8 Things You Might Not Know About James A. Garfield
Jun 09, · Chester Arthur (), the 21st U.S. president, took office after the death of President James Garfield (). As president from to , Arthur advocated for civil service reform. Jul 21, · Career Before the Presidency. Garfield began his career as an instructor in classical languages at the Eclectic Institute and was its president from to He studied law and was admitted to the bar in , and he was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ church, but he soon turned to politics.
James A. Garfield November 19, —September 19, was an educator, lawyer, and a major general in the Union Army during the Civil War. He was elected presiident the Ohio State Senate and to the U. Congress before becoming the 20th American garfielf on March 4, He served only until Sept. His father died when Garfield was just 18 months old. His mother tried to make ends meet with the farm, but he and his three siblings, two sisters and a brother, beforre up in relative poverty.
Inhe attended Williams College in Massachusetts, graduating with honors two years later. On Be. She ddid working as a teacher when Garfield wrote to her and they began courting.
She contracted malaria while serving as first lady but lived a long life after Garfield's death, dying on March 14, They gargield two daughters and five sons, two of whom died when they were infants. Garfield began his career as an instructor in classical languages at the Jaames Institute and was its president from to He studied law and was admitted to the nefore inand he was ordained a minister in the Disciples of Christ church, but he soon turned to politics.
He served as an Ohio state senator from to Garfield joined the Union army intaking part in the Civil War battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga and reaching the rank of major general. He was elected to Congress while still in the military, resigning to take his seat as a U.
During this time he had an extramarital affair with a woman in New York Whwt. He later admitted the indiscretion and was forgiven by his wife.
Inthe Republicans nominated Garfield to run for president as a compromise candidate between conservatives and moderates. Conservative candidate Chester A. Arthur was nominated as vice president. Garfield was opposed by Democrat Winfield Hancock. Acting upon the advice of President Rutherford B.
He won out of electoral votes. Garfield was in office for only six and a half months. He spent much of that time dealing with patronage issues. The one major issue that he faced was an investigation of whether mail route contracts were being awarded fraudulently, with tax money going to those involved.
The investigation implicated members of his Republican Party, but Garfield didn't flinch from continuing. In the end, revelations from the incident, called the Star Route Scandal, resulted in important civil service reforms. On July 2,Charles J. Guiteau, a mentally disturbed office seeker, shot Garfield in the back in the Washington, D.
The president lived until Sept. Guiteau apparently was driven by politics, saying to police after garfiekd surrendered, "Arthur is now president of the United States. The cause of death was massive garfiels and slow blood poisoning, which was later described as being related more to the unsanitary way physicians treated the how to wear inguinal hernia belt than to the wounds themselves.
Doctors of the time were unschooled in the role of hygiene in preventing infection. The standard procedure was to devote most of the treatment effort to removing jamss bullet, and a number of doctors repeatedly poked his wound in an unsuccessful search.
Garfield served the second shortest presidential term in American history, topped only by the day term of William Henry Harrison, the what is the carry on size for united airlines president, who caught a cold that turned into fatal pneumonia.
Garfield was buried in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. Upon his death, Vice President Arthur became president. Because of How to start your own t shirt brand brief time in office, he couldn't achieve much as president. But by allowing the investigation into the mail scandal to continue despite its effect on members of his own party, Garfield paved the way for civil service reform.
He also was an early champion dod the rights of African Americans, believing that education was the best hope for improving their lives. In his inaugural address, he said:. Garfield's prolonged death is credited with helping to establish the American president as a celebrity. The public and the media of the day were described as being obsessed with his lengthy passing, more kames even than they had been with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln 16 years before.
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Apr 02, · Who Was James Garfield? James Garfield rose from humble beginnings to serve as a college president, a nine-time congressman, and military general before his . For nine terms, until , Garfield represented Ohio’s 19th congressional district. As chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, he became an expert on fiscal matters and advocated a high protective tariff, and, as a Radical Republican, he sought a firm policy of Reconstruction for the South. Before He Became President Initially Garfield wanted to stay part of the army. However, President Lincoln asked him to come to Washington. Lincoln felt that having Garfield as a strong Republican ally in the Congress would be more valuable to him than as a general. Garfield agreed to take the position in Congress where he served on the U.S. House of Representatives for eighteen years.
Owing to his untimely demise at the hands of assassin Charles Guiteau in , 20th U. The equally unfortunate Harrison famously succumbed to pneumonia—though it might have been typhoid —one month into his term. Not quite 50 at the time of his passing, Garfield nonetheless managed to pack a lot of experience into his short but eventful life. Read on for some facts about his childhood, his election non-campaign, and why Alexander Graham Bell thought he could help save Garfield's life.
