James A. Garfield


James A. Garfield

Infobox President
name = James Abram Garfield
nationality = American


caption = Brady-Handy photograph of President Garfield, taken between 1870 and 1880.
order = 20th President of the United States
term_start = March 4, 1881
term_end = September 19, 1881
predecessor = Rutherford B. Hayes
successor = Chester A. Arthur
state2 = Ohio
district2 = 19th
term_start2 = March 4, 1863
term_end2 = March 3, 1881
predecessor2 = Albert G. Riddle
successor2 = Ezra B. Taylor
birth_date = birth date|mf=yes|1831|11|19|mf=y
birth_place = Moreland Hills, Ohio
death_date = death date and age|mf=yes|1881|09|19|1831|11|19
death_place = Elberon (Long Branch), New Jersey
restingplace = Cleveland, Ohio
spouse = Lucretia Rudolph Garfield
occupation = Lawyer, Educator, Minister
party = Republican
vicepresident = Chester A. Arthur (1881)
religion = Church of Christ
alma_mater = Williams College


allegiance = United States of America
serviceyears = 1861–1863
rank = Major General
commands = 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry 20th Brigade, 6th Division, Army of the Ohio
unit =
battles = *American Civil War *Battle of Shiloh *Siege of Corinth *Battle of Chickamauga *Battle of Middle Creek
awards =

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831ndash September 19, 1881) was the twentieth President of the United States. His assassination, six months after he assumed the Presidency, means that his tenure is the second shortest (after William Henry Harrison) in United States history.

Prior to his election as president, Garfield served as a major general in the United States Army and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and as a member of the Electoral Commission of 1876. Garfield was the second U.S. President to be assassinated; Abraham Lincoln was the first. President Garfield, a Republican, had been in office a scant four months when he was shot and fatally wounded on July 2, 1881. He lived until September 19, having served for six months and fifteen days. To date, Garfield is the only sitting member of the House of Representatives to have been elected President.

Early life

Garfield was born in Orange Township, now Moreland Hills, Ohio of Welsh ancestry. His father, Abram Garfield, died in 1825, when James Abram was 17 months old; he was brought up and cared for by his mother, Eliza Ballou, a brother, and an uncle. [cite web
url=http://www.sparknotes.com/biography/garfield/section1.html
title=Section One: The Log Cabin
accessdate=2007-08-28
work=James Garfield Study Guide
publisher=SparkNotes
] In Orange Township, Garfield attended school, a predecessor of the Orange City Schools. From 1851 to 1854, he attended the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later named Hiram College) in Hiram, Ohio. He then transferred to Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he was a brother of Delta Upsilon fraternity. He graduated in 1856 as an outstanding student who enjoyed all subjects except chemistry. After preaching a short time at Franklin Circle Christian Church (1857–58), Garfield ruled out preaching and considered a job as principal of a high school in Poestenkill, New York. [cite book
last=Peskin
first=Allan
authorlink=
coauthors=
title=Garfield
publisher=Kent State University Press
date=1978
location=
pages=p. 45
isbn=0873382102
url=
doi=
id=
] After losing that job to another applicant, he taught at the Eclectic Institute. Garfield was an instructor in classical languages for the 1856–1857 academic year, and was made principal of the Institute from 1857 to 1860.On November 11, 1858, he married Lucretia Rudolph. They had seven children (five sons and two daughters): Eliza Arbella Garfield (1860–63); Harry Augustus Garfield (1863–1942); James Rudolph Garfield (1865–1950); Mary Garfield (1867–1947); Irvin M. Garfield (1870–1951); Abram Garfield (1872–1958); and Edward Garfield (1874–76). One son, James R. Garfield, followed him into politics and became Secretary of the Interior under President Theodore Roosevelt. In the mid-1860s, Garfield had an affair with Lucia Calhoun, which he later admitted to his wife, who forgave him. [cite web |url=http://www.britannica.com/presidents/article-9036074 |title=Garfield, James A. |accessdate=2008-03-04 |work=Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to American Presidents |publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.]

Garfield decided that the academic life was not for him and studied law privately. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1860. Even before admission to the bar, he entered politics. He was elected an Ohio state senator in 1859, serving until 1861. He was a Republican all his political life.

