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tv   Assassination of President James Garfield  CSPAN  May 31, 2015 1:55pm-4:01pm EDT

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good question. any other questions? ok, great. thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] x you are watching american history tv pair follow us on twitter for information on our scheduling programs upcoming. james garfield served nine terms in the house of representatives and oman -- only 200 days as 20 president of the united states before he died from gunshot wounds from 1881 assassination a chat.
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we will hear about the company hated set of circumstances that ended in garfield's death. this event from the smithsonian associates is about two hours. professor nurnberger: of the four u.s. president assassinations, the one i find fascinating and interesting is the one we will discuss tonight james garfield. for quite a number of reasons. first of all, garfield is one of the most intelligent presidents we've ever had. by the end of it or the middle of it, you will start laughing because you will just say, that cannot be. he cannot be that good in that field, it is just not possible. you will find something else and say, no.
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he did -- he is just incredibly bright. the hope for his presidency was in or miss. we 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. i do not know how you test something like that. it is not as if you give presidents iq test. it is a lot easier with things that are easy to measure. we all know madison was our shortest and lincoln was our tallest president. that is easy. i do not know how you know who the most intelligent is. the two adams, jefferson, madison, lincoln, and garfield is right up there. one of the reasons it is so exciting is because of who he was and how he could have changed america. last week, when we discussed lincoln, we were discussing, had
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lincoln not been shot, how would america be different? with the south be so far behind the rest of the country, even today, and education and health care and so many other areas and would african-americans have suffered over 100 years as they did had lincoln been in charge of construction a congress who wanted to take revenge on the south and did not really care about the african-americans. one of the reasons today so interesting is the brilliance of garfield. the second is, the other main character in our stereo -- our story, it shows the failure of our mental health treatment in this country then and today. there is no doubt in my mind that charles was mentally ill. it was not treated properly then, even though they knew, as we will discuss.
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they told his father he needs to be institutionalized and he is nuts. the father agreed, but then they said, you know putting people in, you have to pay and the father said, i cannot afford it, so they did not institutionalize it. 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 did not do that last week. my failure. so when he said that, i thought it was a very good idea. obviously, when you prepare talks like this, i use a lot of sources. secondary sources, books, and primary sources, and a lot of those primary sources are available on the internet. you can read the letters of
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garfield and the diaries and so forth. it is quite easy to get primary sources now. i use a lot of different sources but if i have to recommend one book, i will do that for garfield mckinley, and kennedy. in the case of garfield, a book called destiny of the republic, a tale of madness, medicine, and the murder of a president, it is a wonderful read. ok, good. she is an excellent writer. if i were to read just one book on this topic, it would be this. obviously, i use it, but i use a lot of other it's as well. but that would be the one book, again, there is no book exam after this, there is no assignment and a couple of members of my book club are here today and we will not discuss it, but it would be the one book to take a look at. you do not often talk about
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garfield, or people don't get i remember a conversation i had in 1990 -- 1988. i know exactly the year. then congressman was running for president. i knew him quite well, we were good friends. i was chatting with him and i asked him, do you know the last member of the house who was elected from the house to become president? he said, no. i said, let me give you a hint. do you know who the only member of the house who was elected straight from the house to be president? he still said no. i said, garfield. he said, they shot him. i said, you are running for the job and i am not. but garfield, as we will see, in
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a brief time, was president elect from ohio, and city congressmen all at the same time. fascinating, fascinating guy. at the time he was elected president, he was by far the youngest president we had in american history to that date and only two american presidents in our history died before reaching the age of 50. kennedy and garfield. obviously both for sad reasons. but he is the only house member to time trying to think quickly. on the democratic side, in this time, no one from the house is running in on the republican side, no one either. that i am aware of. it is not a stepping stone, usually, for the presidency. it occasionally happens that a house member tries to run for
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president, but not that often. even senators. in the 20th century come only two senators when straight to the white house. obviously, obama did, and this time ted cruz come marco rubio and rand paul. so three center -- senators are trying to move from the senate but not often from the house. vice presidents, not that many either. only three i can think of when straight from the vice presidency to becoming president. jefferson, van buren, and bush senior. governors, more often. onto garfield. garfield was born in 1831 and died the year he was elected to be president in 1881. he served nine consecutive terms in the house and his presidency
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lasted only 200 days. he was inaugurated in march. he was shot july 2. he died in september. he lingered, and we will talk a little bit about his medical care and what happened to him. james garfield was the youngest of five children, worn in absolute, extreme poverty. this is a re-creation of his house in a while. -- in ohio. his family lived in a log cabin and were so poor, they cannot afford to put down a log floor. his father died when garfield was 18 months old leaving his mother to raise five children on her own. single mom with five kids and no money. the family was so poor, he did not have his first pair of shoes until he after he was four years old. later on, when people admired
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how he rose from total poverty to becoming president of the united states, he did not romanticize it at all. he said, let us never praise poverty, especially as a means of raising children. but you do need to really have a sense of off -- awe about his mother to be able to pull this off, to go from such poverty and i will keep stressing that, to getting her son in the white house. shields merely moved into the white house with him. she later claimed she thought come and i'm not sure if she was right or wrong, she claimed to have been the first presidents mother to move into the white house and take care of the kids. a remarkable woman herself, she was fiercely proud that she never accepted aid from anyone. they were tarred, and from her he gave a love of learning, the education.
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it defines his life and more than everything else, schooling and education for himself, and when he is president for the country, it is a key to understanding him. when his older brother, thomas was 11, thomas left home to work on other people's farms to help raise money. he would give the money back to mom. when james turned 11, he said, it is time for me to do the same. if thomas leaves home at 11:00 i will. the mom said no. she realized there was something very special about this kid and she said, you are staying in school and we will support you. you need to stay in school. it shapes his minded attitudes and creates opportunities for him that otherwise never would
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have existed. garfield's's parents were members of the church of crisis. he was never particularly religious growing up. at about age 19, he decided to go to church. speaking skills were so good, on his first day in church, the pastor said, would you like to say a few words, and he was so remarkable that they said, you need to go and travel around to other churches and give sermons. people who heard him preach said if he decided to make his career in the ministry, he would have been one of the leading clergymen in the -- in america. we will find this on everything he does. if he had gone to the church, he would have been the best in the country. he remains an elder in the church and resigns when he becomes president. in his statement, he said, i resigned the highest office in the land to become president of the nice dates. garfield at age 16, his life
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almost took a major change. all of a sudden, he decided, enough with school. i want to go have a life -- on seaon sea he.was living hundreds of miles away from the ocean. a close as he could find was to get work on the ohio and. canal. at age 16, he drops out of school in the mom is totally devastated. he later said, i broke my mother's heart as she feel -- fears this will end her high hopes for me. he takes a job working on a boat. unfortunately, a few days after he was on the boat, he could not swim. all the son, he falls off the boat and he cannot swim.
