tv Assassination of President James Garfield CSPAN August 2, 2016 9:41pm-11:47pm EDT
decided in 1830 to retire from the sea. he bought this very strategically located peace of land right across from the statehouse that year, 1830, and in 1833 he finished construction on a very handsome two-story hipped roof federal house which was to be his retirement home. one of the early features that survives in the house from his time is this beautiful winding staircase and i think it's a tribute to the architecture of the staircase that subsequent owners of the house and subsequent generations have never changed it. it goes right back to the 1830s. in 1862, james g. blaine and his wife acquired this property. blaine lived here until his death in 1893. mrs. blaine kept the property until her death in 1903 and then after world war i their daughter
harriet blaine beal donated the house and grounds to the state of maine for the purpose of a governor's home. sadly harriet blaine beal had lost her son, walker blaine beal, in world war i and he had actually owned the house and then upon his death the house reverted back to her and she, recognizing it probably wasn't going to go on in the family and negotiation that recognizing the need that maine had and the close proximity of the blaine house to our statehouse across the street she donated the house for the purpose of the governor's home. this is the state reception room. when the house was built in 1833 this was two rooms and then when the blaines acquired the house in 1862, in '69 and again in 1872 they made some major changes to the house which
included opening up both these two rooms into one big reception room. this really reflects the fact that in the blaine period of ownership from 1862 into the early 1900s that there was a lot of entertaining that went on in the house related to blaine's role as a leader of the republican party, both in maine and in the nation. he was a newspaper editor, editor of the "kennebec journal." then he went from there to being a state representative in 1859. he was the speaker of the state house of representatives. he moved on to become a congressman in 1863. that lasted until the mid-1870s when he became a senator. james g. blaine tried three times to run for president. in 1876 it was the first time and that's when he really had
the most momentum. he was very much focused on moving quickly from being speaker of the u.s. helpive thes in into the presidency. he narrowly missed that nomination, it went instead to rutherford b. hayes. then in 1880 his name was put in nomination but he did not have quite enough support and in 1884 he was nominated and he ran against grover cleveland and narrowly lost in that election. this is mr. blaine's study and library and this is part of the addition to the house the blaines made in 1872 and it's the room that still remains the closest to what blaine and his family would have known back in the victorian period. when the house became the home for the governors in 1920, the decision was made to preserve this room much as it was in the earlier period so it's become
the repository for many artifacts that relate to blaine. the first one we'll look at is blaine's desk when he was editor of the "kennebec journal." he came to augusta in the 1850s to be a newspaper editor and this desk was made especially for him at the time and when he left the newspaper to go on for his political career the desk stayed there and in recent years the "kennebec journal" which is still being published everyday, it's our oldest continuous newspaper in maine, they kindly gave the desk to the blaine house so it can be viewed by the public. our second desk we're looking at is a much more elaborate one. when the u.s. capital was expanded in the late 1850s and early 1860s, thomas u. walter, the architect for that expansion, designed these very elaborate desks and chairs for the senators.
and in the 1870s and '80s as senators would use these and then retire, they would be able to take them with them and so blaine took this as a memento and brought it back to his home here in augusta, there's a particularly interesting feature here and this is this little feature that opens up on the desk and this card is very precious in that it was written for blaine by abraham lincoln. richmond, the capital of the confederacy, was open to be able to be visited. it had recently fallen and so lincoln wrote this authorization. "allow the bearer, honorable mr. blaine, to pass from city point -- that was in virginia to richmond and return, a. lincoln, april 7, 1865." two days later general lee
surrenders to general grant at appomattox and within a few days, april 14, lincoln is assassinated. this is a very historic photo that reflects the fact that in the summer of 1889 mr. and bls blaine, shown in the photograph, mrs. blaine in the white dress, james g. blaine to the right, that they invited the president of the united states, benjamin harrison, to spend several days with them at their summer home in bar harbor. one of the reasons, of course, for this presidential trip to maine was the fact that james g. blaine at that time was serving in benjamin harrison's cabinet. blaine had been u.s. secretary of state under garfield and briefly under president arthur but then in 1889 benjamin harrison appointed him secretary
of state and he hold that position through most of the harrison administration. >> where did blaine get most of his money from? >> well, there's a lot of discussion about that and his political detractors would have said that it was ill-gotten in some ways, that was one of the issues that he ran into when he was trying to get the nomination in 1876 at -- just at the time that he was vying for that nomination issues came up about whether he had ill-gotten gains, so to speak, to simplify it. and that's one of the issues that made it difficult for him to obtain the nomination in 1876. but by the early 1880s, it was very clear that one of his major sources of income was the fact that he had written an extremely popular two-volume memoir called "20 years in congress." it was a best-seller of its time. it sold tens of thousands of
copies and it netted him a great deal of money. we're now in the billiard room which is one of the rooms that was built as part of the addition the blaines made to the house in 1872. there were christmas cards of the previous first families. the first family were the millicans and this was a large family. carl e. millican and his wife were shown with his wife along with their large family. there had been 21 families who have called the blaine house their home, from the millicannes in 1920 currently to governor paul lepage and his wife first lady ann lepage beginning in 2011. today when we think of james g.
blaine in maine i think we think primarily of the blaine house. maine's governor ship and the state of maine as a whole. it is a well known house in the state and thus we equate of the name of blaine with the governor's mansion, keeping the name alive in the public today. on saturday, c-span looking at police relations. we'll show you of the memorial servi servi service where the police killed in dallas and washington dc's chief describing her policing. here is the preview. >> one or two small things that
change the tone of an encounter with the police officer and sometimes it is the tone of the police officer, sometimes it is the way you say something or how you say something or the way your body language when you approach and the circumstances at the time. once that tension starts, it tends to not stop and so i think the important thing for us, police officers to remember is that be very conscious of the way you approach people and the way you speak to people. most people get defensive if they are feeling like you are being offensive. being respectful and encounter and request if it is not a crisis or a dangerous situation request verses demand, those things change the dynamic a little bit. that's kind of what we find educate of our police officers and the importance of encounter. you don't have authority just
because we wear the uniform. we just don't. the uniform represents fear or hope and safety. you decide. the uniform does not decide for you. >> watch spanish spotlight on police and race relations saturday on cs-span. james garfield his life and death. up next, ralph numberger. this event is about two hours.
