What this country needs now is a smart and experienced legislator, like President James Garfield. Unfortunately, he was one of four U.S. presidents felled by an assassin's bullet and as history will show, three were members of the Republican party.
The story of Garfield's brief presidency certainly is one for the history books. This man had the potential to be one of our greatest presidents and the many lessons learned from his tragic death.
James Garfield was born on November 19, 1831 in Ohio. His father died when he was only 18 months old. His mother tried to make ends meet but he and his three siblings grew up in relative poverty. He attended a local school before moving on to Geauga Academy in 1849. He then went to the Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio, teaching to help pay his way. In 1854, he attended Williams College in Massachusetts. He graduated with honors in 1856.
Garfield began his career as in instructor in classical languages at the Eclectic Institute. He then became its president from 1857-1861. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1860. At the same time, he served as an Ohio State Senator (1859-61). In 1861, Garfield joined the Union army rising to be a major general. He took part in the Battles of Shiloh and Chickamauga. He was elected to Congress while still in the military and resigned to take his seat as a U.S. Representative (1863-80)
In 1880, the Republicans nominated Garfield to be the president as a compromise candidate between conservatives and moderates. Conservative candidate Chester A. Arthur was nominated as vice president. Garfield was opposed by Winfield Hancock. Garfield shied away from campaigning upon former President Rutherford B. Hayes' advice. He won with 214 out of 369 electoral votes.