James A. Garfield
James A. Garfield ( 1831-81) was a good party man; he played the game by the rules. A skilled debater, spellbinding orator, and efficient parliamentarian, he enjoyed his work in the House of Representatives, where he served as Congressman from Ohio between 1863 and 1880. In June 1880 he went to the Republican presidential convention in Chicago committed to the candidacy of his Ohio colleague John S. Sherman. But the "Stalwart" faction of the party, headed by Senator Roscoe Conkling (who was pushing Grant for a third term), and the "Half-Breed" faction (which was backing Garfield's friend James G. Blaine) soon became hopelessly deadlocked. When, at one point, Garfield challenged a Conkling resolution and was cheered by the delegates, "LordRoscoe" thought the Ohioan was making a bid for the nomination himself. Grabbing a newspaper, he wrote a sarcastic note on the margin and sent it over to him: "I congratulate you on being the dark horse."1
Conkling turned out to be right. Though Garfield stubbornly refused to push his own cause, there was a stampede toward him on the thirty-sixth ballot, on which he came out the winner. After receiving the nomination, he sat apparently stunned for a moment. Then he cried, "Get me out of here," to one of the Ohio delegates, and the two pushed their way through the crowd to the street outside. But a group of people already gathered to greet him there tore off the top of the public hack ordered for him before the driver could
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Publication information: Book title: Presidential Anecdotes. Edition: Revised. Contributors: Paul F. Boller Jr. - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 168.
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