today of the four presidential assassination, the one that i found the most interesting and fascinating is the one that we are going to discuss tonight, james garfield. for quite a number of reasons, first of all, garfield is one of the most intelligent president we ever had. he's up there in the top half dozen. when we go through his life, by the end of it or the middle of it, you are going start laughing because you are just going to say no, that cannot be. he cannot be that good in that field, it is just not possible. we'll find something else. and, you are going to -- nah, he's just incredibly bright and the hope for his presidency was enormous. and so we are going to discuss an absolutely brilliant human
being. i was chatting with a friend before and he asked me if i thought garfield was the most intelligent. it is not like you give presidents iq test. it is a lot easier with things to measure, tall and short, we all know that madison was our shortest president and lincoln was our tallest president. i don't know how you know who's the most intelligent. certainly the two adams is jefferson, madison. lincoln and garfield is right up there. so one of the reasons thatwhy h so exciting is of who he was and how he could have changed america. last week when we discuss lincoln, we were discussing had lincoln not been shot, how america would have been different. would the south be so far behind the rest of the country and even today in education and health
care and so many areas, would african-americans suffered over hundred of years had lincoln reconstruct it instead of andrew johnson. so one of the reasons today is so interesting is the brilliance of garfield. the second is, the other name character is charles gintoew ws mentally ill. they told his father that he needs to be intuitionalized. >> he's not and the father agreed. the father says i cannot afford
him so they did not institutionalize him. the contrast between garfield and his assassin is so astounding. last week when we were discussing lincoln after the talk, a gentleman came up to me and asked me to recommend a book at each of the subsequent talks. i didn't do that week, my failure. when he asked that, i thought it was a good idea and obviously, when you prepare talks like this, i use lots and lots of sources, secondary sources and books and primary sources. a lot of the primary sources are available on the internet so you can read the letters of garfield and the diaries and so forth. it is quite easy to get primary sources now. if i have to recommend one book,
i will do that for garfield with kennedy. in the case of garfield, a book called "destiny of the republic" it is absolute -- it is a wonderful read. she's an excellent writer. if i were to read just one book on this topic, it would be this. there is no assignment and a couple of members of my book club here today, we are not going to discuss it but it would be the one book to take a look at. you don't often talk about garfield. people don't. i remember a conversation that i had in 1988. i know exactly the year with the congressman who was running for
president. and, i knew dick quite well, we were good friends. i asked him, do you know the last member of tl house who's elected from the house to be preside president. and he said no. well, let me give you a hint. do you know who's the only member of the house who's elected straight from the house to be president? and he still said no. and i said, garfield, thand he said they shot him. >> well, you are running for the job, i am not. but, garfield -- as we'll see in a brief period was president elect, senator elect from ohio and city congressman all at the
same time. fascinating guy. at the time he was elected, he was the youngest president that we had in american history till that date. only two presidents in our history died both for sad reasons. he was the only house member and i am trying to think on the democratic side this time, no one from the house is running and on the republican side, no one either that i am aware of. it is not a jump stone or a steppingstone usually for the president. occasionally, it happens that a house member tries to run for president but not that often and even senators. in the 20th century, only two senators went straight from the senate to the white house. obviously, obama did and this
time cruz, rubio and rand paul so the three senators tried to move for the senate but not that often from the house. vice presidents, not that many either. only three that i can think of went straight from the vice presidency becoming president. jefferson and bush senior. anyway, onto garfield, he was born in 1831, died the year he was elected to be president in 1881. we should put him up there. he served nine consecutive terms in the house. his presidency lasted only 200 days. he was shot on july 2nd and he died in september. he lingered. we'll talk a little bit about
his medical care and what happened to him. garfield, james garfield, was the youngest of five children. he was born in absolute, extreme poverty. this was a recreation of his house in ohio. his family were so poor that they could not afford to put down a log floor so it was a dirt log cabin. his father abram died leaving his mother to raise the children on his own so single mom and no money. his family was so poor, he did not have his first pair of shoes until he was 4-year-old. later on people admire from how he rose from total poverty to becoming president of the united states. he tonight romantizise this at
all. again, i will keep on stressing that, to get her son in the white house. she ultimately moves into the white house with him. she later claims and she thought, she claims to have been the first president's mother to move in the white house to cata care of her kid. a remarkable woman from herself. she was proud that she did not exce accepted from anyone. from her, he gave her a sense of love of learning and education. that defines his life. more than anything else, schooling and education for himself and then when he was
president for the country is a key to understanding him. when his brother, his older brother, tomas was 11, he left home to work on other people's farms to help raise money and he would send the money back or give the money back to mom. when james' turn, he said it is time for me to do the same thing. tomas leaves home at 11 to work on farms and mom said no, she realized something very special about this kid. you are staying in school and we'll support you. you need to stay in school. that's the key of his life. it shapes his mind and attitude and creates opportunities for him that otherwise never would have existed. garfield parents were both members of the church of christ. he was never particularly religious growing up. about age 19, he decided to go
to church and his speaking skills were so good. on his first day of church, he asked the pastor, would you like to say a few words, he was so remarkable that they said you need to go travel around the churches and give sermons. people who heard him preach if he decided to make his career in this, he would have been one of the lead clergyman. if he got in the church, he would have been one of the best in the country. >> in his statement, he said, i resign the highest office in the land to become the president of the united states. garfield and at age 16, his life almost took a major change. he decided enough with school, i want to go and i want to have a
life on the sea. it was interesting because he could not swim. i wonder why he did this. he was living hundreds of miles away from the ocean. the closest he could find was to get work on the canal and the eerie canal. at age 16, he drops out of school and mom is devastated. he later said i broke my mother's heart as she fears this would end her high hopes for me. unfortunately, two days after he was on the canal boat, he could not swim, all of a sudden, he falls off the boat. and, he cannot swim and so he's going under and he grabs a rope. he yanks, he's able to pull himself up on the boat. he noticed that the rope was not attached to anything.
but, it got caught in a crack in the wood of the boat and saved his life. he was somehow able to pull himself up on this. he said "i did not believe god paid attention to me but he saved me from my mother of something better than this canal." so he went home. he's a changed man. i don't know why this happens but god sent me a signal. he got really sick, he caught malaria. she was so sick, after ten days the fever broke, he thought he was okay. for two months no one knew he's going to survive. when he finally survived and recovered his health, mom and brother tomas went to him, tomas
has saved $17 of money he had not given for the family and they said we are giving you this money on one condition, you go back to school. and so he attended a number of local schools and when he reached age 20, he decided it is time to go to college. he went to western reserve. he could not afford tuition. he took a job as the janitor. he would get up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and would chop woods and the other students would have fires in their rooms. he would then go and work in the kitchen to prepare breakfast for the other students. then he would join them in class and go and work in the kitchen to help them with lunch. then afterwards he would clean the school and lower the flag at the end of the day and go back into his room and study. he was a janitor in his first
year. by his second year, he was promoted to assistant professor. in his first year, he learned and became fluent in greek and latin. again, it is every time you go through this you think -- this is amazing and how is this possible. if you think it is impressive that he's fluent in latin and greek in one year, his teachers said his best topic was in math. he developed a trapezoid proof of the pythagorean theorem.
despite his ability of math and language, his interest was science. again, he's taking a full course load as a student and he's teaching. he's an assistant professor. in his second year, he's teaching latin and one of his students was randolph, as you can see this is his wedding b picture, so we are jumping ahead. she was the professor, she was the student. he was a big shy kid and he was able to learn anything that came his way. >> they had virtually opposite personalities. he was this big hearted cheerful out going guy and he would not shake hands with people. he would give people bear hugs.
people laugh with hed with him was great company. people loved to be around him. she on the other hand was shy and soft spoken and private. until her diary she wrote that she was fearful she would be considered cold and heart less. their court ship was awkward to put it mildly. even though he was an incredible extrovert, he could not tell her what he felt about her. and she could not talk to him and this is not a good thing if you are courting. it seems the first time that he was able to tell her what he thought of her was by letters. he took a tour of niagara falls and which he says, please pardon the liberty i take in pointing out my pen towards your name.
for this evening, i have taken in so much scenery that i could not contain it myself. not exact lly a love letter. it was the first time he's telling her i am thinking about you. neither of them were able to tell each other that they really felt strongly about each other. and so in 1854, he leaves ohio and decides to finish college at williams college in williams town in massachusetts. our new congressman went to williams college, when we visited don, when he was the ambassador to switzerland in barron, we brought him a copy of this because both he and garfield shared the same -- in
two years, at age 25, again, he got a late start, he graduated from williams college with the highest honors. returns to western reserve to keep latin and greek to become a professor as well as his other subjects and one year later he was selected to be president of the school. you are going keep laughing because it is like oh -- he then realizes that the school is deeply in debt and had no endowment so he decided to become a fundraiser and raises enough money. he resumes his awkward court ship. both of them remained unable to tell each other what they think. one day she hands him her diary and she says just read this.
it is full of pages of how much she loves him. finally, on november 11, 1858, the 27-year-old james garfield marys the 26-year-old lucretia randolph after an 11 years court ship. here she is. if the court ship was difficult, the beginning of the marriage, was pretty much worse. they had difficulty figuring out, okay, now that we are living together, what do we do. as a result, it became more difficult because he was never home. the first five years of marriage, they spent less than five months together because of the civil war and everything else. their separation, their difficulties of communicating with one another made it difficult for them at home alone.
