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President James A. Garfield

Updated on January 6, 2017

James Abram Garfield (1831-1881) was the 20th President of the United States.

Born in Orange, Ohio he attended Williams College. In 1858 he married Lucretia Rudolph; they had six children. A lay preacher in the Disciples of Christ church, he was admitted to the bar and elected to the Ohio senate in 1859. He served in the Civil War until 1863, when he was elected to the US House of Representatives. A loyal party man, he rose in power in the House and by 1876, was Republican leader there.

He supported the Radical Republicans and was a hard· money advocate.

The 1880 Republican convention deadlocked and he was finally -on the 36th ballot- nominated as the compromise candidate. Chester Alan Arthur was chosen as his running mate.

His four-month administration was characterized by party squabbles for federal jobs and political patronage.

On July 2, 1881, a disappointed job seeker, Charles J. Guiteau, shot and mortally wounded the president. He died on September 19 and was succeeded by Arthur.

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