Military career

With the start of the Civil War, Garfield enlisted in the Union Army, and was assigned to command the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. General Don Carlos Buell assigned Colonel Garfield the task of driving Confederate forces out of eastern Kentucky in November 1861, giving him the 18th Brigade for the campaign. In December, he departed Catlettsburg, Kentucky, with the 40th and 42nd Ohio and the 14th and 22nd Kentucky infantry regiments, as well as the 2nd (West) Virginia Cavalry and McLoughlin's Squadron of Cavalry. The march was uneventful until Union forces reached Paintsville, Kentucky, where Garfield's cavalry engaged the Confederate cavalry at Jenny's Creek on January 6, 1862. The Confederates, under Brig. Gen. Humphrey Marshall, withdrew to the forks of Middle Creek, two miles (3 km) from Prestonsburg, Kentucky, on the road to Virginia. Garfield attacked on January 9. At the end of the day's fighting, the Confederates withdrew from the field, but Garfield did not pursue them. He ordered a withdrawal to Prestonsburg so he could resupply his men. His victory brought him early recognition and a promotion to the rank of brigadier general on January 11.

Garfield served as a brigade commander under Buell at the Battle of Shiloh and under Thomas J. Wood in the subsequent Siege of Corinth. His health deteriorated and he was inactive until autumn, when he served on the commission investigating the conduct of Fitz John Porter. In the spring of 1863, Garfield returned to the field as Chief of Staff for William S. Rosecrans, commander of the Army of the Cumberland.

Later political career

In 1863, he re-entered politics, being elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 38th Congress. Garfield was promoted to major general after the Battle of Chickamauga, shortly after he had been elected. He left the army and returned to Ohio to take his seat in Congress. He succeeded in gaining re-election every two years up through 1878. In the House during the Civil War and the following Reconstruction era, he was one of the most hawkish Republicans.

In spite of his hawkishness, Garfield was one of three attorneys who argued for the petitioners in the famous Supreme Court case "Ex parte Milligan" (1866). The petitioners were pro-Confederate northerners who had been found guilty and sentenced to death by a military court for treasonous activities. The case turned on whether the defendants should have been tried in a civilian court instead. Garfield went on to plead other cases before the high court, but none was as high profile as his first argument before the Supreme Court in "Milligan".

In 1872, he was one of many congressmen involved in the Crédit Mobilier of America scandal. Garfield denied the charges against him and it did not put too much of a strain on his political career since the actual impact of the scandal was difficult to determine. In 1876, when James G. Blaine moved from the House to the United States Senate, Garfield became the Republican floor leader of the House.

In 1876, Garfield was a Republican member of the Electoral Commission that awarded 22 hotly-contested electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes in his contest for the Presidency against Samuel J. Tilden. That year, he also purchased the property in Mentor that reporters later dubbed Lawnfield, and from which he would go on to conduct the first successful front porch campaign for the Presidency. The home is now maintained by the National Park Service as the James A. Garfield National Historic Site.

Election of 1880

In 1880, Garfield's life underwent tremendous change with the publication of the Morey letter, and the end of Democratic U.S. Senator Allen Granberry Thurman's term. The Ohio legislature, which had recently again come under Republican control, chose Garfield to fill Thurman's seat. [State legislatures, not voters, chose U.S. senators until the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment.] However, at the Republican National Convention Garfield gained support for the party's Presidential nomination, and on the 36th ballot Garfield was nominated, with virtually all of Blaine's and John Sherman's delegates breaking ranks to vote for the dark horse nominee. As it happened, the U.S. Senate seat to which Garfield had been chosen ultimately went to Sherman, whose Presidential candidacy Garfield had gone to the convention to support.

In the general election, Garfield defeated the Democratic candidate Winfield Scott Hancock, another distinguished former Union Army general, by 214 electoral votes to 155. (The popular vote had a plurality of 9,464 votes out of more than nine million cast; see U.S. presidential election, 1880.) He became the only man ever to be elected to the Presidency straight from the House of Representatives and was, for a short period, a sitting Representative, a Senator-elect, and President-elect. Technically, he was the first Senator to be elected President (Warren G. Harding was the second). However, Garfield never actually sat in the Senate, as the term was not scheduled to begin until 1881. Garfield resigned his other positions and accepted the Presidency. He took office as President on March 4, 1881.

Presidency 1881

Administration and Cabinet

Between his election and his inauguration, Garfield was occupied with constructing a cabinet that would balance all Republican factions. Blaine was rewarded with the State Department. William Windom of Minnesota was named secretary of the Treasury. The Navy Department was headed by William H. Hunt of Louisiana; the War Department by Robert Todd Lincoln; and the Interior Department by Iowa's Samuel J. Kirkwood. Wayne MacVeagh of Pennsylvania was asked to be Attorney General, and New York was represented by Postmaster General Thomas Lemuel James. This last appointment infuriated Garfield's Stalwart rival Roscoe Conkling, who demanded nothing less for his faction and his state than the Treasury Department. He was so insulted that he, in effect, declared war on the administration.