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he is going under and he grabs a rope and he yanks on the rope and he is able to pull himself up on the boat and then he noticed the rope was not attached to anything. it got caught in a crack in the wood on the boat and saved his life. he said he was somehow able to pull himself up on this and he said, i did not believe god paid any attention to me on my own account, but i came to believe you save me for something greater and better than canal and clear he went home and said, enough of this. he was a totally changed young man, thinking, i do not know why this happened, but god is sending me a signal. he also got very sick and caught malaria. he was so sick, after 10 days, the fever broke and he thought it was ok and that he had a severe relapse and for two
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months, no one knew if he would survive. when he finally survived and finally recovered his health, mom and brother thomas went to him and they said, thomas had saved $17, so far of money had not given to the family. they said, we're giving you this money on one condition -- you go back to school. he attended a number of local schools and when he reached age 20, he decided it is time to go on to the equivalent of college. he went to western region or -- western reserve. but he could not afford the tuition, so he took a job as the janitor. he would get up at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning and would chop wood so the other students would have fires in their rooms. he would go and prepare breakfast for the other students, and then he would join them in klass -- class.
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then he would help them with lunch, 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. because in his first year, he learned and became fluent in greek and latin and was able to read virgil in the original. every time you go through this, you say, this is amazing and how is this possible? if you think it is impressive he was fluent in greek and latin after one year, the teacher said his best subject was math here just to give you an idea of how good he was at math, when he was in congress coming was born for dashboard for a while, so he developed a trapezoid proof of the perfect room theorem and
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apparently garfield's's work in math is still taught in math programs today. despite his ability in both math and languages, his interest with science. he studied all the latest scientific discoveries. again, remember he is taking a full course load as a student and he is teaching as an assistant professor. in his second year, his teaching latin and one of his students -- as you can see, this is his wedding picture. he was 19 a professor, she was 18, a student. she would later tell her daughter he was a big shy kid with unruly hair. he was as awkward and untutored in manners and determined to learn anything and everything that came his way.
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they had virtually opposite personalities. he was a big hearted and cheerful, outgoing guy. he would not shake hands with people at he would give people bear hugs. people laugh with him he was great company. people love being around this extroverted, big and wonderful guy. she, on the other hand, was shy soft-spoken, very private paired in her diary, she wrote that she was fearful she would be considered cold and heartless. the courtship 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. this is not a good thing if you are according. it seems first time he was able to tell her what he thought of her, it was by letter.
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he took a tour of niagara falls and he writes her a letter in which he says, please pardon the liberty i take in pointing my pen toward your name, for this evening, i have taken some of scenery, i could not take it myself. not exactly a love letter, but it is the first time he is telling her, i'm thinking about you. she was even more shy and reserved and he was, so neither of them were able to tell each other that they really felt quite strongly about each other. he leaves ohio and decides to finish college at williams college in williamstown, massachusetts. our new congressman went to williams, -- williams college and in fact, when we visited don when he was the ambassador to
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switzerland, we brought him a copy of this because both he and garfield share the same all my motto. when he was at williams, of course, needless to say, he was the best student there, a skilled debater and skilled writer, the editor and in two years at a shy five, he got a great start and graduated with the highest honors. returns to reserve to teach latin and greek and become a professor, as well as other subjects here a year later, he is to be president of the school. you are going to keep laughing. he then realizes the school is deeply in debt, has no endowment, so he becomes the chief fundraiser and raises enough money so the schools able to survive as well and achieve financial viability. he also resumes his rather awkward courtship of a woman who he called --
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both of them remain unable to tell each other what they think and so one day, she hands him her diary and says, just read this. in the diary it is full of pages about how much she loves him. finally, november 11, 1858, the 27-year-old james garfield marries the 26-year-old after an 11 year courtship. here she is. if the courtship was difficult the beginning of the marriage was pre-much worse. they had great difficulty figuring out ok, now that we're living together, what do we do. as a result, it became even more difficult because he was never home. in the first five years of marriage, they spent less than five months together because of the civil war and everything else.
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separation and difficulty of communicating with one another made it very difficult for them at home alone. the first child allies, the same name is james's mother, she unfortunately died at age three. they grieve separately instead of together. it is a difficult time. in 1864, when he was a congressman and she was in ohio, he thought he totally ruined their marriage because he had an affair with a young widow in new york. she was a reporter for the new york tribune. they had a month-long affair, he felt guilty, went home and confessed to his life, assuming that the marriage was now over. she forgives him and says, it is time for us to figure out how to make this thing better.
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from that moment, they fell passionately love each other. they decided they were going to do the best they could together with each other. after that, maybe for the first time they almost could not bear to be a part. he later wrote, we waited a long time for the love to come, but it is here to stay here if he later wrote she became the light of my life and the love of my love. he wrote, you cannot know how much i need you, how much i miss you, how much i love you. i can hardly bear to be away from you. from the moment they really jumpstarted their marriage, they were a happily married couple. it took them a long time to get there, but once they were there they were really there. they ultimately wind up having evan children here they were there.
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two of them, sadly, their daughter and son, passed away before either reached their fourth birthday. but five did become mature adults and we will talk about them a little bit later. the five who did -- who survived through adulthood did extremely well because they had great parents. particularly after he passed away, she did a great job raising them afterwards. while he was president of western reserve, he decided, he would study law. you will keep laughing. in 1859, he studied law, and two years later, he is admitted to the ohio bar. it turns out he was an absolutely brilliant lawyer. unfortunately for his legal career the civil war came first and then he was elected to
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congress, so he had put law aside. he did not actually engaged in the practice of law until right after the civil war are the first case he argues of force was in one of this in court. -- the supreme court. it was in front of the supreme court. a case that was still one of the key cases taught in constitutional law today, on how to deal with civilians during combat times. it is cited today as well particularly garfield's argument at the time. two things stalled his legal career. politics and the war. he was fiercely opposed to slavery and very eagerly supportive, very passionately supported the rights of
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african-americans to be equal citizens in the country. when he was relatively poor, a number of freed slaves, he put them up, and particular, one stayed with them for a while and he gave them with little money he had to try to help the slaves. he was in normal sleep upset when john brown was hanged. he said this is a dark day in the history of our country and then in his diary, in latin he writes, slavery be dammed. the good switch between latin and greek and english. from what you can pickup of this guy, it was no spreadsheet people were drawn to him and very impressed with him. in 1859, a state senator in ohio died and the republican party, relatively new, comes to him and
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said, you are for emancipation you are for the union, would you run for state senate? they said to give it a try and so of course, he wins overwhelmingly in the first attempt in public office and that begins with his political career. it is a remarkable story and he probably would have gone on to do very well as a lawyer and a politician and in the civil war breaks out. when it takes out when the civil war breaks out he enlists as a private and four weeks later, he is promoted as kernel. it gets better. he is one of the first to apply
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and is immediately assigned to stop an invasion of eastern kentucky by the confederates. abraham lincoln says, i hope to have god on my side, but i must have kentucky. they were fearful that if the confederacy gained control of eastern kentucky, it would be able to split the union. very concerned and they did not have enough troops and seasoned leaders of these troops. they sent garfield with about 1000 men, not enough artillery and said come repel the invasion.
