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September 13, 1995

Presidential Disability and the Twenty-fifth Amendment

Author Affiliations

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Md

JAMA. 1995;274(10):799. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530100037029
Abstract

To the Editor.  —The fine article by Drs Aaron and Rockoff1 on the attempted assassination of President Reagan omits an extraordinary fact: for the first 50 years of this republic, an assault on the president was unthinkable—so unthinkable that personal protective services were not even provided for him. Thus, the circumstances of the first presidential assault and attempted assassination are of considerable interest.On May 6, 1833, President Andrew Jackson, then in his second term, was aboard a steamboat docked at Alexandria, Va. Robert Randolph, recently dismissed from the navy, approached the seated president and suddenly "thrust his fist violently into Jackson's face as if to pull his nose." Jackson cried out and a scuffle ensued. Aides of the president, as well as the writer Washington Irving, grappled with Randolph, who was able to throw them off and flee. Jackson, his cane upraised, started in pursuit, but aides stopped

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