Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Frank E. Hagan
An assassination is the murder of a political figure. Legend has it that the word assassin comes from the word hashish , a substance that members of the Ismaili, a sect of Shiite Muslims, used to rouse their courage before carrying out acts of assassination against important religious and political leaders of Sunni Islam (c. 1090). Assassinations have had an impact on human history from the murder of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE to those of Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, such attempts on the lives of public figures have been all too frequent in U.S. history as well as in the histories of many other nations. The U.S. Secret Service, a division of the Treasury Department, has the responsibility of protecting key public figures and investigating any threats against them. In his book American Assassins: The Darker Side of Politics (1982), James Post ...