their first child eliza, they call her trot. she dies at age three. they grieved separately instead of together. it is a difficult period. in 1864 when he was a congressman and she was in ohio, he thought he totally ruined their marriage because she had an affair with a young widow in new york. she was a reporter at the new york tribune. he felt guilty and confessed with his wife and assume thing marriage is over. she forgives him and it is time to figure it out. from that moment, they fell passionately in love with each other. they decided they will do best
at each other. after the first time, they could not barely be apart. we waited a long time for this love to come but it is here to stay. he later wrote lucretia became the life ght of my life. you cannot know how much i miss you and love you, i can hardly bare to be with you. from the moment they jump started their marriage, they were happily this married couple. it took them a long time to get there but once they were there. they were really there. they ultimately whine up having seven children so they were there. sadly, two of them trot, as i mentioned and their son, eddie, netty as they called him passed away. five did become trmature adults
and we'll talk about them. the five who survived, all did extremely well because the they -- particularly after he passed away. she did a great job of raising them afterwards. while he was president of western reserve, he decided this is not enough to keep me busy so he decided to study law. you are going to keep laughing. 1859, he studies law. and two years later, he was admit todd t admitted to the ohio bar. it turns out he was an absolutely brilliant lawyer. unfortunately, for hlegal caree, the civil war came first and he was elected to congress so he had to put law aside. he did not actually engage in the practice of law until right after civil war. the first case he argues was in
front of the supreme court. it is still one of the key cases taught in constitutional law today. it is a case on how to deal with civilians during combat times and it is decided today as well, particularly garfield's argument at the time. as i mention two things stalled his career, first is politics and the war. she was fearlessly opposed to slavery. very, very passionate about supporting the rights of black americans to be quality in this country. when he was poor, a number of free slaves, he stayed with a
few slaves and they gave him money. he was enormously upset when john brown was hung. this was a dark day he wrote. in latin he wrote "slavery be dammed." he was obviously from what you can pick up of this guy, it is no surprise that people would run to him and people were very impressive. in 1959. a state senator died and the republican party knew and comes to him and said you are oppose of slavery and for the union, would you run for state's senate and he said i know nothing about
politics and of course, he wins overwhelmingly in his first attempt. that begins his political career. 1859 to 1861 and within 20 years he's president of the united states. it is an absolutely remarkable story. he probably would have gone onto do very well as a lawyer and politician and thens the civil war breaks out. when the civil war breaks out, garfield -- he enlists a private and four weeks later, he's promoted to colonel. it gets better. he was one of the first two app applied, he was appointed command of the 42nd ohio
volunteered infantry. >> abraham lincoln says i hope to have god on my side but i hope i have kentucky. they were fearful, they would be able to split-t union. they were very concerned and they did not have enough troops and a season leader of these troops. so they said, garfield with about a thousand men not enough artillery and says repel the invasi invasion. >> he's a season military expert who had more than twice as many troops and had artillery marching in eastern kentucky. garfield was told, stop them. how, that's why you are in charge. garfield decides to study
geography and math which he had not done before. he spends three days locked up in his room, studying math and comes up with a plan where he splits his troops into three. they think they are out numbered three to one when they are in turn have more than 2-1 majority. this is the battle that helps save eastern kentucky. >> garfield gained nationwide public occasi publication in the north. typical of garfield when he spoke of the battle, he only spoke of the sadness that he felt of the number of both union
and confederate young boys who died and injured. early 1862, friends of his came up to him and said would you like to run for congress. he said i don't have time. he said would you let us put your name in. he said, i don't care, do what you want. he was elected to congress by a 2-1 majority in ohio. he did not have time to campaign. after the election, he shows up in president, not to be a congressman but to get his next military duty. he is appointed to help general grant at a battle of shiloh. >> grant said he would not have survive shiloh if garfield did not come. the hero of shiloh was garfield.
1853, he returned to chief of staff. he then comes to the conclusion that one of the big flaws is the army does not have good intelligence. we don't have a good intelligence unit so he creates the army and intelligence unit and sets it up from scratch. he then turns out to get a reputation as a military genius, he's the principle strategist or taking over and gaining control over chattanooga. he played the key role of the battle battle. in 1853, his health deteriorates. he suffered from jaundice and significant weight loss and hip hip --
you have been elected to congress, you have not fulfilled your duties here. we are fighting against some of the real crazies, please serve in congress. and so here is congressman, garfield with his daughter eliza who died at age three. when he gets to congress, his first speech is called emmancipation. garfield's voice is heard among all others. his eloquent words moved the hearts and convinced the reasons
and tell the weak and the wai r waivering which way to vote. he served nine terms, 18 years in the house. he becomes the most influential and respected members in congress. >> we don't have time to go through his whole congressional career. a number of very significant committees. he's seen by his colleagues as one of the brightest members and thought full members and fairest membe member. democrats go up to him as well because they like him and trust him. he's subperb. people know he's speaking in advance and they come to listen. he's an incredible strategist on how to get bill through the house. when the civil war ends, he's
one of the the leading members of the house on how do you take this enormous army and put them back in civilian jobs. how do you close the army and how do you get them back to jobs. he's particularly interested in finance because of his math background. and uses his position in the house and ways and means committee to focus on the currency of the country. he's very, very upset of printing paper money. green backs. he said green backs are the printed lies of the government and wants the economy based on a gold standard, which is totally opposed by constituents in ohio who wants inflation currency. he said i don't care, it is better for the country. another one of his top priority is create a department of
education. we need to educate our people particularly african-americans better and particularly, those who are freed slaves, you cannot free people and let them go. you need to educate them otherwise people are going to take advantage of them. and so he gets past the first department of education, which is is then created and established and collapses afterwards. not because of him but because of mismanagement of department of education. so it takes decades before a new department of education is set up. he is appointed chairman of the subcommittee of the census and reworks how the census works and how we count people and the information and as a result that the census is taken, he established and we now have a far greater understanding of who's living in america at the time. after he was elected in 1864, lucretia sends him a note and says in the last 57 weeks, we
have been together less than 20. you know you are right, come to washington and live with me. >> coso he brings his family. he loves the house and he loves his colleagues and his wife is there and his family is growing. he's got a little cracker on the side, he's earning decent money and it is time -- the kids, want a dog and we'll talk about the dog in a minute. he got the five kids and they rented this small house and he said it is time for us to move to something bigger. they walk around in washington and they look for a place to live and they cannot find a place he likes. so he studies architect for two or three or four weeks. designs the house and the house that he designs became the model of houses and is the cover of the equivalent -- he would be
the best architect of america. keep laughing. my good friend bob dawson is here and his office is located on the site of where garfield's house was, 13th and 9th. i am sorry we don't have the rest of garfield's house career. he was involved in all of the issues at the time as you can imagine. the impeachment of president johnson and reconstruction and west ward expansion. he speaks forcibly in favor of the 15th amendment. he constantly goes on the floor to attack clku klux klan.
>> at the time if you wanted a federal job, you bribe someone to give it to you. >> who ever gets, wins the election would appoint their friends and would expect their friends to make contradiction or gifts to who ever gets the job. >> garfield felt it was time for most federal jobs based on merits and not on what you know or who you can buy. he's one of the leaders trying to get service. this becomes important because this was why he was killed. the only black mark, the main black mark against garfield when he was in the house was he got caught up of one of the largest scandal at the time. known as the credit mobile scandal.
essentially, a construction company and the union specific railroad. they were building the trans continental real raailroad. he was able to -- he got tainted a little bit because of involvement scandal. it did not cost him great difficulty. in 1876, garfield's son, netty died. this time both he and lecretia were able to mourn together. as sad as the passing was, it brought this happily married couple finally together because they could share the grief. in 1879, a series of political events take place that are almost mind boggling that no one could have predicted. the republican leader of the house of representatives was
james blaine. he decides he rather be a senator. senators are not elected by the people. they are elected by the states legislatures. so he goes to the legislatures in maine and says i want to be senator and fine, he's elected to be senator. levering vacant of the leadership of the republican party in the house. they select garfield to be the leader. today's term, he's nancy pelosi. >> he's the leader of the minority party in the house. he's thrilled and he thinks it is great. he loves the house and he's happy as it can be. he's the leader of the republicans there. this is the last year of the presidency of rutherford. for those of you -- we'll talk about him next week because he's a good friend of william mckinly.
he won the election in 1876. which hayes got less votes and probably less electoral vote but because of florida, you cannot make this up. we. >> reporter: -- we were together with al gore of election night in nashville of 2000s. i had a discussion of him how this remiends me of 1876. the electoral college, he was one short. the question was, where would familiar go? washington did not know what to do with it so they set up a commission on who's electoral
vote to count. they pick five house members, three democrats to republicans and five senators, three republicans and two democrats. they pick five supreme court justices. two democrats and two republicans and the only independent on the court who realize that he would cast a deciding vote so he quits. he resigns from the supreme court, there is no other democrat or independent on the court. they appoint to republicans and as a result, hayes wins because of the vote of one supreme court justice picking the vote from florida. of course, that would never happen in our lifetime. hayes had a difficult time as president, and vetoes quite a number of things passed by the democrats and congress. it is garfield's past to sustain the veto.