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it is marching into eastern kentucky. garfield was told, stop them. he said how and they said, that is why you are in charge. garfield decides to study geography and map. -- maps. he comes up with a plan where he splits 1000 troops into three about 300 30 each, and attacked the confederates from three sides. they think they are outnumbered 3-1, when they are in turn actually having more than 2-1 majority. surrender and leave. this is known as the battle of middle creek. it is the battle that helps save eastern kentucky for the union. as a result, garfield gains nationwide recognition and is promoted to general.
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he is been in the army four months. typical of garfield, when he spoke of the battle of middle creek, he invariably never spoke of his role in this, but only spoke of the sadness he felt about the number of union and confederate young boys who died and were injured. in early 1862, friends of his came up to him and said, would you like to run to congress. he said, i do not have time. they said, what you let us put your name and nec, i do not care. do what you want. -- put your name in, he said, i do not care, do what you want. after the election, he shows up in washington, not to be a congressman but military duty. he is appointed, he goes to help general grant at the battle of shiloh. grant says he would not have
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survived if garfield would not come and go the forces of sydney johnson, and the euro was garfield. in 1863, he returns as chief of staff to general william rosecrans, the commander of the army of cumberland. he then comes to the conclusion -- he complains to other generals and says we do not have a good intelligence unit so he creates the army intelligence unit and sets it up from scratch. it turns out he then gets a reputation as a military genius. he is the principal strategist for the unions taking over and gaining control and played a key role in a battle. in late 18 cc three, his health suddenly deteriorated.
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he suffers from jaundice, significant weight loss, and probably infectious hepatitis. so he has to go home. he goes home and when he arrives home, he is personally promoted to major general. he does that and then he goes home and nurses him back to health. at this point back in good health come he goes to washington and says, you are a super generate test general, and i need you in congress. you have not filled your duties here. we are fighting against real crazies. please serve in congress. here is garfield with his daughter, who sadly enough dies at age three. when he gets to congress, his first speech calls for emancipation. he gained tremendous respect among his colleagues as a
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wonderful speaker. according to one reporter, when he takes the floor garfield's voices heard above all others. his eloquent words move the heart and convince the reason until the week and the wavering. garfield and actually serves nine terms in the house and becomes one of the most influential and respected members of congress, serving as chairman of several important committees who have time to go through his whole congressional career. a number of very significant committees. he is seen by his colleagues as one of the brightest members and thoughtful members and fairest members. democrats go up to him as well because they like and trust him. so he is a superb orator and gives tremendous speeches on the house. when garfield is scheduled to speak, the galleries fill up.
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people know he is speaking in advance and they come to listen. an incredible strategist on how to get through the house. when the civil war ends, he is one of the latest members of the house. have you close the army, how do you get people out of these and get them back in? he is particularly interested in finance because of his math background and uses his position on the house ways and means committee and is chair of the house banking and currency committee to focus on the currency of the country. he is very upset at the printing of paper money, not backed by gold. he says greenbacks are the printed lies of thean economy based on the gold
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standard, totally opposed by his constituents in ohio, who want a more inflationary currency. he says he doesn't care, that it is better for the country. another one of his top priorities is to reagent apartment of education. he says we need to educate our people, particularly african-americans better. those who are free slaves, you cannot just free people and let them go, you need to educate them or otherwise people will take advantage of them. he gets that that she gets past the first department of education, which collapses afterwards, not because of him but because of mismanagement because of the department of education, so it takes decade before a new department is set up. he totally reworks how the census work. and how we count people in the information and as a result of the census taken that he established we have a far
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greater understanding of who is living in america at the time. shortly after he was reelected in 18 64 they say that in the last 27 weeks they have been together less than 20 and he says -- you know, you're right come to washington and live with me. he brings his family to washington and he is as happy as he has probably ever been. he loves the house, loves his colleague, his family is growing, has a little practice on the side earning decent money, time for the kids in particular -- they want a dog we will talk about the dog in a minute. he has got five kids, they are in a small house and that it is time to move some -- move to something bigger. they walk around, they cannot and a place that they like. he says -- i can do this myself. he studies architecture.
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the house became the model there is an editorial there that says if he gave a politics you would be the best architect in america. [laughter] keep laughing. i'm sorry that we don't have time to go after the rest of garfield's house career. again, he was involved in all the issues of the time that you can imagine. the impeachment of president johnson. did we lose this? i think we did. nope, sorry. the impeachment of president johnson, westward expansion, reconstruction.
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he speaks forcefully in favor of the 15th amendment. he constantly goes on the floor to attack the ku klux klan and racism. one more issue to mention because it is important, is his commitment to civil service reform. at the time if you wanted a federal job you basically bribed someone to give you one. to the victor belonged the spoils. whoever won elections would appoint their friends and expect them to make contributions are yes to whoever gets them the job. garfield felt that it was time to have most federal jobs based upon merit, not on who you know or what you can buy. so, he is one of the leaders of trying to get civil service reform, which becomes important, this is why he was killed. the main black mark against garfield when he was in the house is he got caught up in one
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of the largest scandals of the time. the ab scam of its time, known as the credit mobile scandal. essentially stock in construction company there and the union pacific railroad, they were building the transcontinental railroad, members of congress want it there were some unscrupulous dealings. he had 10 shares and it was sold before it became a big deal. he was able to -- he got tainted a little bit because of his involvement in the scandal, but really it didn't cause him great difficulty. in 1876 garfield's son died and this time both he and lucretia 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.
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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 lane of maine. he decides he would rather be a senator. remember, in those days the senators are not elect by the people, they are elected by state legislatures. he goes to the legislature in says -- i want to be a senator. they say fine, he's elect it. leaving vacant the leadership of the republican party in the house. republicans were than the minority. they select garfield to be the republican leader. in today's terms his nancy pelosi, the leader of the minority party in the house. and he is thrilled. he thinks this is great. he loves the house, he's happy as can be he is the leader of the republicans there.
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these are the last years of the presidency of rutherford b. hayes. rutherford b. hayes for those of you -- we will talk about him mourn a because he is such a good friend of william mckinley. he won the contested presidential election in 1870 in which hayes got less vote than samuel tilden, popular vote, and also got probably less electoral votes, but because of florida -- [laughter] you cannot make this up. we were together with al gore on election night in nashville in 2000. i had a discussion with gore that this reminds me of the tilde hayes election of 1876 in which tilden went to bed thinking that he won. he got far more popular votes and in the electoral college he was one short.
