Students Smithsonian Education
Smithsonian Education Newsletter
Mr. President

James A. Garfield
Twentieth President, 1881

“The people
are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body
be ignorant, reckless,
and corrupt, it is
because the people tolerate (those characteristics).”

Party Politics:
After 36 convention votes, Republican Speaker of the House James Garfield was finally nominated over former president Ulysses S. Grant. Garfield went on to win the presidency over his democratic contender by only 10,000 votes. He was the last president to be born in a log cabin and the only preacher ever to become president of the United States. Just six and a half months after he became president, Garfield was shot by a mentally disturbed, disaffected office seeker. Eleven weeks later, Garfield died.

Portrait by Ole Peter Hansen Balling , 1881 . NPG.65.25 , Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery .

Fast Facts
Party: Republican
Date of Birth: Saturday, November 19, 1831
Date of Death: Monday, September 19, 1881
Vice President: Chester A. Arthur
First Lady: Lucretia Rudolph Garfield

Previous   Next

Smithsonian Institution

Websites A-Z


Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies ©2003 Smithsonian Institution About UsContactSite MapHelpPrivacySubscribe