>> cougar fegarfield's kids wan and they named the dog veto. >> you got to love this guy, he's brilliant and happy and he's got the five kids and the dog and the house he built. everything changes in 1880. >> one could have predicted. hayes announced he's not running for reelection which was okay because no one would renominate him. now it is up to the republicans to pick the nominee. the republican party is divided into two, they hated each other. it makes our current politics looked tame. the two factions, one is the stalled work and the other is the half breed. the only way to gate job is someone appoints you. they hated the south. they wanted revenge and they don't care about
african-americans. the half breeds want civil service reforms and better education for the african-americans who were flee before and free as a result. as mentioned, obviously, garfield feels comfortable with the half breeds. the leader of the stall wards is the senator from new york. his loyal supporter, president grant when grant was president, so much so that grant allowed conkling to pick anyone who wants. if you get this job, the ornly thing tough do is give money to roscoe conkling and the republican party. >> so he decides he's making so
much money from the port of new york and his buddies are making so much money that when you list his grant, president grant offers to the point conflicts to the supreme court, he turns it down and says i cannot afford it. i rather be senator from new york and control the port of new york currencies coming in. the custom house of new york appoints his good body - body -- chester author is the director -- hayes say conkling
is a -- he's feared and obeyed and he's personally incredibly vain. he wears his red coat and always has his thick hair in the center of his forward. he has one major detractor in the united states' congress. that's the former congressman and now senator from maine, james g. blaine. >> why can our politicians talk like that?
conkling vows that the only goal he has was to be president. if i can keep blaine from becoming president then my life's ambitions are accomplished. 1880, hayes is not running for reelection, blaine announces he wants to run for president. congling says, i got to block. in order to block him, you need a candidate. grant, now, this raises some questions. gorge washington says he only serves two terms. the question was since grant served two terms and left and if he comes back and runs again, is that okay? >> this was before franklin roosevelt and of the change of our system. people wondered is a third term
that's not continuous of as third term or is it a first term for the second time. that's the way they phrase it. grant did not want to be president again. he did not like the job but he was not in good health and was broke. he needed a job. and so he allowed conkling to put his name in nomination. the two remaining figures are james blaine of maine and former president grant. a third candidate is here, john sherman of ohio. >> john sherman had been the secretary of the -- he's the brother of william tecumsah. now, we have three major figures. john sherman goes to garfield and says, garfield, will you be
my campaign manager. garfield says, yes, i would be honor. >> sherman decides to resign from the senate in order to devote his full-time to run for president. that leaves a vacancy for the ohio senate. now, remember voters don't vote for the senators, state legislatures do. so the state legislature of ohio picks the next senator from ohio, james garfield. so garfield is the republican leader of the house, and the senator elect from ohio. okay? it is going to get better. >> the republican convention in 1880 takes place in chicago. which is still suffering from and showing many from the fires. blaine's name is placed in nomination and conkling gets up
and nominating grant. >> at this point then, it is time to nominate sherman and garfield gives the nomination. it is a remarkable speech. he says it is time for america to live up to the true principles of the constitution, namely that all men white and black shall be free and shall stand equal before the law and the place goes nuts. maybe we are picking the wrong guy from ohio. this guy, he's brilliant and he's wonderful and sherman, he's okay. >> the first at that time, each convention as you know determines for themselves. how many -- how the procedure works. in 1880, in order to get the nomination, you needed 379 votes of delegates. unlike today, today's convention is a big party. we know in advance. by the time you get to the
convention of who the nominees are going to be. so they went for the convention and they needed 379. on the first ballot. gra grant gets 304 and sherman gets 93 and other candidates get a handful. so no one is even close. they take a second and third and fourth and tenth ballot and at the same three, they shift five or six but nothing is changing. on the 14th ballot, a delegate from pennsylvania, casts his one vote for garfield. garfield jumps off and says i am the campaign manager, i am not a candidate. i will not accept the nomination. the chair rules garfield out of order and tells him to shut up and sit down. he goes back. on the 34th ballot, the delegates cast all of their
votes for garfield. garfield jumps up and says i am not the candidate. i am the manager for sherman. and again, you are told, you are out of order, sit down and shut up. on the 36th ballot, a clear shift for garfield who's on the 36 ballot receiving 399 votes and gets the nomination to be the republican candidate for president. as he walks out of the convention hall a reporter says general, this is wonderful. >> garfield says, i wish it had not happened. this is the worst day of my life. now, you have a half breed as the presidential candidate. you need to staller. so conkling named his buddy who
was fired to be vice president. chester author had never run for political office. he was not in chicago and he did not know he would be nominated of anything led alone the vice president of the united states. when he found out, he thought that the western union is broke. that's what he mean. i am not a candidate. yes, he was. >> so, author had been paid $50,000 a year. and forced out on grounds and corruption and never held any office and never run for any office and suddenly is running for president. garfield is the youngest man to run for president in america history at that point. he becomes the youngest president today elected. he's in good health, he's 6' 2 th2
." he's in great shape and he's got wonderful family. who's cares if he's going to be vice president, it is irrelev t irrelevant. >> here is garfield and author. >> the democrats named another civil war hero at the time. winfield scott hancock. another general to run for president. in the popular vote out of close to 9 million casts of 8.9 billion votes cast. garfield wins by 7,000 votes in the electoral vote, he wins 214 to 155. suddenly, we have president garfield, this is the official picture of garfield as president. the only man elected directly from house of representatives. what's more remarkable was that for a brief period of time, he was a sitting member of the house and the leader of the
party in the house and a senator elect and a president elect, all at the same time. garfield is sworn in on march 4th, 1881. here is garfield with lecretia. he did hot have money for his own buggy so president hayes allowed him -- there were a lot of snow and thousands of people come to see the youngest person ever to be president. >> here is garfield's inauguration. in those days, it was done on the east woicing of the capitol. garfield is in the capitol waiting to come out and thousands of people are out there waiting for r garfield to come out and three people walk out of the capitol and everyone goes wow, wow. wow. first person to walk out, james
garfield, the youngest man to be president. the next person that walks out is his mother. he points to her and said,ys, i would not be here without her. an african-american standing next to the president. that symbolizes garfield as much as anything else. after garfield is elected and moving in the white house, here hell is being sworn in. james blaine is behind here. >> here is the official white house picture. mom -- mom, garfield and the wife. she claims to be the first mother of the president to move in the white house to take care of the president's kids. maybe true, i don't know. garfield's inaugural address will give us an idea of what he
wanted to have happen. he emphasizes civil rights of african-americans. he believes they deserves a full right of citizenship and go onto say they must be literate or taken advantage of. >> then he goes onto talk about agriculture as the key to america prosperity and says we have all this land and growing all these crops and it is all wonderful, if we did scientific agriculture and study how to improve your crops and agriculture, we could double and triple the use of the land. so he says, i want the smithsonians among others to do research on how to approve the quality and the scientific nature of our culture. he goes into an attack on the norman church, particularly
polygamy. he says this awe feoffends the sense of manhood. federal appointees should be based on merit and not on who you know. the speech applauded and after the speech, john phillip sousa leads the marine corps band in an inaugural parade with music he composed thad we still use today. the president and his family, the wife, molly, the daughter, the president garfield, irwin, harry and eliza, the mother. and it was camelot to use a phrase from kennedy's time. the president with his young family, with his wife whom he's in love with, mom is sitting there. grows up in abject poverty in a dirt floor log cabin and reads
virgil in latin and reads greek and is a mathematics genius and could have been an architect and could have been the best clergyman in america. okay. he comes in and obviously the first thing he has to deal with is filling federal jobs. in those days, 100,000 federal jobs and office seekers come to the white house personally asking for jobs. he thinksthy is awful. first before he deals with the white house and cabinet, he puts together his cabinet and tries to split it between half breeds and stalwarts. he appoints james blaine to be secretary of state. blaine is a half breed and believes in civil service reform and is probably the closest member of the cabinet to garfield. he appoints a number of conklin supporters to other key positions in the cabinet, and he appoints others who are neither half breeds or stalworts.
