The Most Famous Assassinations in American History

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated while delivering a speech last July. Local media reported the gunman was “dissatisfied” with Abe, though details about the crime are still emerging.

The killing shocked Japan. The nation is one of the safest in the world and has among the strictest gun control laws. The gunman reportedly used a homemade weapon.

These kinds of attacks are much more common in the U.S., as would-be assailants have little difficulty acquiring firearms. Throughout U.S. history, dozens of politicians, activists, celebrities, and other notable people have been assassinated.

24/7 Tempo reviewed historical sources such as History and Encyclopedia Britannica to compile a list of some of the most infamous assassinations in American history.

Throughout U.S. history four presidents have been assassinated, in addition to several other attempts and near misses. Activists and other political figures are common targets for these killings, particularly during the Civil Rights Era, when Black Americans were often killed while calling for equality. These are the most important moments of the Civil Rights movement.

Nearly all of the assassinations on this list were carried out using a gun. A number of other near misses, including the shooting of President Ronald Reagan, also featured firearms. A handful of others were carried out with bombs or unknown weapons. These are the most famous failed assassinations.

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