James A. Garfield

Born on November 19, 1831 in Moreland Hills too Abram and Eliza Garfield (descendants of New England ancestry)—James A. Garfield had an interesting and challenging journey on his way to the top. Throughout his childhood, Garfield was bullied by other boys, and found an escape in books and academic materials. After working hard throughout his entire education, Garfield had the opportunity to go to college at The Western Reserve Eclectic Institute and studied Greek and Latin. Garfield graduated Phi Betta Kappa and served as his class salutatorian.

 It wasn’t long after he Garfield finished his studies that he decided to enter the realm of politics. Garfield initially served on the Ohio State Senate where he opposed the mass Confederate Secession. Once the Civil War came to fruition, Garfield served as a major general in the union army fighting in the battles if Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Middle Creek. After the war ended, he served in congress in Ohio’s 19th district. Within this time, he was a big advocate of the gold standard act (putting silver back into circulation). Throughout his entire political career, Garfield gained popularity amongst Radical Republicans and they nominated him for presidency representing their party in 1880. Garfield agreed and conducted a mundane campaign and won by a landslide.

Garfield was sworn into presidency on March 4, 1881 and immediately got to work on civil rights and internal affairs. One major accomplishment of Garfield was purging corruption within the Post Office (which was a very prevalent issue at the time), by resurging presidential authority throughout the senate. Garfield also advocated for agricultural advancements as well as basic human rights for African Americans. He also passed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act which guaranteed elected positions within government were rewarded by merit and not political affiliation.

Unfortunately, only one year into his term Garfield was assassinated on July 2, 1881 only one year into his presidency. Garfield was shot at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station (in Washington D.C.) by Charles J. Guiteau. Garfield officially passed away on September 19, 1881 from complications due to his injury at the age of 50. Overall, Garfield accomplished in his life and one year as president. Without a president like Garfield, who knows where the United States would be today.


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