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the question was -- where would florida go? florida had two sets, one republican, one demo that washington did not know what to do with it so they set up a commission on whose votes counted. they took five house members three democrats, to republicans picking five senators, three republicans, to democrats, and five supreme court justices. to democrats, to republicans and the only independent on the or, who realized that he would cast the deciding vote, so he gets, resigns from the supreme court. there is no other democrat or independent and as a result hayes wins because of the result of one supreme court justice picking the votes from florida. of course, that would never happen in our lifetime. [laughter] hayes has a difficult time as president. he vetoes quite a number of
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things passed by the democrats in congress and it is garfield's task to sustain the veto. his kids want a dog. so, he gets them a dog and a name it veto. this is -- you've got to love this guy. he's brilliant, he's happy, he's got the five kids, the dog, the house that he will. everything changes in 1880 and no one could have predicted. he announces he is not running for reelection, so ok, no one would have renominated him. it is now up to the republicans to pick the nominee. the republican party of 1880 is divided into two warring factions. they hate each other. it makes our current politics for game. the two factions, one is called the stalwarts, the others call the half. the stalwarts defend the spoils
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system. the only way to get a job is someone appoints you. to the victor belongs the spoils. they hate the south, they want revenge and don't particularly air about african-americans. half breeds want silver's -- civil service reform and better education for the african-americans who were freed from -- as a result. as mentioned, garfield obviously feels more comfortable with the half breeds. the leader of the stall wart so -- sort of their poster child, roscoe conkling, senator from new york. loyal supporter of president grant when grant was president. so much so that grant allowed conkling to pick anyone he wants to be the port collector of new york. a very, very lucrative position. if you get this job the only thing you have to do is give
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money to roscoe conkling. and the republican party. show loyalty. so, roscoe conkling is making so much money from the port of new york and his but he's running it are making so much money that when ulysses grant offers to appoint him to the supreme art he turns it down in says -- i can't order it. i would rather be a senator from new york control of the port of new york currency coming in. the customs house of new york he appoints his good buddy to be in charge. a man by the name of chester a arthur. yes, the same guy who becomes president of the united state. who is seen as so corrupt, but he runs the port customs house in new york. hayes then tries to remove chester arthur as the port
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collector of new york. conkling blocks him. hayes says that conkling is a thoroughly rotten man because he keeps this corrupt system going in new york. conkling is feared, he is slavishly obeyed, he is secretly despise. he is personally incredibly vain . he wears canary yellow waistcoats and always has take, wavy hair in this lip curl in the center of his four head. he has one major detractor in the united dates congress. that is the former congressman and now senator from maine james g blaine. blaine ridicules conkling for his haughty disdain, his grandeur us swell, his
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overpowering turkey gobbler strut. why can't our politicians today talk like that? [laughter] conkling vows that the only goal he has left in life is to block him from the only thing he wants, to be president. he says that if he can keep lane from becoming president, his life's ambitions are accomplished. ok, 1880. hayes is not running for reelection. blaine announces he wants to run for president. conkling says he has to block him. in order to block, you need a candidate. conkling comes up with a candidate, ulysses grant. this raises some questions. george washington said that only serve two terms. the question was -- and grant had served two terms and left, if he comes back to run again, is that ok?
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this was before franklin roosevelt change the system. it certainly wasn't illegal or unconstitutional for him to run again, but people wondered, is a third term that is not continuous at third term? or is it a first term for the second time? that is the way they phrased it. grant does not want to be president again. the two main figures for the republican nomination in 1880 is james lane of maine and former president ulysses grant. the third candidate is john sherman of ohio. john sherman had been the treasury secretary in the hayes administration left to become a
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senator from ohio. he is the brother of william tecumseh sherman. so, now we have three major figures. john sherman then goes to garfield and says -- garfield, will you be my campaign manager? garfield says yes, i would be honored. sherman then decides to resign from the senate in order to devote his full time to running for president. that leaves a vacancy for the ohio senate. now, remembers -- remember voters do not vote for senators state legislators do. state legislators in ohio take the next, james garfield. garfield is the republican leader in the house and the senator elect from ohio, ok? it's going to get better. the republican convention in 1880 takes place in chicago which is still suffering from
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and showing many of the ill effects from the famous fire. blame then places the nomination conkling gets up and nominates grant, citing him is our former president, the hero of appomattox. at this point, then, it is time to nominate sherman. garfield gives the nominating's each and it is a remarkable speech. he says -- it is time for america to live up to the true principles of the constitution, that all men white or black shall be free and stand equal before the law and the place goes nuts and everyone says maybe we are picking the wrong guy from ohio. this guy is a brilliant or eight or, wonderful, and sherman is ok. each convention, as you know always determine for themselves how the procedure works. in 1880 in order to get the
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nomination you needed 379 votes of delegates, unlike today, for the most part today's convex that today's conventions are a big party. we know and advance who the nominee is going to be. in those days they actually went and nominated people. they went to the convention, they needed 379. on the first ballot rant gets 304, blaine gets 284, sherman gets 93. assorted other candidates get a handful. no one is even close. so, they take a second ballot. and a third ballot. and the fifth ballot. and the 10th ballot. it is the same three, they shift five or six but nothing is changing. a delegate for -- from pennsylvania casts is one vote for garfield. garfield jumps up and says -- i am the campaign manager for sherman not a candidate, i will not accept the nomination.
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the chair rules garfield out of order, tells him to shut up and sit down. so he goes back. on the 34th ballot the delegates from wisconsin cast all of their votes for garfield. again, garfield jumps up in says -- i am not a candidate, i am the manager for sherman. he is again told -- you are out of order, sit down and shut up. on ballot 36 there is a clear shift for garfield who on the 36th ballot received 399 votes 20 more than necessary, getting the nomination to be the republican candidate for president. as he walks out of the convention hall a reporter came up to him and said -- general this is wonderful. garfield said -- i wish it had not happened. this is the worst day of my life. ok, so, now you have half of the
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presidential candidate, who do you select is the vice president? a stalwart. conkling names his buddy chester arthur, who had been fired for corruption, to be the vice presidential candidate. chester arthur had never run for political office. he was not in chicago. he did not know that he would be nominated for anything, let alone vice president of the united states. when he got a table saying the you had been nominated, he thought the western union had broke. he said -- what do you mean? i'm not a candidate. well, yes, he was. so, arthur had been paid $50,000 or year, forced out on the grounds of corruption, never held an office or run for an office and is suddenly running for vice president and everyone said -- well it doesn't matter
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garfield is the youngest man to run for president in american history at that. he ultimately becomes the youngest to become elected. good health, six foot two inches, great physical shape this wonderful family, who cares about who will be vice president, it's a relevant. here's another campaign poster of garfield and arthur. the democrats name 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, eight point 9 million votes cast, garfield wins by only 7000 votes nationwide. in the electoral vote he wins 214 to 155. suddenly we have president garfield, this is the official picture of him as president -- the only man ever elected to the
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presidency directly from the house of representatives. what is even more remarkable is that for a brief. of time -- brief period of time he is sitting there with the leader of the house, a senator elect, and president-elect at the same time. garfield is sworn in on march 4, 1881. here he is with pre-. -- craig. he did not have the money for his own horse and buggy, the president allows him to use the brig. thousands of people come to see the youngest person ever to be president. here is garfield's inauguration. in those days it was the east wing of the capital. these days it the west wing. garfield is in the capital waiting to come out and
