1881 : Former University of Michigan Student Charles Guiteau Shoots President Garfield

July 2, 2024 all-day

Drawing of President Garfield's Shooting

When James A. Garfield was attacked on July 2, 1881, the nation was shocked, enraged, and captivated. President for just four months, Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau as he was about to board a train at the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C. Severely wounded, Garfield lingered until September 19.

An unsuccessful lawyer, evangelist, and insurance salesman, Guiteau believed Garfield owed him a patronage position in the diplomatic corps, and that the president’s political decisions threatened to destroy the Republican Party. Guiteau was convicted of murder and hanged on June 30, 1882. In 1883 Congress passed the Pendleton Act; it sought to reform civil service and limit the number of patronage seekers like Charles Guiteau.

Little know fact : Charles Guiteau was a former University of Michigan student.


Life and Death in the White House

Douglas Linder, Charles Guiteau Trial : An Account via Famous Trials.

Assasination of President James Garfield wikipedia entry

Zlati Meyer, “You Haven’t Liver Here Until…You know John F. Kennedy’s Michigan Connections”, Detroit Free Press, November 17, 2013.

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