he appoints robert todd lincoln, lincoln's son, to be the secretary of war. the feud between conklin and garfield breaks out almost immediately. garfield appoints an enemy of conklin to be the port collector of new york, a judge by the name of william robertson. conklin says you can't appoint to that job, that's a job i control. garfield says, i'm president. conklin says senatorial courtesy, it's a new york job, you can't do it without me. garfield says, i just appointed him. conklin then says, i'll show you, i'll resign from the senate. so he and the other senator from new york, thomas platt, both quit believing the new york legislature will then reappoint him to come back to the senate and that will show garfield i have support, you got to get my guy in. the new york legislature refuses to reappoint conklin or platt.
garfield views this as his first major victory as president. it's the presidency, it's executive power, it's the principle of senatorial courtesy being weakened compared to the power of the presidency. garfield also wants almost nothing to do with vice president chester arthur. he does not allow him to come to cabinet meetings. the plight of african-americans is very much on his mind. and he believes that education for the blacks, for the african-americans, is their way to a better quality of life. and he appoints quite a number of key african-americans to positions, frederick douglass, robert elliot, and quite a number of others. again, people are saying, wow, what a change. the next issue he faces is the growing national federal debt. and he looks at american
treasury notes and he notices that they are all held by new york banks. and the federal government is paying 6% interest. so he says i can do better. he goes up to new york and tells the banks $200 million of federal notes you're controlling at 6% interest. the interest nujust changed to 3.5%. you want to control these notes, you drop your interest rate. they are furious. they drop the interest rate. it reminds me of the scene in the movie, "dave" where kevin klein sits in the white house and suddenly rearranges the books. garfield figures this out, goes up to new york and suddenly saves millions of dollar in his first week as president. lots of appointments we don't have time to go into, and the one that i think is one of the more fun ones, we talked about him last week because he was one of the judges at the lincoln conspiracy trial, and that is general lou wallace. garfield appoints him to be the
ambassador to turkey, and he he tells him i'm appointing you to be ambassador to a muslim country so you can write another book. he gets involved with an ohio senator by the name of george pendleton to try and draft civil service reform. sadly it only passes after garfield's death. good point for us to stop here and shift to the second character in our story, and there is nothing more different than this absolutely brilliant latin and greek scholar, president of the university, lawyer who argues ex parte. architect who designs his own house. mathematician who comes up with a theorem that gets published. et cetera. et cetera. than charles getoe. charles julius geto was born in
freeport, illinois, a french family. moves to new york as a young man because he wants to go to nyu and is completely inadequately prepared and flunks the entrance exam. moves to ann arbor, fwn michigao take remedial courses and quits after a couple weeks and decides he is not good at schooling, in his phrase, and joins a utopian religious sect known as the oneida community, that was in new york and practices free love and sexual freedoms to put it mildly, and group marriage, and none of the women want anything to do with him. in fact, they referred to him as charles get out. so he feels slighted by this and quits and moves to hoboken, new jersey, where he attempts to start a newspaper.
he goes back to oneida, attempts to start a newspaper it and it fail fails. he gets married to a librarian, and she would later say this was the most desperate and awful period in her life and he abused her physically and verbally and beat her periodically and they were constantly on the run and they would go into motels and cheap boarding houses and skip out before paying the bills, and finally after a brief period of time, she left him because of his behavior. he then moves to ohio -- excuse me, to chicago, where somehow he gets a law license. in those days you didn't have to go to law school. you could practice law and he meets a lawyer who asks him three questions, he gets two of them right and lawyer say, you just passed the bar. and so he becomes a lawyer. his happiest moments as a lawyer is reading his bids cards that say charles guiteau, attorney at law. his biggest accomplishment is
for a brief period of time, he had an office in a building that had an elevator. he argues only one case. he loses. it's thrown out. he spends most of his time as a lawyer as a bill collector which he does rather poorly. he at one point sues the "new york herald" for $100,000 because they wrote an article about him saying he had represented a client to get $350 back. he got half of that and pocketed it as his fee. and so the "new york herald" -- excuse me, the "new york herald" wrote about it and said don't use this guy as your bill collector, so he sued them but they threw it out. he then decides that he moves in with his sister, frances, whom he then attacks with an axe. she, in turn, tries to have him institutionalized as mentally disturbed. a doctor interviews him and says, yes, he is. he finds out he's being
institutionalized and runs away. decides he's going to devote the rest of his life to god and become interested in theology. writes a book called "the truth" which is totally plagiarized from other people's writings, literally word for word, but his biggest conclusion in his book is that christ has already had his second coming. he travels around the country jumping off trains before they collect his tickets. his father is asked to put him in institutionalized and then is found out he would have to pay for institutionalizing him and says he can't afford it. an event takes place on june 11th, 1880, that changes his life. he's on a ferry ride, a boat ride on long island sound on a ship called the "s.s. stonington." it's foggy, it's a terrible night and collides with another ship calleded wi "s.s. narragan"
it collides with another ship and it catches on fire and sinks and does nz of people lost their lives, but guiteau survives. the higher plan for him he says is to get involved in politics. he decides to write a speech to help the next republican presidential candidate, grant, so he writes a speech on why people should vote for grant, and then garfield gets the nomination, so he crosses out grant and writes garfield. that's the only change in the speech. he then is able to get a small audience in new york to come and listen to him, but most of them walk out. it's about a dozen people show up to hear him and they walk out, but he becomes convinced that it was this speech that helped garfield win new york and get the electoral votes of new york and if it weren't for this speech, garfield would not be president. as a result, when garfield is elected as president, he sends him a letter, we won, we cleaned
them out just as i expected. so then he writes and says, okay, now that i got you in as president, i want a job. spoil system. i got you in as president, you owe me. i want to be the ambassador to vienna. give him credit, he doesn't stick on that for long. after a while, he looks into vienna and says i really don't want that, i want to be the ambassador in paris. so he, at the time, presidents met with job seekers. so somehow he goes in and he meets with garfield in the and he hands him a copy of the speech, grant crossed out, garfield up there, and writes on it, paris consulship. he's convinced it's a matter of time. i mean, he's met the president. he's given a speech. he's going to be the next ambassador. somehow he is able to attend a reception at the white house
where he spends time with mrs. garfield and goes up to her and says, you probably don't know who i am, i'm the man most responsible for the president's election as president and as a result i'm going to be the next ambassador to paris. he then goes and is told that to get any job you, need to have a formal application. so he goes to the white house and fills out the form and is told your application will be put in a file. so he is now convinced that garfield will go through the files, take his out and name him ambassador to paris. so a few days later, he goes to the white house to find out what's happened to his application. and he's told the president cannot see you today. so he figures, ah, that means the president can see me tomorrow. so he goes back to the white house day in and day out. and he is meeting frequently with the president's staff
outside and they, of course, think that this man is nuts. he spends a lot of time sitting in lafayette square waiting to meet people. somehow he meets vice president chester arthur and says i got you guys elected in new york, chester arthur being from new york was surprised, and he says i'd appreciate your help in becoming ambassador to paris. arthur says that's a presidential appointment, i'm only vice president, sorry, i can't help you. at this point, he is running out of paper for his letters. so he goes to the riggs hotel and starts taking paper from the hotel and the clerk at the hotel says you're stealing our paper and he says, don't you know who i am? i'm going to be the next ambassador to paris. then he bumps into and goes to see secretary of state blaine. he says you're asecretary of state. i'd appreciate your help to become the next am bass dr to
paris. he does this so often the state department says he can no longer come back and finally met blaine on the street and says what's happening? and blaine says you're not going to get a job, stop this nonsense. anyone he writes a letter togarfield and stoga togarfield and said i figured out what is the problem, it's the secretary of state. we have to figure out how to get rid of this guy because he's problem. obviously he's not getting everywhere and writes a letter to the president and basically he stops. on june 1st, he decides this isn't going anywhere, this isn't working. but he has a visitor, god. and god talks to him and says it's time for you to skill the president. he didn't think this was murder or an assassination. he thinks he was merely removing the president who was not doing a good job and replacing him