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thousands of people are out there waiting for garfield to come out and three people walk out of the capital and everyone goes -- wow, wow, wow. the first person to walk out the new president, james garfield, the youngest man to be president. the next worsen to walk out his mother. he writes to her in says it would not be here if it were not for her. the next person to walk out? frederick douglass. he goes -- an african-american, standing next to the president right on the capitol lawn. that symbolizes garfield as much as anything else. in fact, after garfield is elected and moves into the white house, here he is being sworn in, james blaine is behind them here, here is the official white house richard. mom, garfield and the wife. she claims, and i don't know if is is accurate, but she claims to have been the first mother of
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a president to move into the white house to take care of a 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 life with african-americans. he believes that they deserve the full rights of citizenship and then goes on to say -- they must literate or they will be taken advantage of. he stresses the need for universal education in america. then he goes on to talk about agriculture as the key to american prosperity and says -- we have all of this land, we are growing all of these crop, it's all wonderful, but if we got scientific agriculture, if we studied how to improve the crop and culture we could double in triple the use of the land. says -- i want a smithsonian of mothers to do research on how to improve the quality of
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scientific nature of our agriculture. then he goes into an attack on the mormon church. particularly polygamy. he said that this offends the moral sense of manhood. finally, he talks about civil service for warm and says -- federal appointees should be based on merit, not on who you know. the speech is applauded. people go nuts, they think it's wonderful, and after the speech john phillips sousa leads the marine corps band in an inaugural rate using he had composed that we still use today. president, his family, james lucretia, the wife, the daughter, president garfield, erwin, harry. it was camelot, to use a phrase from kennedy's time. the president with his young
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amalie, with his wife and he's in love with. mom, sister there, growing up in abject poverty in a dirt poor cabin, reading virgil and latin. reading greek. a mathematics genius. could have been an architect. could have been the best in america. ok, he comes in and obviously the worst thing he has do is deal with filling federal jobs. in those days 100,000 federal job office seekers would come to the white house personally asking. he thinks that this is awful, but before he deals with the white house and the cabinet he together his cabinet and he tries with it between half and stalwart. he appoints james blaine to be secretary of state. blaine is a half, believes in civil service warm and is rubble with the closest member of the
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cabinet to garfield. he appoints a number of others of orders to other key positions in the cabinet. and then he appoints a number of others were neither half read nor stalwart. he appoints robert todd lincoln, lincoln's son to be the secretary of war. the feud between conkling and garfield takes out almost immediately. garfield appoints an enemy of conkling to be the port collector of new york. a judge by the name of william robertson. conkling says that you cannot of to that job, that the job that i control. garfield says -- i'm president. conkling says -- senatorial courtesy, a new york job, you can't do it without. -- without me. garfield says -- i just appointed him. conkling then says -- i will show you, i will resign from the senate. in the others editor from new york both quit, believing that
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the new york legislature will then reappoint him to come back to the senate and not only show garfield that i have some work, but you have got to get my guy in. the legislature refuses to real point. garfield use this as his first victory as president. it is a presidency, its executive power, it's the principle of senatorial courtesy being weakened compared to the power of the presidency. garfield almost wants nothing to do with chester arthur. does not allow him to come to cabinet meetings. the plight of african-americans is very much on his mind. he believes that education for the blacks for african-americans, is the key to quality of life and he appoints a number of them to key issues. frederick douglass, robert elliott, john langston, blanche
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quite a number of others. again, it will have said -- wow what a change. the next issue that he bases his the growing national federal debt. he looks at american treasury notes and realizes they are all help a new york ranks in the federal government takes 6% interest. he says -- i can do better. he goes to new york and tells the banks -- $200 million in federal notes that you are controlling it percent interest? the interest just changed to 3.5%. want to control these? drop your instant -- drop your interest rate. they are furious. they dropped the interest rate. it reminds me of the scene in the movie, dave, where kevin kline and charles roden said in the white house and rearrange the looks. garfield figures this out, goes to new york, suddenly saves millions is first because resident.
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lots of appointments, we don't have time to go into. one of the more fun ones, i think, we talked about him last week because he was one of the judges at the lincoln era see trial, general wallace. he is pointed to be the ambassador to chart. he says i am and pointing you to be an ambassador to a muslim country, write another book. >> he gets involved with an ohio senator named george pendleton. sadly reform only passes after his death. a good point for us to stop here and shift to the second character in our story. there's nothing better than this absolutely really and lawyer this architect to design his own house, a math edition who came up with an -- a pythagorean zero
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and that got published, etc. etc.. he was born in freeport, illinois to a french you cannot family. moved to new york as the young man because he wanted to go to nyu and is completely inadequately prepared and flunks the entrance exam. moves to ann arbor michigan, to take remedial versus and it's this after a couple of weeks deciding he is not good at school -- is phrase -- and joins a utopian religious sect known as the oneida community. in oneida, new york. they practice free love. and sexual freedoms, to put it mildly. group marriage. despite the fact that they have marriage and sexual freedom none of the women want anything to do with him and in act referred to him as charles get out.
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so, he feels slighted by this. he quits and he moves the hoboken, new jersey, where he attempts to start a newspaper that fails. he goes back, stays there for little while and is thrown out. he then gets married to a library. he accused -- abused her physically and verbally, they were constantly on the run going to motels and she ordering houses, skipping out on paying the bills. finally, after a short time, she left him because of his behavior. he then moves the gravitational -- moves to ohio where he somehow gets it -- somehow gets a law license and it is to read
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his business card that say charles, attorney at law. -- biggest the congressman is that were short time he had an office in the building with an elevator. he argues only one case, he loses and it gets thrown out. he spends most of his time as a lawyer and don't collector, which he does rather poorly. at one point he sues the herald 100 thousand dollars because they wrote an article about him saying that he had represented a client to get $350 back and he got half of that pocketed as his fee. the new york herald wrote about it and said -- do not disguise her bill collector. they sued, but he threw it out. he then decides to move in with his sister, francis, we -- he then attacked with an ax.
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in turn she tries to have him in the two schweiz is mentally disturbed, they say yes, he is, they find out lies and he runs away, deciding he will devote the rest of his life to god and becomes interested in theology writing of called -- the truth totally plagiarizing the writings of others 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 summarize him and then finds out that he would have to pay for it and says he cannot afford it. an event takes place in 1880 the changes his life, he's on a very ride on the long island sound on
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the ss stonington. it's a foggy, terrible night colliding with another ship. the narragansett catches on fire sinks, doesn't lose their lives, but he survived. he becomes convinced that this is proof that god has a higher plan for him. it is to get involved in politics. so, he writes this is why people should vote for grant. then garfield gets the nomination. he crosses up grant and rights -- garfield. that's the only change in the speech. he is then able to get a small audience to come listen to him in new york, but most of them walk out. about one to -- one dozen people show up to hear him. they walk out got my -- walkout but they are convinced that it
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is this speech that helped him get the electoral votes of new york and if it were not for this each, garfield would not be president and as a result he is elected as president he sends them a letter -- we won. we cleaned them out, just as i expected. so, then he writes and says -- ok, now that i got in as president, i want a job. spoils system. i want to be the ambassador to vienna. give him credit, he doesn't stick on that for long. he looks into vienna and then says -- i don't want it, i want to be the ambassador in paris. at the time, presidents met with job seekers. somehow he goes in and meet garfield in the white house and wrote on it paris consulship.
