On this day in 1835, Richard Lawrence tried to gun down Andrew Jackson in the Capitol building, the first presidential assassination attempt in American history. And while this is clearly a job for my co-blogger, who cultivates his image as “Assassination Boy*,” I do have a few thoughts on the subject.
Lawrence, a painter, seems to have been driven mad by the fumes from his materials. Not that wanting to kill Andrew Jackson was evidence of madness. On the contrary. Anyway, by 1835, Lawrence had, for some time, believed that he was Richard III. Which is odd, because King Richard had died roughly four centuries earlier. Odder still? Lawrence suspected that Jackson was blocking his ascendance to the throne. When, in fact, nothing could have been further from the truth. Jackson was a huge Plantagenetophile. As everyone knows. So why would he have stood in the way of Lawrence’s restoration? Something doesn’t add up here.
Regardless, Lawrence decided to kill Jackson. And in the event, after both of Lawrence’s pistols misfired, a crowd of congressman, including Davy Crockett, pinned him to the ground. Jackson then beat Lawrence with a cane. After Davy Crockett had already whupped him. Nice.
So here’s the thing: given that Lawrence was obviously mentally ill**, it’s pretty clear that Andrew Jackson, in addition to having been an unrepentant slaveholder and a bloodthirsty killer of Indians, hated the disabled. Right? So now can we please stop treating him like a hero? Let the denigration begin.
* Did you know that Eric had an IMDB page? Neither did I. Withholding stands in the way of the therapeutic process, Eric.
** Why else would the King of England be working in the United States as a painter? Try and keep up, people. It’s simple.