- James A. Garfield was the last
President who was part of the “log
cabin Presidents.” He was born in 1831
in the city known as Orange
Township, Ohio. From a very young
age, he gained big responsibilities
after his father died when he was only
two years of age. Because of this, his
strive for success came early.
Garfield was a very good student from pre-school all the way
through high school. He excelled in every class and loved learning
about the Latin and Greek languages.
After school, he first attended college at Western Reserve Eclectic
Institute, but soon transferred to Williams College.
At Williams College, he was considered an excellent student with
fantastic grades. He was the president of a fraternity and was in the
process of becoming a teacher. As a result, when he graduated, he
quickly got a job teaching at the Eclectic Institute.
- Garfield joined the Union as soon as he could. By
1861, he was already a cornel in the army. He
started and headed the Ohio 42nd Infantry.
- His infantry took part in many important victories.
Examples of these include the battle of Middle Creek
- By 1863, Garfield was serving as chief of staff for
William Rosecrans. After serving this position for a
few months, he was elected into the House of
Representatives and retired from the military in
- Garfield’s first taste of politics came when he was elected
to the Ohio State Senate from 1859 until 1861. One year
later, Garfield was elected to Congress. He was a
representative of Ohio’s 19th district.
- Garfield was an extreme supporter of the Republican
party. He was a firm believer in abolition and talked on it
- While serving in the House of Representatives, he was
head of many important committees such as the Banking
and Currency Committee and the Military Affairs
- He also was the Republican minority leader during
Rutherford Hayes’s presidency.
- Garfield was nominated for the Republican candidate in
1880 and won. Although he was only President for a little
over one hundred days, he had many great ideas in-store
- However, he actually did complete a few ideas. Some of
these things include reforming the Post Office, establishing
that the President has the most power when dealing with
executive appointments, and starting the push for civil rights.
- He also put many slaves in positions of power. One big
person he appointed was Frederick Douglas.
- James Garfield was assassinated by Charles Guiteau on July
2, 1881, in Washington D.C. at a railroad station.
- He shot Garfield twice at point blank range. These did not kill
Garfield, but the shot severely wounded him.
- Guiteau’s reason for shooting Garfield was simply that he did not
agree with Garfield politically. He believed it would be best to get
him out of office; thus, he attempted to kill him at the station.
- Contrary to Guiteau’s wish, James Garfield did not pass away until
September of 1881. When he died, Arthur was sworn in as President.
- The first conspiracy that conspiracists claim is
that Charles Guiteau was brainwashed by a
- Though Guiteau did have records of being
involved in cult activities, he wrote letters
explaining why he desires to kill Garfield, a few
days before he killed him.
- In the letters, he never mentions that he was
persuaded by another person. He did it
because he had differing political opinions
than Garfield did. He believed he was doing
America and the people a good deed.
- The second conspiracy is a very possible situation.
This conspiracy is the idea that Garfield actually
died by the doctors’ poor treatment on him.
- Conspiracists state that the doctors stuck their
hands and tools into Garfield without properly
sterilizing them. This resulted in an infection or
- The doctors also apparently treated him on the
floor of a railroad car. Again, this was a poor
hygiene state; thus, it resulted in a unhealthy
- The reason, most conspiracists believe this is the
actual reason of Garfield’s death is because
Garfield was not shot anywhere fatal. The
uncleanliness caused his passing.