ne bullet grazed his elbow, but a second lodged in the back of
President James Garfield,
who was shot JULY 2, 1881, as he waited in a Washington, D.C., train station.
The assassin was Charles Guiteau, a free-love polygamist who had been a member the communist cult called "Oneida Community."
President James Garfield
had been in office only four months.
Though not wounded seriously, unsterile medical practices trying to remove the bullet resulted in an infection.
Alexander Graham Bell devised a metal detector to locate the bullet, but the metal bed frame confused the instrument.
Two months before his 50th birthday,
died on September 19, 1881.
The next day, Secretary of State James Blaine wrote James Russell Lowell, U.S. Minister in London:
James A. Garfield
, President of the United States, died ...
For nearly eighty days he suffered great pain, and during the entire period exhibited extraordinary patience, fortitude, and
. Fifty millions of people stand as mourners by his bier."
Vice-President Chester Arthur
assumed the Presidency and declared a National Day of Mourning, September 22, 1881:
"In His inscrutable wisdom it has pleased God to remove from us the illustrious head of the nation,
James A. Garfield
, late President of the United States ...
It is fitting that the deep grief which fills all hearts should manifest itself with one accord toward the Throne of Infinite Grace ... that we should
bow before the Almighty
... in our affliction."
Prayers and Presidents-Inspiring Faith from Leaders of the Past
had been a Disciples of Christ preacher at
Franklin Circle Christian Church
Biographer Frank H Mason wrote in "The Life and Public Services of James A. Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States" (Bret Harte Publisher: London, Trübner & Co., 1881):
"(Garfield) delivered his powerful and convincing sermons from the pulpit with the consent and encouragement of the Church authorities."
was principal of Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (Hiram College), 1857-1860, during which time
he defended creation
in a debate against evolution.
Mason wrote that Garfield:
"completely overwhelmed his opponent, who, after that defeat, abandoned his theory and gave up the fight against the inspiration of the Bible."
became a lawyer in 1861, and a Major General during the Civil War.
Elected to Congress,
despised fiat paper "Greenbacks,"
supporting instead gold-silver backed currency.
Elected a U.S. Senator,
gave a stirring speech at the 1880
Republican National Convention
opposing the rule that all delegates from each State were required to vote for the candidate with the majority of delegates:
"There never can be a convention ... that shall bind my vote against my will on any question whatever."
won the crowd. In an unprecedented move, after 34 ballots,
he was chosen as the Republican Presidential nominee
over Ulysses S. Grant seeking a 3rd term.
stated in his Inaugural Address, March 4, 1881, just 200 days before his death:
"Let our people find a new meaning in the divine oracle which declares that 'a little child shall lead them,' for our own little children will soon control the destinies of the Republic ...
Our children ... will surely bless their fathers and their fathers'
that the Union was preserved, that
slavery was overthrown, and that both races were made equal before the law
Get the book America's God and Country Encyclopedia of Quotations
Republican President James Garfield
appointed African-Americans to prominent positions:
*Frederick Douglass, recorder of deeds in Washington;
*Robert Brown Elliot, special agent to the U.S. Treasury;
*John M. Langston, Haitian minister; and
*Blanche K. Bruce, register to the U.S. Treasury.
appointed as U.S. Minister to Turkey the Civil War
General Lew Wallace,
author of the famous novel
Ben-Hur-A Tale of Christ.
described Otto von Bismark, who united German and served at its first Chancellor, 1871-1890:
"I am struck with the fact that Otto von Bismarck, the great statesman of Germany, probably the foremost man in Europe today, stated as an unquestioned principle, that the support, the defense, and
propagation of the Christian Gospel
is the central object of the German government."
Otto von Bismark
saw the danger of socialism and instituted Germany's Anti-Socialist Laws in 1878.
Kaiser Wilhelm II
to resign it precipitated World War I.
As a Congressman,
had stated at the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1876:
"Now more than ever before,
responsible for the character of their Congress.
If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption.
If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature ...
If the next centennial does not find us a great nation ...
it will be because
those who represent
the enterprise, the culture, and
the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces."