected officials and public figures in the United States, the book contributes new insight to long-standing issue.” —Jeffrey L. Brudney, PhD, Betty and Dan Cameron Family Distinguished Professor of Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector, University of North Carolina Wilmington


J. Michael Martinez is an attorney and author of numerous articles and five books, including The Safety of the Kingdom: Government Responses to Subversive Threats. He lives in Monroe, Georgia.