James Garfield
20th President of the United States
James Garfield
1881 - 1881

Vice President: Chester Arthur
Born: November 19, 1831, in Orange, Ohio
Died: September 19, 1881, in Elberon, New Jersey
Career/Occupation: Teacher, Minister, Public Official
Religion: Disciples of Christ
Education: Attended Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (now Hiram College); Graduated from Williams College (1856)
Political Party: Republican
Nickname(s): None

Other Government Positions:

  • Member of Ohio State Senate, 1859-61 
  • Member of U.S. House of Representatives, 1863-80 
  • Elected to United States Senate, 1880

Presidential Salary: $50,000

Presidential Firsts:

  • The first president to be elected to the presidency directly from the House of Representatives.
    Although elected to the U.S. Senate in 1880, Garfield never took his seat. Following a lengthy deadlock at the Republican convention, he was unanimously nominated for the presidency as a compromise candidate. He won the election but served as president for only four months. Garfield was fatally shot at the Pennsylvania Railroad depot in Washington, D.C., by Charles Guiteau, a disappointed office seeker. Public outrage over the loss of President Garfield, who lingered for 11 weeks before dying, led to the creation of the Civil Service system to manage U.S. government employment more effectively.
  • The first president to be left-handed or ambidextrous.
  • The first president to die before reaching the age of 50.
  • The first president to have served as a university president.

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