Although probably best known for protecting the president, the Secret Service was originally created on July 5, 1865, by Abraham Lincoln to suppress the production of counterfeit money.
Because they were the only agency with the manpower to do so, shortly thereafter the Secret Service also began to investigate other crimes such as murder, bank robbery, and illegal gambling. However, it was not until 1901,when William McKinley was assassinated, that Congress requested the Secret Service to protect the president.
Unfortunately, the Secret Service wasn’t always efficient when it came to keeping the president safe. After the Kennedy assassination, it was concluded that the Secret Service didn’t have enough men for the job, and they didn’t have a very good plan for communicating potential threats.
After the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, who was bravely defended by a Secret Service agent despite the fire from the would-be assassin, the Secret Service increased their efficiency. Now they are kept up to date with the best techniques and material for protecting the president from potential assassination threats.
What the Secret Service Does
When in 1968 a presidential candidate, Robert F. Kennedy, was assassinated, Congress also authorized the protection of major presidential and vice president candidates and nominees. The Secret Service also protects the relatives of presidents, and those whom the president requests by executive order.
The Secret Service still works in preventing counterfeit money and various Internet-related crimes with a good degree of success — at one time clapping 28 Internet-related crime suspects in jail after working across the globe to round them up.
They also protect the White House complex. When two Puerto Ricans attempted to assassinate President Truman, a protector of the Blair House (across from the White House where Truman was residing at the time) stopped the attempt, although being mortally wounded in the process.
What It Takes to Become a Secret Service Agent
Becoming a Secret Service agent is not easy. One must undergo a special procedure to receive a Top Secret security clearance. Also, you must be a U.S. citizen, be in excellent physical condition, and have good eyesight.
The Secret Service’s tasks have changed quite a bit over the years — eliminating counterfeiting, eliminating Internet fraud, and protecting the president.
The Secret Service Story
5-page brochure that covers their history and missions.
Secret Service History
Timeline with beginnings, expansion, and today.
7-page brochure that details the requirements of a Secret Service agent.
Frequently Asked Questions By Kids
FAQs for younger children (scroll down).
Junior Secret Service Agent Training Manual
24-page download full of information and activities for young people to see what it would have been like to protect President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Junior Secret Service Program
Online “training manual” focusing on the protection of President Eisenhower.
Know Your Money
3-page download to help you identify the real thing.
Between the Lines: Secret Service Stories Told Fifty Years After by Henry Bascom Smith
Public domain work written in 1911 detailing some of the earlier Secret Service cases.
Unit Studies & Lesson Plans
Secret Agents Lesson Plan
Cute lesson from Crayola where students turn sleuth while getting to know other students, culminating in a Secret Agent Notebook. Would work well in a co-op situation, or just as a fun family game!
Printables & Notebooking Pages
U.S. Secret Service Logo
Printable for notebook.
The Secret Service Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for narrations or wrapping up.