This unedifying squabble would consume the energies of the brief Garfield presidency. It overshadowed promising activities such as Blaine's efforts to build closer ties with Latin America, Postmaster General James's investigation of the "star route" postal frauds, and Windom's successful refinancing of the federal debt.

The feud with Conkling reached a climax when the President, at Blaine's instigation, nominated Conkling's enemy, Judge William H. Robertson, to be collector of the port of New York. Conkling raised the time-honored principle of senatorial courtesy in attempting to defeat the nomination but to no avail. Finally he and his junior colleague, Thomas C. Platt, resigned their Senate seats to seek vindication, but they found only further humiliation. Garfield's victory was complete. He had routed his foes, weakened the principle of senatorial courtesy, and revitalized the presidential office. [Garfield, James Abram. "American National Biography", 2000, American Council of Learned Societies.]

President Garfield's only official social function made outside the White House was a visit to the Columbia Institution for the Deaf (later Gallaudet University) in May, 1881. [Gallaudet, Edward Miner. "History of the Columbia Institution for the Deaf."] Infobox U.S. Cabinet
align=left
clear=yes
Name=Garfield
President=James A. Garfield
President date=1881
Vice President=Chester A. Arthur
Vice President date=1881
State=James G. Blaine
State date=1881
War=Robert Todd Lincoln
War date=1881
Treasury=William Windom
Treasury date=1881
Justice=Wayne MacVeagh
Justice date=1881
Post=Thomas L. James
Post date=1881
Navy=William H. Hunt
Navy date=1881
Interior=Samuel J. Kirkwood
Interior date=1881

upreme Court appointments

*Thomas Stanley Matthews – 1881

Assassination

Garfield had little time to savor his triumph. He was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, disgruntled by failed efforts to secure a federal post, on July 2, 1881, at 9:30 a.m., less than four months after taking office. The President had been walking through the Sixth Street Station of the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad (a predecessor of the Pennsylvania Railroad) Washington, D.C., on his way to his alma mater, Williams College, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech, accompanied by Secretary of State James G. Blaine, Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln (son of Abraham Lincoln [ [http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/inside.asp?ID=16&subjectID=2 Mr. Lincoln's Whitehouse: Robert Todd Lincoln] , The Lincoln Institute, Retrieved November 29, 2006.] ) and two of his sons, James and Harry. The station was located on the southwest corner of present day Sixth Street Northwest and Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., a site that is now occupied by the National Gallery of Art. As he was being arrested after the shooting, Guiteau repeatedly said, "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts! I did it and I want to be arrested! Arthur is President now!" which briefly led to unfounded suspicions that Arthur or his supporters had put Guiteau up to the crime. (The Stalwarts strongly opposed Garfield's Half-Breeds; like many Vice Presidents, Arthur was chosen for political advantage, to placate his faction, rather than for skills or loyalty to his running-mate.) Guiteau was upset because of the rejection of his repeated attempts to be appointed as the United States consul in Paris—a position for which he had absolutely no qualifications. Garfield's assassination was instrumental to the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act on January 16, 1883.

One bullet grazed Garfield's arm; the second bullet lodged in his spine and could not be found, although scientists today think that the bullet was near his lung. Alexander Graham Bell devised a metal detector specifically for the purpose of finding the bullet, but the metal bed frame Garfield was lying on made the instrument malfunction. Because metal bed frames were relatively rare, the cause of the instrument's deviation was unknown at the time. Garfield became increasingly ill over a period of several weeks due to infection, which caused his heart to weaken. He remained bedridden in the White House with fevers and extreme pains. In early September, the ailing President was moved to the Jersey Shore in the vain hope that the fresh air and quiet there might aid his recovery. In a matter of hours, local residents put down a special rail spur for Garfield's train; some of the ties are now part of the Garfield Tea House. The beach cottage Garfield was taken to has been demolished. He died of a massive heart attack or a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm, following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia, at 10:35 p.m. on Monday, September 19, 1881, in the Elberon section of Long Branch, New Jersey. The wounded president died exactly two months before his 50th birthday. During the eighty days between his shooting and death, his only official act was to sign an extradition paper.Most historians and medical experts now believe that Garfield probably would have survived his wound had the doctors attending him been more capable. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/25/health/25garf.html A President Felled by an Assassin and 1880’s Medical Care] New York Times, July 25, 2006.] Several inserted their unsterilized fingers into the wound to probe for the bullet, and one doctor punctured Garfield's liver in doing so. This alone would not have brought about death as the liver is one of the few organs in the human body that can regenerate itself. However, this physician probably introduced Streptococcus bacteria into the President's body and that caused blood poisoning for which at that time there were no antibiotics.

