20. James A Garfield (March 4, 1881 - September 19, 1881)

Party: Republican                                                               

Vice President – Chester A. Arthur

MAJOR DOMESTIC AFFAIRS:

  • Attempted to reunite the Stalwart and Half-Breed factions of the Republican Party
  • Half-Breeds (a.k.a. Mugwumps) favored civil service reform, were anti-corruptionists, and wanted a lenient and forgiving Reconstruction policy for the Southern states
  • Stalwarts (a.k.a. Conservatives) favored high tariffs and a strong Reconstruction policy toward the Southern states; also wanted a third term for President Grant and objected to reform ideas of the Half-Breeds
  • Shot by the deranged political office seeker Charles Julius Guiteau who claimed to be a Stalwart and wanted Chester A. Arthur to be the President; Garfield lingered for 11 weeks and finally died
  • Guiteau’s lawyers offered an early instance of the “insanity defense”– he was convicted of murder and hanged

MAJOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS:

  • Freedom of the Press established in France
  • Flogging abolished in the British Army and Navy