Richard Lawrence, attempted assassin

Richard Lawrence was full of lead. On one fateful day in 1835, he decided to fill President Andrew Jackson with lead too. Why did the course of American history nearly hinge on a once-common house paint additive, and why have people throughout history been consuming and working with this poisonous metal?

Content note: This episode contains some outdated medical terms about mental illness.

Featured image: An etching of Lawrence’s assassination attempt. (Image source)

A newspaper image of Richard Lawrence’s attempt on Jackson’s life. (Image source)

A portrait of President Jackson painted in 1835, the same year as this episode’s crime. (Image source)

A political cartoon featuring Jackson (with his famous walking stick!) fighting the many-headed hydra of the Bank of the United States. (Image source)

The Government Hospital for Insane, now known as St. Elizabeth’s, where Lawrence spent the later years of his life. (Image source)