Guiteau was found guilty of assassinating Garfield, despite his lawyers raising an insanity defense. He insisted that incompetent medical care had really killed the President. Although historians generally agree that poor medical care was a contributing factor, it was not a legal defense. Guiteau was sentenced to death, and was executed by hanging on June 30, 1882, in Washington, D.C. Garfield was buried, with great solemnity, in a mausoleum in Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. The monument is decorated with five terra cotta bas relief panels by sculptor Caspar Buberl, depicting various stages in Garfield's life. In 1887, the James A. Garfield Monument was dedicated in Washington, D.C.

At the time of his death, Garfield was survived by his mother. He is one of only three presidents to have predeceased their mothers. The others were James K. Polk and John F. Kennedy.

Trivia

*Garfield was a minister and an elder for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), making him the first—and to date, only—member of the clergy to serve as President. [ [http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/president/gallery/detail.cfm?prez_ID=20 James A. Garfield] . Mr. President. Profiles of Our Nation's Leaders. Smithsonian Education. "URL retrieved on May 11, 2007.] He is also claimed as a member of the Church of Christ, as the different branches did not split until the 20th century. Garfield preached his first sermon in Poestenkill, New York. [cite web
last=Sullivan
first=James
authorlink=
coauthors=
title=Chapter VI. Rensselaer County
work=The History of New York State, Book III
publisher=Lewis Historical Publishing Company
date=1927
url=http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/state/his/bk3/ch6.html
format=
doi=
accessdate=2007-06-06
]
*Garfield was a member of the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity. [ [http://www.deltau.org/default.aspx?action=Content&ContentId=1 Notable DUs] . Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Politics and Government. "URL retrieved February 20, 2007".]
*Garfield is the only person in US history to be a Representative, Senator-elect, and President-elect at the same time. To date, he is the only Representative to be directly elected President of the United States.
*In 1876, Garfield discovered a [http://planetmath.org/encyclopedia/GarfieldsProofOfPythagoreanTheorem.html novel proof] of the Pythagorean Theorem using a trapezoid while serving as a member of the House of Representatives. [ [http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/mathline/concepts/president/activity2.shtm "Pythagoras and President Garfield"] , PBS Teacher Source, "URL retrieved on February 1, 2007."]
*Garfield was the first ambidextrous president. It was said that one could ask him a question in English and he could simultaneously write the answer in Latin with one hand, and Ancient Greek with the other. He was also known to be a septalinguist. [ [http://www.americanpresidents.org/presidents/president.asp?PresidentNumber=20 American Presidents: Life Portraits] , C-SPAN, Retrieved November 29, 2006]
*The assassination is also mentioned in the Johnny Cash tune, "Mister Garfield (Has Been Shot Down)" according to the album sleeve written by J. Elliot, released in 1965 by Columbia Records, and re-recorded for the 1972 album "America - A 200 Year Salute in Story And Song", as well as in "Charles Guiteau" by Kelly Harrell & the Virginia String Band as included in the "Anthology of American Folk Music".
*In the 1992 film "Unforgiven", set in 1881, the character English Bob mocks his (American) fellow travelers for the murder of President Garfield, comparing the republican system of government unfavorably with the monarchical. "If you were to try to assassinate a king, sir, the, how shall I say it, the majesty of royalty would cause you to miss. But, a President, I mean, why not shoot a President?"
*Garfield was assassinated only months after Czar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated.
*Stephen Sondheim's musical Assassins includes the story of Charles J. Guiteau and his assassination of Garfield and features a song, "The Ballad of Guiteau."
*Part of Charles Guiteau's preserved brain is on display at the Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. [Siera, J.J. " [http://venue-magazine.com/aande/57/come-see-dead-people-at-the-mutter-museum.html Come see Dead People at the Mutter Museum] ". Venue Magazine. Rowan University. Issue 41. Volume 2. "URL retrieved February 19, 2007".] Guiteau's bones and more of his brain, along with Garfield's backbone and a couple ribs, are kept at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. on the grounds of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. [Carlson, Peter. " [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/23/AR2006012301854_pf.html Rest in Pieces] ". "The Washington Post". January 24, 2006. Page C1. "URL retrieved February 19, 2007".]
*Garfield was a descendant of "Mayflower" passenger John Billington through his son Francis, another Mayflower passenger. [" [http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/Genealogy/famousdescendants.php Famous Descendants of "Mayflower" Passengers] ". Mayflower History. "URL retrieved March 31, 2007".] John Billington was convicted of murder at Plymouth Mass. 1630. [Borowitz, Alfred. " [http://tarlton.law.utexas.edu/lpop/etext/lsf/29-2/mayflower.html The Mayflower Murderer] ". The University of Texas at Austin. Tarlton Law Library. "URL retrieved March 30, 2007".]
*Garfield juggled Indian clubs to build his muscles.cite book |last=Paletta|first=Lu Ann |coauthors=Worth, Fred L |title=The World Almanac of Presidential Facts |publisher=World Almanac Books |year=1988 |id=ISBN 0345348885]
*James Garfield was featured on the series 1886 $20 Gold Certificate, [Orzano, Michele. " [http://www.coinworld.com/news/111504/BW_1115.asp Learning the language] ". Coin World. November 2, 2004. Retrieved May 9, 2007.] a currency note considered to be of moderate rarity and quite valuable to collectors.
* Garfield was related to Owen Tudor, and both were descendents of Rhys ap Tewdwr. [ [http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/g/a/r/J-H-Garner/FILE/0141page.html#subj10000000 Genealogy Report: Ancestors of Pres. James Abram Garfield] ] Verify source|date=August 2007
* The Spaghetti Western "The Price of Power" (1969) features Van Johnson as Garfield, and his assassination figures prominently in the film's plot; however, the setting of the assassination is relocated to Dallas, and the killing itself is clearly modeled after the Kennedy Assassination of 1963.
* The US has had three presidents in the same year two times. The first such year was 1841. Martin Van Buren ended his single term, William Henry Harrison was inaugurated and died a month later, then Vice President John Tyler stepped into the vacant office. The second occurrence was in 1881. Rutherford B. Hayes relinquished the office to James A. Garfield. Upon Garfield's death, Chester A. Arthur became president.

