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President for 200 Days: James A. Garfield

Updated on December 18, 2015
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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.

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President Garfield for Teachers, Students, & All Who Love to Learn

Looking for great YouTube video clips, books, recipes and free worksheets and lapbooks for teaching and/or learning about President James A. Garfield? Here you will find my favorite picks we used while studying the individual Presidents of the United States. This is part of a series of lessons I posted on individual Presidents. You can find links to all the lessons at President's Day Unit Study .

Do You Think James A. Garfield Was a Good President?

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Official White House portrait of James Garfield
Official White House portrait of James Garfield | Source

Just the Facts on Our 20th President

Presidential Term: 1881

Political Party: Republican

Vice President: Chester A. Arthur

Birthplace: Ohio

Occupation: Teacher & Government Official

Yearly Salary as President: $50,000

Height: 6'0"

First Lady: Lucretia Rudolph Garfield

After serving 9 consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Garfield was nominated for president. When Garfield was elected president November 2, he was a member of the House, Senator-elect & President-elect all at the same time.

Great Worksheets, Lapbooks, Trivia, & Recipes

We found these to be helpful when creating a presidential notebook and lapbook and for adding in a fun cooking activity. I love anything that is both edible and educational!

James A. Garfield for Teachers offers links to free worksheets, book suggestions, general information and trivia, interactive computer games, and more related to President Garfield.

Garfield's Favorite Tart Apple Pie Recipe provides a recipe for one of James A. Garfield's favorite desserts, Tart Apple Pie, and also includes a a description of some of his other favorite dishes.

Presidential Statistics and Points of Interest includes an overview of James A. Garfield's life and some fun points of interest.

Our Favorite Children's Books on President James A. Garfield

Favorite Books on James A. Garfield

James A. Garfield: Twentieth President 1881 (Getting to Know the US Presidents)
James A. Garfield: Twentieth President 1881 (Getting to Know the US Presidents)
We loved this picture book biography that includes fun illustrations and covers Garfield's entire life. My children loved the humorous illustrations! * Also look for "How To Draw The Life And Times Of James A. Garfield"(Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States of America) by Lewis K. Parker which combines simple drawing lessons with the main events of Garfield's life.

Timeline of Major Events During Garfield's Presidency

Timeline of Major Events During His Brief Presidency


Barnum & Bailey Circus debut
Billy the Kid escaped from New Mexico jail
Garfield opposes "Star Postal Route" Ring Fraud
Clara Barton created the Red Cross
Garfield shot by Charles J. Guiteau
Booker T. Washington established the Tuskegee Institute
Chief Sitting Bull of the Sioux surrendered to federal troops
President Garfield died from blood poisoning

After Grant was defeated for the nomination, this cartoon was published showing Grant giving up his sword to Garfield just like Robert E. Lee gave up his sword at Appomattox.
After Grant was defeated for the nomination, this cartoon was published showing Grant giving up his sword to Garfield just like Robert E. Lee gave up his sword at Appomattox. | Source

James A. Garfield was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate even over Ulysses S. Grant, who was making his a 3rd term bid for the nomination.

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Garfield began his presidency by encouraging civil service reform and trying to do away with the spoils system. He also sought to cripple the Post Office Department's "star route" rings.

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Garfield issued numerous executive appointments, including made one appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court and four federal court appointments. Seeking to advance civil rights for civil rights for African-Americans, Garfield appointed some African-Americans to prominent federal positions including Blanche Kelso Bruce who was appointed as the Register of the Treasury.


On July 2, 1881, James A. Garfield was shot twice by Charles J. Guiteau in an assassination attempt. Garfield lived for 80 more days. Some historians blame the doctors for his death as they probed him with unsterilized fingers and instruments in numerous attempts to remove the bullets. Alexander Graham Bell invented a metal detector for the doctors to use to locate the bullet, though it was unsuccessful. To help Garfield through the warm summer, Simon Newcomb invented what some claim to be the first air conditioner as it blew air over a large chest of ice and then getting dried by screens. James A. Garfield died on September 19, 1881.

Our Favorite YouTube Video Clip on President James A. Garfield

When searching out YouTube video clips that provided helpful information about his presidency and were completely child-friendly, these were our favorites.

Looking for more lessons on Presidents or all of my unit studies and lessons?

  • President's Day Unit Study - I posted links to each of my lessons on individual Presidents here. In each lesson I included fun worksheets, children's books, YouTube clips, timelines, and recipe ideas. On this page I also included our favorite books and YouTube video clips that cover all of the Presidents of the United States.
  • Fun, FREE Hands-On Unit Studies - I have posted my links to over 35 hands-on unit studies (compromised of over 170 lessons) that focus primarily on science and social studies. In each lesson plan I have listed the activities that we did (and included photos), the books we read, YouTube video clips that we watched, and lapbook links that pair with the lesson.


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