Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief

By Willard M. Oliver; Nancy E. Marion | Go to book overview

3
James A. Garfield

INTRODUCTION

On the morning of July 2, 1881, President James Garfield ate breakfast with his close friend and advisor, Secretary of State James Blaine. The president was relaxed and lighthearted and looking forward to taking a much-needed vacation in New England. There he would meet up with his wife, Lucretia, who was recuperating from a bout of malaria. Blaine and Garfield slowly finished their meal and enjoyed their carriage ride to the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad station in the heart of the city. They were joined by Garfield’s two sons, Harry and Jim, who, after visiting their mother, were going to enroll at Williams College. They were also joined by Robert Todd Lincoln, who had watched his father die from an assassin’s bullet years earlier. The president was eagerly anticipating the trip and looked forward to spending time with his wife at the beach they both loved so much.

Upon arriving at the railroad station, the president and Blaine stepped out of the carriage and greeted a small group of supporters who had gathered there. After walking about halfway into a deserted waiting room, a nervous-looking stranger slowly approached them. Blaine immediately recognized the stranger as Charles Guiteau, a disappointed, mentally unstable man who had repeatedly asked for, and been denied, a position in the Garfield administration.1 Owing to Guiteau’s delusions about himself and his “role” in Republican Party politics, Garfield would become the second president to die in office as the result of an assassin’s bullet,2 only sixteen years after Lincoln.3


JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD

The twentieth president of the United States, James Garfield, was born November 19, 1831, in northeast Ohio.4 His family belonged to a church called

-35-

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Killing the President: Assassinations, Attempts, and Rumored Attempts on U.S. Commanders-in-Chief
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Andrew Jackson 1
  • 2 - Abraham Lincoln 15
  • 3 - James a. Garfield 35
  • 4 - William McKinley 53
  • 5 - Theodore Roosevelt 69
  • 6 - Franklin D. Roosevelt 87
  • 7 - Harry S. Truman 99
  • 8 - John F. Kennedy 113
  • 9 - Gerald R. Ford 131
  • 10 - Ronald Reagan 147
  • 11 - Other Assassination Attempts 161
  • 12 - Rumored Assassinations 181
  • Notes 197
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index 227
  • About the Author 237
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