From Pine View Farm

Oops 0



This is just a quick musing, but it’s worth noting the extent to which political violence is virtually nonexistent in the contemporary United States. The attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981 was the last incident of major political violence. Since then, the odds of violence or injury for a major elected official have dropped dramatically.

I say it’s worth noting because political violence was once a regular feature of American life; in the 20th century, four presidents survived assassination attempts, while two — William McKinley and John Kennedy — were victims. In the 19th century, violence claimed two presidents: Abraham Lincoln and James Garfield, while Andrew Jackson survived an assassination attempt. Attempts have been made on the lives of presidential candidates, some successful — like the assassination of Robert Kennedy — and others, like the attempt on George Wallace, less so. Dozens of elected officials have been violently attacked over the course of American history, and dozens more have been killed (including 24 officials in the Reconstruction South). And of course, this is to say nothing about periods of widespread mob violence, and violence against prominent social leaders, like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s impossible to say whether we’ll see a renewed spike in political violence, but it suffices to say that this current period is remarkably calm, and something of an achievement.

Another nice catch by Feastingonroadkill.


Comments are closed.