James Garfield Fast Facts

Twentieth President of the United States

James Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States
James Garfield, Twentieth President of the United States. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-BH82601-1484-B DLC

James Garfield (1831 - 1881) served as America's twentieth president. He was only in office for four months when he was shot by Charles Guiteau. He died two months later.

Here is a quick list of fast facts for James Garfield. For more in depth information, you can also read the James Garfield Biography.


November 19, 1831


September 19, 1881

Term of Office:

March 4, 1881 - September 19, 1881

Number of Terms Elected:

1 Term; Was shot on July 2, 1881 by Charles Guiteau and later died in office from this wound.

First Lady:

Lucretia Rudolph

James Garfield Quote:

"I love agitation and investigation and glory in defending unpopular truth against popular error."
Additional James Garfield Quotes

Major Events While in Office:

Star Route Scandal. Many Congressmen including members of the president's own party were found to have illegally profited from private organizations who ran postal routes in the west. Garfield stood above party politics to order an investigation. This scandal resulted in many key civil service reforms. 

Assassination of Garfield:

On July 2, 1881, Charles J. Guiteau shot President Garfield in the back. Guiteau had been denied a position as the ambassador to France. His stated reason for shooting Garfield was “to unite the Republican Party and save the Republic.” Garfield died on September 19, 1881, due to blood poisoning from the unsanitary manner in which the physicians attended to his wounds.

Guiteau was found guilty of the assassination and hanged on June 30, 1882.

States Entering Union While in Office:

  • None

Related James Garfield Resources:

These additional resources on James Garfield can provide you with further information about the president and his times.

James Garfield Biography
Take a more in depth look at the twentieth president of the United States through this biography.

You'll learn about his childhood, family, early career, and the major events of his administration.

Tecumseh's Curse
Every president between William Henry Harrison and John F. Kennedy who has been elected in a year ending with a zero has been assassinated or died while in office including James A. Garfield. This has been called Tecumseh's Curse. Read to find out more.

Presidential Assassinations and Assassination Attempts
This article looks at the presidential assassinations and assassination attempts that have occurred since America's founding.

Chart of Presidents and Vice Presidents
This informative chart gives quick reference information on the presidents, vice-presidents, their terms of office, and their political parties.

Other Presidential Fast Facts:

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Your Citation
Kelly, Martin. "James Garfield Fast Facts." ThoughtCo, Dec. 26, 2016, thoughtco.com/james-garfield-fast-facts-104732. Kelly, Martin. (2016, December 26). James Garfield Fast Facts. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/james-garfield-fast-facts-104732 Kelly, Martin. "James Garfield Fast Facts." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/james-garfield-fast-facts-104732 (accessed November 17, 2017).