DOI: 10.1111/psq.12865 ISSN: 0360-4918

What causes threats directed at the president?

Lucas J. Lothamer, Brandon Rottinghaus
  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History


What puts the president in the crosshairs of threats? By examining a new data set of threats made against the president in the incoming White House mail from 1961 to 1965, this study argues that domestic and international events, especially politically controversial issues, serve as a provocation for political threats. We find that outside civil rights events more than approval or economic conditions drive threats to the White House. Although limited in time span, the implications of this study suggest that specific events, some of which the White House has little control over, spur increased threats made against the president.

More from our Archive