Spoiler: He couldn't. Garfield was born in Orange, Ohio on November 19, He never had a chance to know his father, Abram, who died before James turned 2 years old. As a child, Garfield was enamored with adventure novels and imagined a career as a sailor. If Garfield longed for adventure, he eventually found it, though perhaps not quite in the way he anticipated as a child.
After being elected to the Ohio senate in , Garfield joined the Union army at age 29 during the outbreak of war against the Confederates in Garfield saw combat in several skirmishes, including the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Chickamauga, before then-president Abraham Lincoln convinced him to resign his military post so he could devote his time to advocating for Ohio in the House of Representatives in He became the leading Republican in the House before being elected to the Senate for the term.
Garfield thought he was attending the Republican National Convention to stump for Treasury Secretary John Sherman as the party's presidential candidate. To help unclog the stalemate, Wisconsin's delegation threw Garfield's name into the hat as a compromise candidate.
Not only did he win the election opposing Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock , but he became the only sitting House member elected president. The whole process took Garfield by surprise, as he once told friends that "this honor comes to me unsought. I have never had the presidential fever, not even for a day. Just weeks before the general presidential election in November , Garfield's political opponents tried to deal a fatal blow to his campaign by circulating a letter Garfield had written to an associate named H.
Morey addressing the matter of foreign workers. In it, Garfield supported the idea of Chinese laborers, a controversial point of view at a time the country was nervous about immigration affecting employment. Democrats handed out hundreds of thousands of copies of the letter in an effort to sour voters on his candidacy.
In Denver, the prospect of foreign workers prompted a riot. At first, Garfield remained silent, but not because he was ashamed of the letter. He simply couldn't recall writing or signing it—it was dated just after he was elected to the Senate, and he had signed lots of letters that he and his friends wrote in reply to the congratulatory messages he had received.
But after consulting with his friends he issued a denial, and after seeing a reproduction in a newspaper, Garfield announced it was a phony. Furthermore, "H. Morey" didn't seem to exist. Turns out, the letter was planted by the opposition to discredit Garfield's name. Journalist Kenward Philp, who published the letter, was put on trial for libel and forgery but acquitted.
One witness who claimed they met Morey was jailed for eight years for perjury. Several presidents in or near Garfield's era—Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson—had less than flattering views on Reconstruction and civil rights.
But Garfield made his opinion abundantly clear. Speaking during his inauguration, Garfield celebrated the dissolution of slavery and called it "the most important political change" since the Constitution. Garfield also appointed four black men to his administration, including activist Frederick Douglass as recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia.
A former Garfield supporter, Charles Guiteau, was erroneously convinced that Garfield owed him a European ambassadorship. After his letters and drop-ins were ignored by the administration for months, he shot Garfield twice at a train station in Washington, D.
The president was quickly tended to by a number of physicians in the hopes he could survive the bullet stuck in his abdomen, but the doctors didn't bother washing their hands before sticking their fingers in his wound. At the time, the idea of an antiseptic medical environment was being promoted but not widely used. For two weeks, Garfield languished in bed as his caregivers attempted to remove the projectile but succeeded only in worsening both the incision in his stomach and the accompanying infection.
A heart attack, blood infection, and splenic artery rupture followed. He hung on for roughly 80 days before dying on September 19, Guiteau was hanged for the crime in During Garfield's bedridden final days, the public at large tried their best to lend sympathies and possible solutions. One letter writer suggested that doctors simply turn him upside-down so the bullet would fall out. A slightly more reasonable—but no more effective—tactic was offered by Alexander Graham Bell.
Inviting a large measure of respect for his invention of the telephone, Bell was allowed to use a makeshift metal detector over Garfield's body to see if the electromagnetic fields would be disrupted by the presence of the bullet, revealing its location in Garfield's abdomen. Bell was unsuccessful, though he reportedly did manage to detect the metal in the president's mattress. Despite his short and somewhat uneventful tenure, Garfield quickly as in, within six years received an honor equal to more renowned American presidents.
Sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward, who is probably best known for his oversized bronze of George Washington that stands on the grounds of his inauguration at Federal Hall in New York, unveiled his Garfield monument in at the foot of the Capitol building. The statue, which depicts Garfield giving a speech, also sports three figures along its granite pedestal base: a student representing Garfield's stint as a teacher , a warrior for his military service , and a toga-sporting elder statesman to signify his political career.
BY Jake Rossen. He originally wanted to sail the open seas. He was a Civil War veteran. Hulton Archive, Getty Images. Lists politics presidents. Subscribe to our Newsletter!