James A Garfield – 20

James A Garfield was the 20th President of the United States of America. He was elected to the office in 1881.

However, his term in the office was very short-lived and after only 200 days as the President, he was shot in an assassination attempt.

He survived for nearly two and a half months after the shooting but his health continuously deteriorated and he died from the wound.

When and where was he born

James A Garfield was born in Orange, Ohio on November 19, 1831.

Early Life

James A. Garfield was born in a log cabin on Ohio. While he was still a child, his father passed away and so, his mother raised him during the early years.

She also taught him to read and write. Later, Garfield went on to study at the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute. He graduated from the Institute in 1856.

He later developed an interest in law. So he studied law and passed the bar exam in 1860. He then started practicing law but before soon, the Civil War broke out.

Life during the Civil War

During the Civil War, Garfield joined the Union army and fought in many battles. He fought on the side of the Union forces during the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Chickamauga and the Battle of Middle Creek.

While the Civil War was still going on, he was advised by the Republican Party to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Although Garfield wanted to remain a part of the army, President Lincoln asked him to join the Congress. So he agreed and was elected to the U.S. Congress. He remained a member of the Congress for the next 18 years before running for the office of the President.

Life as the President

James A. Garfield became the President in 1881. As President, he took a firm stand on political appointments. He was of the view that jobs in the government and administration should not go to his supporters or members of his party but rather to persons who were better qualified for them.

This stance inspired a lot of opposition in the U.S. Congress. His own party members criticized this position while many senators resigned as a way to protest against him.

However, Garfield remained firm and was able to root out many corrupt practices in the administration. He also introduced a number of reforms in the civil services.

Assassination and Death

James A. Garfield had been President for only 200 days when a man named Charles J. Guiteau shot him at a train station on July 2, 1881.

Guiteau believed that he had played a major role in the Presidential victory of Garfield, although he played little or no role at all. And in return for this role, he wanted Garfield to make him the consul to Paris.

When Garfield’s administration didn’t respond to these demands, Guiteau assassinated Garfield. Garfield survived for many months after the shooting but his health continued to worsen. He finally died on September 19, 1881 in Elberon, New Jersey.

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