Garfield graduated from Williams College in 1856 and became principal of Hiram College from 1857 to 1861. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1859 and at the outset of the Civil War, organized an Ohio volunteer regiment. He rose to the rank of major general, but resigned his commission to take a seat in the House of Representatives in 1863, a position he would hold for 17 years. He was chosen by the Republicans in 1880 as the presidential candidate on the 36th ballot and selected Chester A. Arthur as his running mate. After his victory he named James Blaine as Secretary of State, whose own presidential candidacy had been blocked by Republican Party chairman, Roscoe Conkling, the champion of political favors and the spoils system. Garfield had only been in office 4 months when he was shot by Charles Guiteau, a disappointed office seeker, in July, 1881 and died two months later.
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