with someone who would do a good job. and besides, he wouldn't be guilty because god had specifically asked him to do this so he's not to be blamed for this. so if he's going to kill the president, obviously you need a gun. he's never had one. so he borrows $15 and goes to buy a gun. this is a photo that the smithsonian took of the gun. they have since lost the gun. he goes to a gun shop and he is told he has a choice of two guns. they are both .442s revolvers, one has a wooden grip, one has an ivory grip. he said he would rather have the ivory grip because it would look better in a museum. again, we're talking about mental illness. the next thing he needs to do is figure out how the gun works, so someone shows him out the gun works and he goes out in the
woods near washington and the first time he shoots it, he gets knocked over from the recoil because he has no idea what he is doing. so, okay, now he's decided to kill the president so he starts following the m inin ining the stalking him. waiting for the right opportunity. it's now time to return to the garfields. it's ele beron, misspelled it. in mid-may of 1881, mrs. garfield contracts spinal meningitis, and she is doing quite poorly, and when her temperature subsides, the doctors suggest she go to a seaside resort in new jersey in the elberon hotel. so on june 18th, garfield and mrs. garfield take the train to go to new jersey so that she can
have convalescence from her illness. geuto goes to the train station and decides to kill them. he sees mrs. garfield and she is not doing well so he doesn't want to upset her while killing her husband while she's there. so he decides not the to kill him. garfield stays up in new jersey with his wife. he has a cabinet meeting there. he meets with grant. then on june 27th, 1881, he comes back to washington. a few days later on july 2nd, he is invited to be the featured speaker at his alma mater, williams college, and in order to get up there, he needs to take the train. and he goes to the train station accompanied by james blaine and two of his sons, james and harry. here is the train station. that train station is today where the west -- where the national gallery of art is. my good friend, eric, who's one of the curators at the national gallery told me that somewhere
in the national gallery, there's a plaque where garfield was shot. i haven't seen it, but it's somewhere in the national gallery today. when i see eric next, i'm going to ask him where it is. secretary of war, robert todd lincoln is at the train station to greet him. and he was -- poor robert todd lincoln is at his father's bedside when his father dies. he's next tog garfield when garfield is shot and he was with mckinley when he was shot, and he said i never want to see another president again. garfield enters the waiting room. guiteau steps forward, pulls the trigger from pointblank range and shoots garfield in the back. garfield yells out, "my god, what is this?" and throws up his arms. guiteau fires again. i forgot to mention, prior to
shooting the president a few days earlier, he figured he would be temporarily arrested for this so he went to the d.c. prison to get a tour to see if this is an okay place for him to live. and they wouldn't let him in so he walked around the building a few times and figured this is okay. he gets to the train station by cab and tells the cabdriver, could you please wait i have business here but i'll be out in a few minutes. he shoots the president. the first bullet grazes garfield's shoulder. the second hits him in the back passing the first lumbar vertebrae but missing the spinal cord. the bullet lodges near the liver. it could not be found until after the autopsy. and it was found later behind the pancreas in some fatty tissue. guiteau calmly puts the gun back in his pocket and turns to leave the station because he has a cab waiting for him. at this point, a policeman by the name of patrick kerney jumps
on guiteau, wrestles him to the ground and is so excited he just wrestled the assassin of a president that he forgets to take the gun away. they don't take it away until he gets back to the police station. a crowd gathers yelling "lynch him, lynch him." guiteau yells "i did it, i want to be arrested, arthur is president." this leads some people to believe that arthur had something to do with the assassination, he didn't. unlike the lincoln assassination of last week and the kennedy assassination in a few weeks where we'll talk a lot about conspiracy, there is no conspiracy here. we have a one very deranged human being acting alone. guiteau thinking he had done the best for the republican party, garfield is conscious but in shock. he is carried upstairs in the train station with a bullet in his back. his sons and blaine burst into
tears as does robert todd lincoln. lincoln says how many hours of sorrow have passed in this town? in less than five minutes, a physician by the name of smith townsend who is the d.c. health commissioner arrives at the train station. now, quick background. by this point in history, joseph lis ster had already written extensively on the need for sanitation and the danger of sep sis caused by drugs -- excuse me, by germs and the need not to put germs into patients, but there were many in america who did not believe this. we will come to this in a second, particularly with the doctor who is going to be one of the lead figures in our story, dr. bliss. dr. townsend comes and decides the first thing to do is take the bullet out. now, bullets can cause you harm if they're moving.
if they get into you and they haven't caused the harm, you might survive for a long time. he sticks his finger unwashed into garfield and this is the beginning of bad things. garfield is in tremendous pain but is mostly concerned, how will his wife take this news, so he personally dictates a telegram to be sent to her, i'm okay, don't worry about this, come to washington when you feel better. at this point, robert todd lincoln makes an extremely well-meaning but incredibly tragic mistake, and the mistake is he calls for his own personal physician to come and be the physician. here's another picture of the assassination. again, here's blaine standing there and guiteau shooting garfield pretty much at pointblank. a man with a great first name of
doctor. dr. doctor willard bliss was one of the attending physicians at lincoln's death bed. is called by robert todd lincoln to come and see what he could do. bliss was one of the leading experts in america who oppose d lister. he'd written a paper saying what do you mean germs can harm you? if you can't see them, they can cause you no harm. so he immediately gets there and sticks his finger into garfield to see if he can find the bullet. he can't. and so he goes into his medical bag and pulls out a probe, one that had been used on another patient and had not been sterilized or washed since and sticks it into garfield, into the president's back. then he tries to remove the probe, but it gets engaged
between fragments and the end of the rib. so in order to get the probe out, he has to press down on the president's ribs so that the ribs would lift so that he could pull the probe out, thereby causing a cavity to develop inside the president. he then sticks his finger back into the president to see if now he could find the bullet and he can't. at this point, another doctor, interestingly enough, an african-american doctor, how many of them were there in america at the time, named charles purvis had seen enough and said, stop this. remarkably, bliss did. then they decide they need to move the president to the white house, and so they take him to the white house and verne decides there's no way garfield is going to survive the night. this is going to be fatal. but mrs. garfield gets the telegram and decides she's going to come down. she's not well. but she's going to come and be with her husband if she could.
a special train is immediately put together to bring her down. and to make matters worse, 18 miles north of washington, the bars connecting the engine to the rest of the trains snap and the engine malfunctions. the train continues for two more miles ripping up the tracks and the engine almost explodes. if it had exploded, everyone on the train including mrs. garfield would have been killed. somehow, she gets to washington. she gets to the white house. late that night, garfield breaks into a broad smile despite his pain and says, that's my wife, now all will be well. she responds that she is there to nurse her husband back to health. despite all the confusion going on and doctors running around, dr. bliss decides it's his turn to take command of the situation. he decides that he is going to be in charge of everything, the
medicine, who could see the president, what would be done, where he would be. high on his suspects is people who believe in lister and sep sis. anyone who accepts that has no right to see his patient. bliss found the notion of invisible germs to be ridiculous and refuses to even discuss it. for the next 80 days the country has a death watch, watching what's happening to president garfield. bliss issues a statement, if i can't save him, no one can. bliss considers the greatest risk to garfield's health to be other doctors who would get in his way. garfield's personal physician, dr. hyde baxter shows upt the white house. bliss says i know why you're
here, i won't tolerate it, get out. baxter says i'm the president's personal physician. bliss says, you were, but not because of this emergency. bliss starts screaming at him. garfield is lying right next to him, and dr. baxter realizes that this argument is not helping the president and walks away, thereby conceding to bliss. baxter cries out, i've been with the president for years, he's my friend. bliss says, friendship is not enough. i am the president's doctor. other doctors later came and said why was bliss in charge? bliss said because both the president and mrs. garfield asked for me to be in charge. mrs. garfield later says she was never asked and never would have come to that decision. mrs. garfield had two other doctors in mind. the first was a doctor named sylas bowman who was the
president's cousin and longtime childhood friend and close physician when he was in ohio. when he came -- she sent him a telegram and he came, and bliss said i don't need you here but if you must be here you can be a nurse 3. and the second doctor mrs. garfield called for a female physician, and garfield used to sing, dr. edson, dr. edson, full of medicine, full of medicine. he loved her. bliss said women are good to be nurse, not doctors. so bliss was in charge. he issued daily bulletins on the president's health. his condition fluctuated. foo foo fooefers came and went. he spent the summer eating little, only liquids. he was in excruciating pain for the last 80 days of his life.