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he is convinced it's a matter of time. he's met the president, given the speech, he will be the next ambassador. he is somehow able to attend a reception at the white house where he's enzyme with mrs. orfield, going up to her saying -- i am the man most responsible for the president's election as resident and as a result i will be the next ambassador to harris. he is then told that any job wires form -- a formal application. he is now convinced that garfield book of the file and make himself and best to parents. a few days later he goes through the file and is told -- the president cannot see you today. he figures -- that means the
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president can see me tomorrow. so, he goes back to the white house a in and day out. he is meeting frequently with the president's staff outside. of course, they think of this man is not. he spends a lot of time sitting and laughing, 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. he said i would appreciate your help and at this point he is running out of paper for his letters. so, he goes to the rate hotel and starts ticking paper there. the clerk says -- you are stealing our paper. he says -- don't you know why
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am i will be the first in the editor and they do appreciate your help to become the next ambassador. he does this so often this a department says he can no longer and back, finally meets blame on the street and lane says that she were not going to get a job stop this nonsense. he then writes a letter to garfield in says how can the road of this guy, he's the and obviously he's not getting anywhere, writing a letter to the resident is a stopping on june 1, deciding that this is not going anywhere or working. but he has a visitor god and he
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did not think that this was murder or assassination. he is removing the president with someone who would do a good job. besides, he would not be guilty, god is in and then here's again. this is a photo of the smithsonian look at the gun. they just lost it. he goes to shop told that he has a choice of two guns board -- will british bulldog revolvers and says he would rather have a ivory because it was better in museum.
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we are again talking about mental illness. the next thing he needs to do is figure out how a gun were. if he goes out to the washington first time he shoots it he gets knocked over from the recoil because he has no idea what he is doing. ok, so now he has cited the president, so he starts stalking the president and waiting for the right opportunity. and in late may mrs. guru who and her temperature at one point reaches 104, she is cruelly.
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and so on june 18 garfield and mrs. garfield take a train to go to new jersey so that she can have convalescence from ole miss. he told those at the train station and decide to kill them. he sees mrs. garfield and is not doing well and does not want to upset her my only her husband while she is there. so, he decides not to kill him. and then on the 22nd complex one on washington. he is designed to be the beaker for williams college. to get up there take the train. he goes to the train station accompanied by blaine and two of
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his sons. here is the train station. today that is where the national gallery of art exists. my good friend eric, one of the curators at the national gallery, told me that somewhere there there is a plaque for where garfield shot. i have not seen it, it's somewhere there today. the next time i see eric i will ask him where it is. the secretary of war is at this nation to greet him. poor robert todd lincoln is at his father's bedside when his father dies in does it with mckinley in buffalo after he is shot and after that he says he never once another president again. garfield enters the waiting room and tells them to step forward, pulls the trigger from point length range and shoots garfield
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in the back. garfield yells out -- my god what is this. he throws up his arms. i forgot to mention, prior to shooting the president a few days earlier, he figured he would temporarily be arrested for this, so he went to the d.c. prisons to get a tour to see if this is an ok place for him to live and they would not let him in. he walked around the building a few times and you're it was ok. he gets to the train station by cap and tells the driver to wait. so the first bullet grazes garfield's shoulder. the second one hits him in the back. missing the spinal cord. the bullet lodges near the liver. it could not be found until after the autopsy, later found behind the pancreas. he then calmly puts the gun back in his pocket and turns to leave
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the station because he has a cap waiting for him. at this point a policeman by the name of patrick kearney jumps on him, wrestles him to the ground and is so excited that he has just wrestled the assassin of the resident that he forgets to take the gun away. they don't take that away until he gets back to the police nation. a crowd gathers yelling -- lynch him, lynch him. he then shouts -- i am stalwart of stalwart. i did it, i want to be arrested. this leads some people to do 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 where we will talk about conspiracy a lot, there is no conspiracy here , we have one very deranged human being acting alone area
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thinking that 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 olid in his back. his sons and blaine burst into tears, as does robert todd lincoln. lincoln says that how many hours have passed in this town? in less than five minutes of physician named smith townsend, the d.c. health commissioner, arrives at the train station. quick background, by this when in history joseph lister had already -- written extensively on the need for sanitation and the danger of sepsis caused by germs and the need not to put germs into patients. but there are many in america who do not believe this. we will come to this in a second
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particularly with the doctor who is going to be one of the lead figures in the story, dr. bliss. dr. townsend comes and decide the first thing to do is to take the bullet out. bullets can cause you harm if they are moving. if they get into you and have not caused the harm, you might arrive for a long time. he sticks his unwashed finger into garfield and this is the beginning of bad things. garfield is in tremendous pain, but is mostly concerned with how his wife will take the news. so, he personally dictates a telegram to be sent to her saying -- i'm ok 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. the mistake is that she calls for his own personal physician to come and be the position --
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her's another picture of the assassination. again, here is wayne standing bear, shooting guard will pretty much length area the man with a great first name of doctor. dr. dr. willard less. one of the attending physicians at lincoln's deathbed. called by robert todd lincoln to come and see what he can do. the list was one of the leading experts in america pose this. he had written a paper saying -- what do you mean a germs can harm you? if you cannot see them, they can cause you no harm. he immediately gets there and sticks his finger into garfield to see if he can find the bullet. he can't. so, he goes into his medical bag and pulls out a probe. one that had been used in another patient and have not been there lies or washed since
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and sticks it into garfield. into the back. then he tries to remove the probe, but it becomes engaged between fragment in the end of a rib. in order to get the probe out, he has to press down on the president's ribs so that he can 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 he can now find the lit and he cannot. at this point another doctor interestingly enough an african-american or -- how many of them were there in america at the time? is charles purvis and said he is seen enough. stop this. remarkably, they listened deciding to needed to move the president of the white house. so, everyone decide there is no way that garfield will survive the night.
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this is going to be fatal. but mrs. garfield says -- she is going to come down, not well she is going to come be with her husband if she can. 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 map and the engine -- and the engine malfunctions. the train continues for two more miles, ripping up the track, the engine almost 60. if it had exploded everyone on the train including mrs. garfield of and killed. somehow she gets to washington 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.
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despite all of the confusion going around, dr. bliss decides it's his turn to take command of the situation. he decides he is going to be in charge of everything. the medicine, who can see the president, what can be done, where he would the. high on his suspect list is people who believe in sepsis. anyone who believes that has right to see this patient. he found the notion of invisible germs to be ridiculous and refuse to even discuss it. for the next 80 days the country has a deathwatch, watching what's happening to president garfield bliss issues a statement, if i cannot save him, no one can. sitters the greatest threat to his health to be other doctors. who will get in his way.
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garfield's personal physician dr. baxter, shows up at the white house. bliss says -- i know why you are here, i won't tolerate, get out. baxter says -- i'm his personal physician. bliss says -- you were, but not because of this emergencies. bliss starts screaming at him. garfield is lying right next to him. dr. baxter realizes that his argument is not helping the president and walks away thereby conceding to bliss. baxter cries out -- i have been with the president for years and he is my friend. lis says that friendship is not enough. i president's doctor. other doctors later came and said that why was lis in charge? list said because both the president and mrs. garfield asked for him to be in charge.
