[182], The assassination of Abraham Lincoln was deemed a fluke due to the Civil War, and Garfield, like most people, saw no reason the president should be guarded; his movements and plans were often printed in the newspapers. [85], Garfield was as firm a supporter of black suffrage as he had been of abolition, though he admitted the idea of African Americans as whites' political equals gave him "a strong feeling of repugnance". ", "The assassination of President James Garfield: Could he have survived?". [100], The story broke in July 1872, in the middle of the presidential campaign. James's father Abram had been born in Worcester, New York, and came to Ohio to woo his childhood sweetheart, Mehitabel Ballou, only to find her married. In the 1880 presidential election, he conducted a low-key front porch campaign and narrowly defeated Democrat Winfield Scott Hancock. [165], Entering the presidency, Garfield had little foreign policy experience, so he leaned heavily on Blaine. He escaped by reading all the books he could find. However, he never got the chance to make his plans a reality as he was assassinated within months of becoming the president. One of Garfield's appointments helped bring some unity to the Republican Party, which was plagued by internal fighting. [127], During this period, the Republican Party was split into two factions: the Stalwarts, who supported the existing federal government patronage system; and the Half-Breeds, who supported civil service reform. Woods by a two-to-one margin in the general election for a seat in the 38th Congress. The investigation was thorough, but found no indictable offenses. [59] Garfield recommended that Rosecrans replace wing commanders Alexander McCook and Thomas Crittenden, whom he believed ineffective, but Rosecrans ignored the suggestion. He initially agreed with Radical Republican views on Reconstruction, but later favored a moderate approach to civil rights enforcement for freedmen. He served nine terms in the House of Representatives until 1880 and the same year the Ohio legislature elected him to the U.S. Senate. [91], By the time Ulysses S. Grant succeeded Johnson in 1869, Garfield had moved away from the remaining radicals (Stevens, their leader, had died in 1868). [19] Securing a position on entry as janitor, he was hired to teach while still a student. Was James Garfield considered a good president? [150] In one high point, Garfield emphasized the civil rights of African-Americans, saying "Freedom can never yield its fullness of blessings so long as the law or its administration places the smallest obstacle in the pathway of any virtuous citizen. Although he never stood again, he was able to sit up and write several times, and his recovery was viewed so positively that a steamer was fitted out as a seagoing hospital to aid with his convalescence. "One year ago today, @SmithsonianMag ran an article lamenting that site of Garfield assassination was unmarked. [126] Besides Sherman, the early favorites for the nomination were Blaine and former President Grant, but several other candidates attracted delegates as well. [35] In December, Garfield was ordered to bring the 42nd to Kentucky, where they joined the Army of the Ohio under Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell. Johnson, an old friend, sought Garfield's backing, and their conversations led Garfield to assume Johnson's differences with Congress were not large. [69] Once he took his seat in December 1863, Garfield was frustrated that Lincoln seemed reluctant to press the South hard. [39] They attacked the rebel positions on January 9, 1862, in the Battle of Middle Creek, the only pitched battle Garfield personally commanded. He also began studying law and was admitted to the bar in 1861. He said of Hopkins, "The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log with a student on the other. Grant asked Garfield to serve as a "neutral observer" in the recount in Louisiana. [33] In April 1861, the rebels bombarded Fort Sumter, one of South's last federal outposts, beginning the Civil War. One means of persuading the voters in that era was through orators expounding on the candidate's merits, but with the Republicans seeking more famous men, Guiteau received few opportunities to speak. Services. James A. Garfield was the 20th President of the United States who was assassinated within months of his assuming office. The intensity of Garfield's religious thought was also shaped in part by his experience in combat and his interaction with voters. "[155] Matthews served on the Court until his death in 1889. The railroad paid the company's grossly inflated invoices with federal funds appropriated to subsidize the project, and the company was allowed to purchase Union Pacific securities at par value, well below the market rate. [15] In later years, he astounded his friends by letting positions pass that could have been his with a little politicking. James Garfield was Assassinated Only 200 Days into His Presidency James Garfield Statue at Golden Gate Park. In February 1866, Garfield and Ohio School Commissioner Emerson Edward White drafted a bill for the National Department of Education. [81] By then, Chase had left the Cabinet and had been appointed Chief Justice, and his relations with Garfield became more distant. "[230] Yet Doenecke criticizes Garfield's dismissal of Merritt in Robertson's favor, and wonders if the president was truly in command of the situation even after the latter's confirmation. After he gave a brief speech, which confused the accomplishments of Grant and Garfield, he considered his duty to Garfield complete.