although he was in terrible condition, bliss refused to allow the president to be taken to a hospital. he said he will get better care in the white house. the summer of 1881 was one of the hottest in american history up to that point. as a result, even worse, the plumbing system in the white house had -- was over 100 years old or almost 100 years old. the pipes were disintegrating. the basement of full of foul smells. the water flowing through the white house was foul. the building was close to the tidal basin area which then was not what it looks like now. insects were around that summer. over half a dozen servants in the white house came down with malaria. in order to protect the president from malaria, bliss said he should be given daily doses of quinine, 5 to 10 grams. not only in that dosage can it
be fatal, it causes cramping which caused further problems for the president's already ravaged digestive system. it was so hot they decided to develop an air-conditioning system, and it was the first in america. they took a huge block of ice and had fans blowing across -- they were able to lower the temperature in the president's room by 20 degrees, but it made so much noise that the president said i'd rather have the heat than this noise so they had to shut it off. at this point, it's time to introduce another one of the figures in our story. you know what's coming. alexander graham bell. alexander graham bell, of course, a major figure by now because he'd invented the telephone. he decided to be helpful, and since bliss said that the key thing was finding the bullet and they did not have x-rays at the time, he decided to develop a metal detector to try to find the bullet through metal, so he
worked feverishly to come up with a metal detector and it worked. and they pulled out a number of civil war veterans that had bullets in them left over and it went click, click, click, there it is. they had something that looked like a telephone. it worked. he goes to bliss and says i can find the bullet. bliss says i don't believe you. he brings over civil war veteran, click, click, click, it worked. they take it to the white house, here he is with a new metal detector trying to find it. problem. it said the bullet went to the right, click, click, click, there it is, it works. they open the president. no bullet. he was on a spring bed. spring metal frame bed. it would have gone click, click, click no matter where they had it. and so it didn't work because it wasn't used properly because he was on the bed.
garfield is bedridden for the summer. graham bell's thing doesn't work. they can't find the bullet. he is in extreme pain. he's starting to develop sepsemia and the doctors decide to operate. of course, this is another bad thing that they do. by now the infection in his body is so toxic that it's a danger to anyone near him, and while doing the operation, bliss accidentally slices his finger and puss from the president gets into his finger and as a result he gets what they then called puss fever and his hand swells up so much that he has to put -- dr. bliss has to put his hand in a sling for days afterward. garfield's weight drops from over 200 pounds to 130. he's unable to keep food down. bliss begins to fear that
garfield will die of starvation. he's unable to keep any food down other than oatmeal, and sadly, the only food garfield hates is oatmeal. he's suffering from profound dehydration. he can't keep liquids down. in today's world he would be given an iv. in those days, they did not have it. he began suffering from hallucinations. blood poisoning and infection are causing even greater pain and problems. in the meantime, whenever he is lucid, he tells jokes. he's trying to be the model patient and he keeps particularly when mrs. garfield is around trying to put the best light on all of this. mrs. garfield suffers so much from the stresses that her hair falls out so she only wears a scarf on her head or a hat when she comes to see him. finally it's decided to get out of the heat of washington and take him back to elberon in new jersey and on september 6th, a
specially equipped train takes him to new jersey in the belief, in the hope that maybe if he's at the seaside, the better air, the fresh air, seeing the ocean, will somehow revive him. unfortunately, new infections set in as well as spasms of angi angina. ing on monday september 19th, he suffers an aneurism following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia. they try to revive the president and garfield's final words are "my work is done." mrs. garfield leans over her dying husband and yells, oh, why was a made to suffer such a cruel wrong? he's pronounced dead at 10:35 in the morning by dr. bliss and
obviously vice president chester arthur becomes the next president. garfield's body is taken back to washington where it lays in state in the capitol in the rotunda. before being taken to cleveland where he is finally buried on september 26th. he is survived by his mother, eliza belew garfield who dies zempb years later in 1888 and lucrettia survives him, leading a quiet but comfortable life. the five children who grew into adulthood all did very well. harry became a lawyer and professor of government at princeton, then like his father, he became a university president at his father's university, williams. james ii became a lawyer and would serve as secretary of the interior under teddy roosevelt. the third, irwin, became a lawyer. abram known as abe became an architect.
and molly, the daughter, mary was her name but everyone called her molly, mary is the president's top assistant, joseph stanley brown who had gone to yale and was sort of a second son to her -- additional son to the president. was very close tog garfield. he becomes a successful banker. the kids do very, very well. most historians and doctors and every historian i read on this came to the same conclusion and that is that garfield would have certainly survived if doctors had led him alone. that the bullet was lodged in that fatty tissue. he would have been out walking, he would have been fine. he was certainly in no danger. had garfield been shot 15 years later, the bullet would have been found quickly with an x-ray machine but it didn't happen. he would have been treated with
ant anti-septic surgery because by then america bought into lister but at the time they didn't. he would have been back on his feet within a matter of days or a week. unfortunately for garfield, most americans at the time did not understand anti-sepsis and the need for cleanliness to prevent infection. in addition, all of the probing of garfield in all likelihood punctured his liver as well when they were probing around into him. they had erroneously probed rightward when the bullet went leftward, and the autopsy also revealed pneumonia in both lungs and was filled with so much puss that it was uncontrolled sep seem ya. chester arthur was in new york when he found out that the president had died and his immediate reaction was, oh, no, tell me this isn't true. arthur was known as a man of leisure. he liked fine wines and dinner
parties. he spent a lot of time grooming the mustache and those sideburns. he was very proud of them. his wife had died shortly before, and so he moved in with roscoe conklin. roscoe conklin at the time had a place in new york, and that's who he was living with. when he first got the news, arthur's first comment was, i hope, my god, i hope it is a mistake. but it was not a mistake. he travels from new york to new jersey to be with mrs. garfield and to pay his respects. we'll come back to him and his -- when we go over what happened to the various folks. time to move on to charles guiteau's trial. the case of the united states versus charles guiteau, began in november of 1881, less than two months after garfield's death.
america's greatest fear was that guiteau would be let off, that he would be able to have a plea of insanity and that they would let him off. the insanity defense was known at the time and was used, and they were quite fearful. for quite a while guiteau could not find an attorney to represent him, because no one wanted to represent the assassin of a president. so finally he got george scoville to represent him. scoville was married to guiteau's sister, frances, whom he had tried to attack with an axe. that's not who you want as your attorney. scoville was a patent attorney. he had never tried a criminal case. that's also not what you want. but he was also the only attorney willing to take the case. scoville said, if i did not think the unfortunate man insane, i would not have represented him at all. and so his defense, of course,
was insanity. as hard as it was to find an attorney, it was equally hard to find jurors because everyone in america thought guiteau was guilty. he was caught right there. there was no question about it. so they interviewed over 200 people before they finally -- close to 200 people before they finally came up with 12. the trial was an enormous hoopla in washington. you needed tickets to get in, even journalists needed tickets to get in to see the trial. guiteau began his defense by asking if he could give a statement, and his statement said that he wanted to indict the president's true murderers, the doctors. he said, i was the shooter. the killer were the doctors. the doctors who mistreated him should bear the odium of his death, not his assailant.
they should be indicted for murdering james garfield and not me. i deny the killing, your honor. i admit only the shooting. his behavior at the trial became increasingly bizarre, to put it mildly. he would constantly insult his defense team yelling at his brother-in-law during the trial, "you're a jackass." "i must tell you that in public, i'm sorry to say, but you're a jackass." he would ask for legal advice from spectators with whom he would pass notes during the trial. he would speak when he felt like it. he would recite epic poems that he wrote. he would get up periodically and sing "john brown's body." he claimed he was not guilty because it was god's will that he shot the president and, therefore, he was just carrying this out.
