Spencer Percival

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Spencer Percival—the only British prime minister to have been assassinated (11 May 1812

Spencer Percival—the only British prime minister to have been assassinated (11 May 1812

Spencer Percival is the only British prime minister to have been assassinated. In contrast, four US presidents have been assassinated—Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy—and thirteen others were the intended victims of credible assassins, though Ronald Reagan was the only serving US president actually to have been injured in an unsuccessful assassination attempt. Lord Frederick Cavendish’s assassination took place little more than nine months after the shooting of President Garfield in the United States by a disappointed office-seeker. Nobody has ever suggested that Garfield’s killing might have inspired the Invincibles to adopt assassination as a political weapon, but that is a distinct possibility—especially given the American antecedents of the Fenian movement.

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