POTUS Fact 20: The only Pastor to become President

James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831–September 19, 1881) was the 20th President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1881, until his assassination later that year. Garfield had served nine terms in the House of Representatives, and had been elected to the Senate before his candidacy for the White House, though he declined the Senate seat once he was elected president. He is the only sitting House member to be elected president.

Image of James Abram Garfield
James Abram Garfield (1831–1881), 20th President of the United States (March 4, 1831–September 19, 1881)/ThoughtCo.

Have you ever campaigned for someone to be nominated as a president but the delegates elected you instead? Well, it happened to the 20th President of America. Read on.

Of very humble beginnings, the last child of his parents, James Abram Garfield was the last of the seven Presidents to be born in a log cabin.

He was the second president to be assassinated, the fourth to die in office and he ruled for only 200 days.

If you spoke English to Garfield, he could translate it to Greek with his right hand and Latin with his left hand, writing them at the same time.

Garfield was a man of many firsts:

  • He was the first President to be elected while still a member of the House of Representatives and the first and only man in U.S. history to hold the positions of Congressman, Senator-elect, and President-elect at the same time.
  • Garfield was the first President to be both left-handed and ambidextrous (that is, he could write with both hands) and the only ordained minister to become President.
  • James Garfield was also the first President to use what was known as a front-porch campaign strategy and the first President to die before the age of 50.
  • He was the first president whose mother attended his inauguration.

If you spoke English to Garfield, he could translate it to Greek with his right hand and Latin with his left hand, writing them at the same time.

In 1876, Garfield was a member of the 15-man investigative committee that awarded the presidential election to Rutherford B. Hayes over Samuel Tilden. Tilden had won the popular vote and was just one electoral vote shy of winning the presidency. The awarding of the presidency to Hayes was known as the Compromise of 1877.  It is believed that Hayes agreed to end Reconstruction in order to win. Opponents called this the corrupt bargain.

The President died in pain, on September 19, 1881, two months shy of his 50th birthday, in New Jersey. He was one of only two Presidents who died before the age of 50………..He was 49.

Throughout his life, Garfield never lost an election. In fact, in 1880, the year he was elected as President, he was also elected to the Senate and also to the House of Representatives but he relinquished them on attaining the Presidency.

His dog’s name was Veto.

He also fought the Civil War and was the youngest Brigadier-General at 32.

He got married to his pupil, Lucretia Rudolph (1832–1912), who bore him seven children, five sons and two daughters.

On July 2, 1881, a job seeker, Charles J. Guiteau, shot the President twice; in his arm and at his back. But, the second bullet was never found.

The spine where the bullet hit is currently displayed in a Health Museum in America.

Image of Lucretia Rudolph Garfield
Lucretia Rudolph Garfield (1832–1918), First Lady of the United States (March 4, 1831–September 19, 1881)/Javipena.

The President died in pain, on September 19, 1881, two months shy of his 50th birthday, in New Jersey. He was one of only two Presidents who died before the age of 50, the other being John F. Kennedy, who died at 46. He was 49.

James Garfield’s death was ultimately caused by doctors (I will write on that later).

Garfield’s accomplishments as president included a resurgence of presidential authority against senatorial courtesy in executive appointments, energizing American naval power, and purging corruption in the Post Office, all during his extremely short time in office.

James Garfield made just one executive order in his role of Presidency, this was to grant government workers the day of May 30, 1881, as a non-working day; a day to decorate and honour the graves of those who died fighting in the Civil War.

We should do nothing for revenge, but everything for security: nothing for the past; everything for the present and the future. – James Abram Garfield (1831–1881), 20th President of the United States (March 4, 1831–September 19, 1881).

President Garfield was one of three presidents to hold office in the same year, an instance that has occurred only twice in U.S. history. The other time was in 1841. Garfield assumed the office of President from his predecessor, Rutherford B. Hayes, who served from March 5, 1887 until Garfield’s inauguration on March 4, 1881.

Following Garfield’s death on September 19, 1881, Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st President of the U.S. on September 20, 1881.

His last words were, “My work is done.”

Sources

Wikipedia

Facts.net

Thought.Co

Kids Fun Facts

Republican Presidents

Ducksters

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Ayomide Akinbode

Ayomide Akinbode holds a degree in Chemistry but has a passion for History and Classics. When he is not writing, he’s either sleeping or playing Scrabble.

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