Assassination of James A. Garfield

1881 murder of the 20th President of the United States

The assassination of President James A. Garfield happened in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881. Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau at about 9:30 am, less than four months into Garfield's term as the 20th President of the United States.

Garfield (right) with James G. Blaine (left) during the assassination, 1881

Guiteau shot Garfield after being mad at him about not receiving credit for Garfield's victory in 1880 after he wrote a speech about Garfield but never made the speech. The 31st Speaker of the United States House of Representatives James G. Blaine was at Garfield's side when he was shot down.

Garfield died eleven weeks later on September 19, 1881 aged 49. He was the second of four presidents to be assassinated, after Abraham Lincoln and the next president to be assassinated would be William McKinley and next John F. Kennedy. His vice president, Chester A. Arthur, became the next president after Garfield. And on June 2, 1882, Guiteau was executed by hanging, aged 40.

Garfield also lived the longest after the shooting than the other presidents who were assassinated. Lincoln and Kennedy died less than a day after being shot, and McKinley died a week later.