ee also

*List of assassinated American politicians
*List of United States Presidents who died in office

Further reading

*Ackerman, Kenneth D. "Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of James A. Garfield", Avalon Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0786713968

*Freemon, Frank R., 2001: Gangrene and glory: medical care during the American Civil War; Urbana: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252070100

*Peskin, Allan "James A. Garfield: Supreme Court Counsel" in Gross, Norman, ed., "America's Lawyer-Presidents: From Law Office to Oval Office", Chicago: Northwestern University Press and the American Bar Association Museum of Law, 2004, pp. 164-173. ISBN 0810112183

*King, Lester Snow: 1991 Transformations in American Medicine : from Benjamin Rush to William Osler / Lester S. King. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, c1991. ISBN 0801840570

*Peskin, Allan "Garfield: A Biography", The Kent State University Press, 1978. ISBN 0873382102

*Vowell, Sarah "Assassination Vacation", Simon & Schuster, 2005 ISBN 074326004X

References

External links

* [http://www.lewrockwell.com/bonner/bonner84.html Garfield, Harding, and Arthur]
* [http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/jg20.html Official whitehouse.gov biography]
* [http://www.usa-presidents.info/inaugural/garfield.html Inaugural Address]
* [http://home.nycap.rr.com/useless/garfield/index.html Article about assassination and "treatment" by doctors]
* [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761566237/James_Garfield.html Encarta]
* [http://www.footnote.com/spotlight/49/president-james-a-garfiel An image of Garfield's Civil War Pension File from the National Archives]
* [http://www.blastbooks.com/RAWDEAL/Garfield/fr2gar.htm Raw Deal]
* [http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/jtbrown/coc/COC1306.HTM Biography from John T. Brown's "Churches of Christ" (1904)]
* [http://www.nps.gov/jaga/index.htm James A Garfield National Historic Site]
* [http://www.morelandhills.com/historical.html James A. Garfield Birthplace]
* [http://www.deadohio.com/garfieldmonument.htm Garfield Monument] CongBio|G000063 Retrieved on 2008-02-12
* [http://www.millercenter.virginia.edu/index.php/academic/americanpresident/garfield Extensive essay on James Garfield and shorter essays on each member of his cabinet and First Lady from the Miller Center of Public Affairs]

Persondata
NAME = Garfield, James Abram
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = 20th President of the United States
DATE OF BIRTH = November 19, 1831
PLACE OF BIRTH = Moreland Hills, Ohio, United States
DATE OF DEATH = November 19, 1931
PLACE OF DEATH = Elberon (Long Branch), New Jersey, United States


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