he placed an ad in "the new york herald." it was a personal ad for an elegant christian lady of wealth under 30 belonging to first class family. object -- matrimony." so he was looking to see if he could get married because of this. he said the lady should send him letters which he would treat in utmost confidence. he couldn't understand that the public was angry at him even when two attempts were made to assassinate him when he was leaving the court, including a man by the name of william mason who got close enough to guiteau jack ruby style but shot and got his coat but didn't hit guiteau, himself. as the trial wore on, he began to say that he was sane before the assassination, insane just
prior and during and sane again, that, therefore, he should be released promptly and given a job as ambassador to paris. you know, once you set your sights on a job, you may as well try to keep it. he then also actively began to prepare to get on the lecture tour. okay. this is the picture. he, by the way, allowed photos to be taken which he would autograph for payment. woody allen once said that he had -- his grandfather had this marvelous watch which he sold to him on his deathbed. what do you -- payment when you're on trial for murdering the president, what are you going to do with it? he was very dismayed and very surprised when the jury issued a verdict unanimous in less than an hour, january 25th, 1882,
finding him guilty, and when the verdict was issued, there was tremendous applause. he then appealed and then wrote a letter to president arthur saying the only reason you are president is because of me, and if i hadn't shot him, you wouldn't be president. you owe me." two things. pardon me? and by the way, i need a job. obviously this didn't happen. he was hanged on june 30th, 1882, three days short of the second anniversary of the assassination of garfield. he wrote a lengthy poem, which he said was really not a poem, it was a song, and he asked for an orchestra to play while he could sing his song on the way
to the gallos, he was allowed to read the poem, but there was no orchestra. a few matters to clear up before we get into questions. remarkably chester arthur turned out to be a far better president than anyone, including chester arthur, could have predicted. he owed more than any man in the country, he owed to the spoil system. i mean, the collector of the port. he was corrupt. he fired from that. first thing he did was broke off contact with conklin. he said you are corrupt, i want nothing to do with you. conklin felt totally angered by this, to put it mildly. chester arthur then worked with a senator from ohio, pendleton, to pass ultimately to draft, and then pass the pendleton civil service act creating tests for people to get jobs and to create the civil service commission. only 10% of federal jobs were covered at the beginning, but obviously it set the whole stage for everything that we have here in washington now. it passed january of 1883, and
it is the legacy of garfield that came because obviously of his passing. conklin was furious with him. to his amazement when they met, chester arthur told him, your behavior is outrageous. he realized he was powerless to control the man whom he had created, and he went back to his room sick with rage. he felt this betrayal was even worse than when the legislature hadn't renamed him to be senator from new york. arthur was an honest, decent president. not a great one, but certainly for the times did a good enough job. that said, the republicans did not renominate him for president after his term ended. and instead, the republicans nominated james blaine who ran against grover cleveland. and grover cleveland turned out to be only democrat elected between abraham lincoln in 1860
and woodrow wilson in 1912. other than cleveland, no democrat was elected president -- cleveland was elected twice but was the only democrat elected president. arthur moves back to new york where he's diagnosed suffering from brights disease. an excruciatingly painful kidney disease, fatal at the time, and dies at the age of 56. conklin then goes and gives a speech at chester arthur's funeral and refers to him as his accidentsy. conklin himself falls ill in new york while walking home from his girlfriend's house during a blizzard and dies in 1888 of pulmonary edema. dr. bliss, our famous physician, hoped that this case would tremendously thrust him into the leadership of the medical profession in america. obviously exactly the opposite happened.
the entire medical community in the united states turned on him. within months after garfield's death, the boston medical and surgical journal printed an article criticizing bliss not for doing too little but for doing too much. bliss has done more to cast distrust upon american surgery than anyone ever in our medical history." another medical journal concluded that "none of the injuries inflicted by the assassin bullet were necessarily fatal and listeria wound treatment would have prevented the death of the president." another medical journal ended their criticism of dr. bliss by quoting the poet, thomas gray, who a century earlier had written "ignorance is bliss." bliss, of course, rejected this criticism and said that no one in the country could have
treated the president better -- and as a result, sent a bill to the congress for his services for $25,000, which in those days was enormous. the congress debated the matter and agreed to give him $6,500. and he was so outraged at this he complained bitterly at the notoriously inadequate compensation and turned it down. seven years later he would die following a stroke, never recovering his health, his practice, or his reputation. the outrage, interestingly enough, at the president's assassination did not focus on the fact that there was no guarding of the presidents. and it was not until after mckinley's death that they established the secret service to guard the president. something we'll talk about next week. what they focused on instead was the cause, the need for civil service reform.
garfield, himself, was mourned in the country. it was almost like the kennedy assassination. this young, vibrant, brilliant, with this great family, camelot is over. hundreds of thousands of people waited hours in the rain to walk past the president's casket in the rotunda. in cleveland, more than 150,000 people, which was equal to the entire population of the city, came to the president's funeral and paid their respects. a wreath was sent to the united states by queen victoria and it adorned his coffin while it was taken to the final resting place. he was permanently interred, was moved in 1890 and ultimately mrs. garfield joined him when she was buried as well. and this evening as i walked over here from my office, i walked past this. the garfield memorial in front of the house of representatives.
which those of you -- i keep referring to my day job as, i make house calls. my father was a physician. he made real house calls. i'm the type of doctor that you call if you need footnotes. but i walk daily past the garfield statue. it's a nine-foot bronze statue in front on the west side of the capitol right near the helicopter land pad. it will occur to some of you on the way home. the gyrocopter, i'm sorry. it's located just below the capitol grounds itself. interest there are three male figures below the statue of garfield each five feet in height, representing the various stages of his life. a scholar, a soldier, and a statesman. anyway, i've gone on far longer than i thought. last week the questions were better than the talk.
so i'd be glad to entertain some questions. yes, sir? >> during the eight days when the president was dying, who was running the country? who was doing the -- >> during the 80 days when the president was dying, who was running the country? day-to-day? >> that is such an excellent question. you're not going to believe the answer. no one. it was the summer. in the summer in washington, everyone left. so there was really no one around. there was some question. people -- blaine said, should we name chester arthur to be acting president? and they all felt this was a bad idea. and so they didn't. and arthur stayed in new york. and so basically, things just sort of continued. no one was really running the
country. and we really didn't deal with the incapacity of presidents until i believe it's the 22nd amendment. woodrow wilson is incapacitated toward the last year and a half of his life and mrs. wilson is almost a surrogate president determining who should be able to see the president. she fires the secretary of state because she doesn't like lansing. and so almost no one was running the country. it's an excellent question that doesn't have a really good answer. diana? >> but i have another one. why -- oh. a couple things. why wasn't he taken to a hospital? and, also, what is the story about chester arthur? i mean, what were his credentials? where did he go to college and why did he -- >> wow. okay. the answer to the first is dr. bliss did not want him to go to a hospital.
bliss felt that he would get better care in the white house. and also, he was fearful that if he was in the hospital, he, bliss, would loss control of the case. and so he felt, what better than to make the white house a hospital, with one patient, with all these helpers around. and so bliss was the one who turned down the idea of the hospital. there's not much that a hospital in those days could have done that they couldn't do for him in the white house, anyway. if they needed something from the hospitals, they would bring it over. in terms of chester arthur, i honestly don't know what his credentials were. he'd never run for political office before. the only job i know that he had was the port collector of new york which was a corrupt position which he got because roscoe conklin appointed him to that, and then he was fired because of corruption. so he had no real background. that's why when he became president and did a relatively good job, everyone, including chester arthur, was surprised. yes? >> i spoke to --
>> wait for the mike. >> yeah. okay. >> thank you. i spoke to you a little bit last time. i'm an infectious disease specialist. >> i thought you weren't going to make it today. >> yeah, well we changed our plans to come. >> okay. >> anyhow, and so i can comment a little bit on the premise. i agree pretty much with what you said if they left him alone, certainly his chances would have improved significantly. still, you got to remember, the bullet traveling at relatively low speed would not necessarily create the amount of heat to create sterile conditions. and there still might have been a chance without antibiotics he could have died from an infection. but certainly he was doomed from the time that bliss stuck his finger in there. if you read some of the descriptions, he had abscesses in his glands well away from where that bullet went in meaning it went through the
bloodstream. obviously, as you well pointed out, he was doomed. now, i'll point out that in 1876, joseph lister came to this country and gave a series of lectures where he said he was treated very politely but basically the response was, thank you, dr. lister, very interesting, go back to europe. so it took a while. in europe, yes. here, as you point out, it did take a while for american physicians to adopt listerian methods. so ironically -- i'm also a civil war re-enactor so i portray dr. bliss. but i to, in want to in my defe the time of the civil war, the lincoln assassination, this was predated all of this bad stuff. the reason i portrayed him with is he was also the commanding officer of armory square hospital which is where the first doctor to take care of lincoln served under dr. bliss.