Excerpt from The Princeton Review: January-December, 1881
Three times, at the national capital, within the recollection of men not yet old, a President of the United States has stood at the peril of death from the pistol of the half-crazed assassin, desperately resolved to take his life for political reasons alone.
The revenge and the wild rush for office which jackson's introduction of the spoils system had aroused were pregnant enough of danger, when his attack upon the National Bank soon after - distorted into a national crime by reckless partisans aggravated that excitement into a frenzy more intense and lawless than the country had ever seen before. Hate, impreca tions, and bloody threats filled the air. It was too much for ill-balanced, excitable minds. On the 3oth January, 1835, as President Jackson, with two of his secretaries, was passing from the rotunda to the eastern portion of the Capitol, Richard Lawrence levelled a pistol at his heart, of which only the cap exploded, and before he could use the pistol in his other hand the assassin's arm was seized. Fearful excitement and wild clamor swelled over the land.
There are curious analogies between the cases of Lawrence and Guiteau. Both assassins belonged to the army of spoils seeking idlers who lounge about the national capital, claiming to be out of employment, and importuning the government for favors; Both bought pistols of large calibre expressly for the assassination. Both repeatedly practised at targets to make sure of a deadly aim. As Guiteau once, when ready, forbore to shoot lest Mrs. Garfield should be excited, so Lawrence once forbore to shoot lest a funeral might be disturbed. Each, after the deed, was equally composed and without regret or fear of punishment. Each alike claimed to be a patriot acting for the good of his country. Lawrence's hope of protection was in the National Bank and its supporters, as that of Guiteau was in the Stalwart faction and its Chieftain. Lawrence declared his act would make Clay, Webster, or Calhoun President, as Guiteau declared his would make Arthur President.
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