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mrs. garfield later says they never came to that. she had two others in mind the first was a doctor named silas goldman, the president's first cousin and longtime childhood friend and close physician in ohio. bliss said -- i don't need you here, but if you must here you can be a nurse. the second doctor she wanted was her physician, a female physician by the name of. she was such a familiar presence in the white house garfield singh -- dr. edson, dr. edson, full of medicine, full of medicine. he loved her. list said that women are good to be nurses, not doctors. bliss was in charge. he issued daily bulletins on the president's health. his condition fluctuated. fevers came and went. he struggled to keep down solid food, spent most of the summer
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eating little, only liquid. 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, saying he would get better care in the white house. the summer of 1881 was one of the hottest american history up to that point. as a result, even worse plumbing system in the white house was over 100 years old. the pipes were disintegrating the basement was full of foul smells. the water flowing through the white house was foul. the building was close to the title basin area which is not what it looks like now. insects were around that summer. half of a dozen of the servants at the white house came down with malaria. to protect the president for malaria bliss said that he be
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given daily doses of quinine five grams to 10 grams. not only would that not be fatal, it can cause in test mode cramping, which caused further problems for the president's already ravaged digestive system. it was so hot that they decided to develop the first air conditioning system 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 president said he would rather have the heat than the noise. at this point it's time to introduce another one of the figures in our story. you know it's coming. alexander graham bell. of course a major figure by now because he had invented the telephone.
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he decided to be helpful and since bliss said the key thing was finding the lit and they did not have x-rays at the time, he decided to develop a metal detector to try and find the bullet that way. he worked feverishly to come up with a metal detector. and it worked. they pulled out a number of civil war veterans with bullets and then left over and they went click, there it is. they had something that looked like a telephone and it worked. he goes to bliss and says -- i can find the list. bliss says -- i don't believe you. he brings of the veterans, it worked. they taken to the white house, they put it down here he is with a new metal detector trying to find it. problem. the bullet went to the right? click, it works. they open the president, no bullet. he was on a spring, metal frame
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bed. it would have gone click no matter where they had it. so, it didn't work because it was not used properly because he was lying on the bed. garfield is that written for the summer. graham bell's thing doesn't work. they can't find the bullet. he's in extreme pain. he's starting to develop sipc mia. 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 is a danger to anyone near him. while doing the operation, bliss accidentally slices his finger and pus from the president gets into his finger and as result he gets what they then call pus fever and his hand swells up so much that dr. bliss has to put his hand in a sling for days
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afterward. garfield's weight drops from over 200 pounds to 130 pounds. he is not able to keep food down. list against the fear that he will die of starvation. he is unable to keep them any food other than oatmeal and the only food she hates is oatmeal. he is suffering from profound dehydration. he cannot keep liquids down. in these days he would be given an iv, in those days they didn't have it. he begins suffering from hallucinations. blood poisoning is causing even greater pain and problems. in the meantime whenever he is lucid he tells jokes, trying to be the model patient, he keeps particularly when mrs. garfield is around trying to put the best light up all of this. mrs. garfield suffers so much from the stress that her hair falls out so she only wears a
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scarf on her head or a hat when she comes to see him. finally it is decided to take them back to new jersey and to get out of the heat of washington. september a specially equipped train takes him new jersey in the believe, the hope, that maybe if he is at the seaside seeing the ocean will somehow revive him. unfortunately, new infections set in, as well as bouts of angina. monday, 1881 at 10:20 he suffers a massive heart attack and aneurysm following blood poisoning and bronchial pneumonia. dr. bliss unsuccessfully tries to revive the fading president with medication. garfield's final words are -- my work is done. this is garfield leans over her dying husband and yells -- why was i made to suffer such a
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cruel wrong. he is pronounced dead at 10:35 the morning by dr. bliss. obviously, vice president chester arthur becomes the next president. garfield's body is taken back to washington, where it lays in state in the rotunda before being taken to cleveland where he is finally buried on september 26. he is survived by his mother eliza, who dies seven years later in 1888 and lucretia, who survives him for 36 years, living a quiet and seemingly comfortable life. the five children who grew into adulthood all did very well. the elvis became a lawyer and professor of government at princeton and like his father, became a university president.
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james became a lawyer and would service secretary of the interior under teddy roosevelt. erwin became a lawyer. april became an architect. molly's daughter, mary was her name but everyone called molly she married the presidents top assistant, he was very close to garfield. he becomes a very successful investment banker. so, the kids do very, very well. most historians, doctors, and everyone that i read about this the same conclusion, that garfield was certainly have survived if the doctors had left him alone. the bullet was lodged in fatty tissues and within a week or two, he would have been out walking and fine.
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had garfield been shut 15 years later, the bullet would have it found quickly with the next ray machine. he would have been treated with nsf surgery. by then, america bought into lister. but at the time, they didn't. he would have been back in a matter of days or weeks. unfortunately for garfield, most americans at the time did not understand antisepsis and the need for cleanliness to prevent infection. in addition, all the probes likely punctured his liver. they had erroneously probed right word when the bullet went leftward. the autopsy also revealed pneumonia in both lungs and was filled with so much parse that it was uncontrolled septicemia.
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chester arthur was in new york when he discovered the president had died. arthur was known as a man of leisure. he liked fine wines and dinner parties. he spent a lot of time grooming that mustache and those sideburns. he was very proud of them. his wife had died shortly before. roscoe conkling at the time had a place in new york. that is who he was living with. when he first got the news arthur's first comment was, i hope my god 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 will come back to him what we're go over what happened to the various folks.
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the case of united states versus charlesgate toe began in november, less than a month after garfield's death. america's greatest fear would -- was that guiteau would be let off, that he would have a plea of insanity and that he would be let off. the insanity defense at the time was known and was used. for quite a while he could not find an attorney to represent him because no one wanted to represent the assassin of a president. finally, he got scoville. that is not who you want as your attorney. he was a patent attorney. he had never tried a criminal case. that is also not what you want.
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he was however the only attorney willing to take the case. scoville said, if i did not think the unfortunate man was insane, i would not have an -- would not have defended him at all. as hard as it was to find an attorney it was equally hard to find jurors because everyone in america thought which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] -- everyone thought he was guilty. they interviewed close to 200 people before they finally came up with 12. the trial was an enormous block it washington. you needed to gets to get in. even journalists needed tickets to get into see the trial. guiteau began his defense by asking if he could give a statement. and his statement said he wanted to indict the president's true murderers, the doctors. he said i was the shooter.
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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. id. neither 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 are a jack asked. i must tell you that in public, i'm sorry to say, but you are a jack asked. 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
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sing john rounds party. he claimed that he was not guilty because it was god's will that he shot the president and therefore he was just carrying this out. replace the ad in "the new york herald," a personal for a young lady of wealth belonging to a first-class family. he was looking to see if he could get married because of this. his says that the lady should send them letters which you would treat in utmost confidence. he couldn't understand that the public was angry at him, even when to attempt were made to assassinate him when he was leaving the court, including a man by the name of william macy who got close enough to shoot him. but shot and got his coat but did not hit guiteau himself.
