President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, but where was his bodyguard? Today I Found Out host Simon Whistler explains that John Frederick Parker, the police officer tasked with protecting Lincoln, had a history of literally falling asleep on the job.
Unfortunately, even had the organization been instituted earlier, it wouldn’t have helped. The Secret Service in the beginning had no part in protecting the President, but rather were tasked with cutting down on the amazing amount of counterfeit money circulated in the United States at the time (hence why until March of 2003 they were a branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury). It is estimated that about 1/3 of the U.S. currency in circulation was counterfeit when Lincoln signed the piece of legislature that would establish the Secret Service.