October 14, 2020: Theodore Roosevelt Assassination Attempt


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Thanks for having me, Vanessa. Hello everyone. Today, we're covering the attempted assassination of president. Theodore Roosevelt committed just minutes before he was scheduled to give a speech in Wisconsin as he ran for his third term. Let's go back to Milwaukee on the evening of October Fourteenth Nineteen twelve a little after eight PM. It was called that evening but Theodore Roosevelt supporters didn't mind a little chill. They were just excited to see their candidate up-close bundled in thick coats. They waited patiently outside the Gill Patrick Hotel on Third Street eager for a glimpse of the former president. Though. The weather was frosty that night it was nothing compared to the bitter fight for the US presidency with just weeks until the election tensions were running high but Roosevelt paid little attention to the drama of the campaign and focused instead on shoring up his support wherever he went large crowds. Cheered him on fifty-three-year-old Roosevelt had already served two terms as president. But this time he faced an uphill climb. To the white. House, as a third party candidate, he didn't have the infrastructure of the Republican or Democratic parties. So his frequent stops around the country were vital part of his plan. He would need every single vote if he was to win his way back to the Oval Office, which is probably why on October fourteenth he stopped for a moment to greet the supporters who waited outside his Milwaukee Hotel. After a few moments shaking hands Roosevelt climbed into his open top car. He took off his hat and waved at the crowd eliciting a cheer that nearly muffled the sound of a gunshot from just a few feet away thirty six year old John Shrank pulled revolver and fired a round into the candidates chest. As Roosevelt's Naga for restrained shrank the crowd surrounding him turned vicious just as they were poised to exact vengeance on the would be assassin Roosevelt called out for restraint between strained breaths asked for shrank to be brought forward to him. Roosevelt demanded his attacker explain himself but only received a steely silence in reply seeing that he wouldn't get a straight answer Roosevelt ordered the shooter be turned over to the police only then did he reach inside his coat to feel where the bullet him? He felt a hole, the size of a small coin in his shirt and told an. He Pink Me. He then coughed three times into his hand to make sure there was no blood satisfied that the bullet hadn't punctured his lung. He ordered his driver to take into the Milwaukee Auditorium injured or not he was determined to give his speech. Minutes later Roosevelt time stage and ask for silence from the crowd as the audience quieted down. Roosevelt announced. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot. He then pulled from his coat pocket, a fifty page speech that was folded in half right through the centre was the hole through which the bullet traveled the thick speech as well as his woollen coat had helped slow the bullet down. Waving the papers in the Air Roosevelt said I was going to make a long speech and it probably saved me from the bullet going into my heart. So I cannot make very long speech, but I will try my best. The fifty three year old former president proceeded to speak for eighty four minutes while he talked. He usually glared at the AIDS who were standing by in case he collapsed seemingly annoyed that they thought a single bullet could stop him. Roosevelt was willing to do whatever it took to get back in the White House even if it killed him. Up Next will examine Roosevelt's nineteen twelve presidential campaign and the reason John Shrank wanted him dead. 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So much I think what I like most about best fiends is that it's challenging without being so difficult that it's frustrating with over five thousand best fiends puzzles to solve. It looks like all never be bored again, download best fiends free today on the apple APP store or Google play. That's friends without the our best fiends now back to the story. On the evening of October Fourteenth Nineteen. Twelve disgruntled saloon keeper, John Shrank Shot Theodore Roosevelt Wall. The presidential candidate was on his way to win election rally. Luckily, fifty-three-year-old Roosevelt's thick coat and speech notes slowed the bullet down and he escaped without serious injury. My guest host Lamy is going to take over from here to discuss the aftermath of the shooting as well as the factors that drove John Shrank to violence. Thanks Vanessa. Following his speech at the Milwaukee Auditorium fifty-three-year-old Roosevelt finally allowed his aides to rush him to the hospital. x-rays of his chest showed that the bullet broke one of Roosevelt's ribs and ended up lodged near his right lung. And there it was to remain doctors decided it was best to leave the bullet where it was rather than risk invasive surgery to retrieve it confident that he was in no more danger. Roosevelt sent a telegram to his wife describing his wound as trivial. But were it not for his thick coat and full pockets Roosevelt not have been so flippant thirty, six year old John Shrinks aim was true. He simply got lucky. While? Roosevelt. was being examined by doctors shrank was being interrogated. The would be assassin eventually gave several reasons for wanting the president dead chief among them was the fact that Roosevelt was running for office again in the first place. See Roosevelt already, a two-term commander in chief was seeking re election after just three years out of office. Traditionally. US. Presidents limit themselves to two four year terms. Roosevelt ignored that tradition when he threw his hat in the ring in nineteen twelve formerly of Republican Roosevelt split from the party after they refused to back his campaign opting to run under the banner of the Progressive Party. And though he had plenty of supporters, Roosevelt also amassed a large collection of detractors who argued he was breaking with tradition by running again. One such a poser was John Shrink who followed Roosevelt's campaign around the country waiting for the right moment to strike. When they searched shrink investigators found a letter addressed to his fellow citizens in his pocket. It described a dream he'd had in which Roosevelt's predecessor President William McKinley asked shrank to. His death. Presumably that's what shrank tried to do that October evening. But at his trial less than a month later, shrink a different explanation for his crime. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder but argued that he never intended to kill. Roosevelt. In his statement to the court he said. I sought to warn citizen Roosevelt that two terms as president or enough and force him to desist from his attempt to seize an honor never before granted an American citizen. Despite the clarity of mind needed to make such an eloquent argument shrink was declared insane. He was committed to a mental asylum for the rest of his life. Theodore Roosevelt did not win a third term as president. He remains the third party presidential candidate to win the most votes in US election history but didn't have enough support to overcome Democratic nominee woodrow. Wilson. Though it wasn't shrinks pool at that stopped him. He may have taken comfort in the fact that Roosevelt never made it back to the Oval Office. I'm Vanessa Richardson thanks again Laney for joining me today. Thanks for having me. You can find my podcast crimes of passion on spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thanks for listening today in true crime I'm Vanessa Richardson for more stories about political intrigue and action checkout podcast original political scandals. You can find all episodes up today in true crime and all other originals from podcast for free on spotify. We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow in. True Crime. Today and true crime was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original. It is executive produced by Max Cutler sound designed by one Boorda with production assistance by Ron. Shapiro. Carly. Madden, and Freddie Beckley this episode of today. True. Crime was written by Joel Callen with writing assistance by Tara Wells, and stars Laney Hobbs and Vanessa Richardson. Remember to join. Alistair murden every Thursday for the all new series haunted places. 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