One hundred and seventy-nine years ago today, on January 30, 1835, President Andrew Jackson emerged from the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. when a man named Richard Lawrence ran up to him pointing a pistol. Pointing the gun at Jackson’s back, Lawrence pulled the trigger. The gun misfired. Lawrence, however, had brought a backup weapon–the pistols were a matching set, probably intended for dueling–so he pulled that one out and aimed directly at the President, who by now was clearly aware of what was going on. Miraculously, with a dull click, Lawrence’s second gun misfired too. The group of onlookers and dignitaries surrounding Jackson, including Congressman Davy Crockett, wrestled Lawrence to the ground and he was arrested shortly thereafter.
Jackson was incredibly lucky. The first U.S. President to be the victim of an assassination attempt, he was the only one to be attacked at point-blank range with not one but
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