Assassinations of U.S. presidents play a special role in the hearts of Americans. They are both commemorated as tragedies and used as fuel for endless conspiracy theories. Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy's murders -- the earliest and, as of 2013, the most recent -- are the most infamous, but there are also two others.

Four Fallen Leaders

Abraham Lincoln was the first U.S. president to fall to an assassin, murdered by Confederate supporter John Wilkes Booth at the end of the Civil War in 1865. The next was James A. Garfield in 1881, who died weeks after suffering a gunshot wound from Charles Guiteau, a disgruntled supporter of his own party. President William McKinley was mortally wounded at the Pan-American Exposition of 1901, shot by aspiring revolutionary Leon Czolgosz. The fourth presidential assassination, was that of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Kennedy was shot in the head by former Marine Lee Harvey Oswald, but Oswald himself was murdered before ever confessing or explaining his motive.

About the Author

Evan Centanni specializes in world cultures and human geography. He grew up in Oregon, but has since lived in two other countries and traveled to many more. Centanni is editor of Political Geography Now at He holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and linguistics from the University of Oregon.