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as the trial wore on, he began to say that he was saying before the inset -- the assassination, insane just prior and during and sane again. therefore, he should be released probably -- promptly, and given a job as a vassar to paris. -- as ambassador to paris. you know once you set your sights on a job, you should try to keep it. then he began to prepare to get on the lecture tour -- ok, this is the picture. he allowed photos to be taken, which he would autograph for payment. woody allen once said that his grandfather had this marvelous watch, which he sold to him on his deathbed. what is payment when you are on
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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 unanimous verdict in less than an hour, generate 25th 1882, finding him guilty. and when the verdict was issued, there was tremendous applause. he then appealed and wrote a letter to president arthur saying, the only reason you are resident -- [laughter] is because of me. if i haven't -- if i hadn't shot him, you wouldn't be president. view oh me -- you owe me two things. pardon me -- and by the way, i need a job. obviously, this did not happen. he was hanged on june 30, 1882. three days short of the second anniversary of the assassination of garfield.
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he wrote a lengthy upon which he said was really not a power impaired it was a song and he asked for an orchestra to play so he could sing his song on the way to the gallows. he was allowed to read the poem but there was no orchestra. two more matters before we get into questions. remarkably, chester arthur turned out to be a far better president than anyone, especially chester arthur, could have predicted. he was the collector of the port. the first thing he did was broke off contact with conkling and he said you are corrupt. i want nothing to do with you. conkling was angry by this. chester arthur then worked with a senator from ohio to draft and pass the pendleton civil service act, creating tests for people
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to get jobs and to create the civil service commission. only 10% of federal jobs are covered in the beginning. obvious a, it's at the whole stage for everything we have in washington now. and it passed in january 1883. it is the legacy of garfield because of his passing. conkling 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 who he had created and he went back to his room sick with rage. he felt this but trail was worse than when the legislature had not renamed him to be senator for new york. arthur was an honest, decent president. for the times, he did a good enough job. the republicans did not renominate him for president after his term ended.
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and instead, the republicans nominated james blaine who ran against grover cleveland. grover cleveland turned out to be the only democrat elected between abraham lincoln in 1860 and woodrow wilson in 1912. cleveland was elected twice, but the only democrat elected president. arthur moves back to new york where he is diagnosed suffering from brights disease an excruciatingly painful kidney disease, fatal at the time, and dies at the age of 56. conkling then goes and gives a speech at a funeral or ration at chester arthur's funeral and refers to him as his accidents he -- his accidency. conkling ghosted his girlfriends house in new york and falls and
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dies. our famous physician hopes this case were tremendously thrust him into the leadership of the medical profession in america. obviously, the exact opposite happened. the entire medical community in the united states turned on him. within months after guard fields death, the surgical journal printed an article criticizing bliss or not doing too little, but for doing too much. bliss has done more to cast mistrust upon american surgery than in any medical history. a medical journal concluded that none of the injuries inflicted by the assassins bullet would necessarily fatal. that the listeria and method of world treatment would have prevented the death of the president. another medical journal ended their criticism of dr. bliss by quoting thomas gray who had
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written a century earlier "ignorance is bliss." bliss rejected this criticism and said no one in the country could have treated the president better and, as a result, sent a bill to the congress for $25,000. at the time, that was enormous. congress debated the matter and agree to give him $6,500. he was so outrageous that -- he was so outraged that he turned it down. seven years later he would die following a stroke, never recovering his hells -- his health, his practice or his reputation. the outrage at the president's assassination did not focus on the fact that there was no guarding of the president. it wasn't until after mckinley's death that they established the secret service to guard the
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president, something we will 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. and hundreds of thousands of people waited hours in the rain to walk past the president's casket in the rotunda. in cleveland, more than 100 50,000 people, which was equal to the entire population of the city came to the president's funeral and to pay their respects. a wreath was sent to the united states by queen victoria and it adorned his coffin as it was taken to its final resting place. he was permanently interred, was moved in 1890, and ultimately
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misses garfield joined him when she was buried as well. as i walked over here from my office, i walked past this, the garfield memorial in front of the house of representatives which i keep referring to my day job as making house calls. my father was a physician. he made real house calls. on the type of doctor that you call if you need footnotes. but i walked daily pass the garfield statue. it is a nine foot bras statue on the west side of the capital, right near the helicopter land pad. it will occur to you on the way home. the gyro cocked her -- the gyro copter, i'm sorry. there are three male figures below the statue of garfield, each five feet in height representing the various stages
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of his life -- a scholar, a soldier, and a statesman. i've gone on long enough. last week, the pictures were -- the questions were far better than the talk. so i would be glad to entertain some questions. [applause] >> when the president was dying, who was running the country? during the 80 days when the president was dying, who was running the country? >> that is such an excellent question and you are 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. blaine said should we name chester arthur to be acting president?
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and they all felt this was a bad idea. so they didn't. and arthur stayed in new york. 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 and i believe the 22nd amendment. woodrow wilson's incapacitation or the second year before his life, determining who can see the president. she fires the secretary of state because she doesn't like lansing. so almost no one was running the question -- the country. it is a really good question that does not really have an answer. >> a couple things. why wasn't he taken to a hospital? and also, what is the story of
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chester arthur? what were his credentials? where did he go to college? professor nurnberg or: dr. blessed did not want him to go to the hospital. bliss felt, if you went to the husband, he would lose control of the case. he felt what better than to make the white house a hospital with one patient, with all these helpers around. so bliss was the one who turned down the idea the hospital. there is not much that a hospital in those days would have done that they could not have done for him in the white house anyway. if they needed something from the hospital, they would bring it over. in terms of chester arthur, i don't know his credentials. he never ran for political office before. the only job i knew he had was the port director of new york. it was a correct -- it was a corrupt position.
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so when he became president and did a relatively good job, everyone and including chester arthur, were surprised. >> i spoke to you a little bit last time. i am an infectious disease specialist. >> i-30 were not going to make it today. >> we changed our plans to make it here today. i can comment a little bit on the premise. i agree pretty much with what you said. if they had left him alone his chances would have improved significantly. still, you've got to remember that a bullet traveling at relatively low speed would not create the kind of heat to create sterile conditions. they're so might have been a chance without antibiotics he could have died from infection. but certainly he was doomed from
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the time that lists stop -- that bliss stuck his finger in there. i will 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. so here it did take a while for american physicians to adopt listeria methods. i am also a civil war reenactor. i portrayed dr. bliss before. in my defense, at the time of the civil war, this predated all the bad stuff.
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the reason i portrayed him is he was also the commanding officer or armories where hospital where the first doctor to take care of lincoln served under dr. bliss. leo was 23 so i could not portray him. >> very good presentation. i'm so delighted you came back. i'm just surprised and delighted to. >> i have a couple of facts here and out of four presidents lincoln, mckinley, they were shot on a friday. garfield than reagan were shot a hundred years apart and both guys that shot him were mentally ill. >> and they kept guiteau in saint elizabeth's rather than a prison. which i think is where they also kept hinkley. >> yes.
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's>> there is so many of these coincidence is. kennedy was shot in a ford and lincoln was shot in ford's theater. kennedy's secretary was named mrs. lincoln and yeah -- and both kennedy and lincoln were replaced by vice presidents named johnson. i'm sorry? >> [indiscernible] >> almost 10 years to the day, exactly, yeah. ok. yes, sir, here in the front. >> i have a short question. didn't he have a chief of staff or any presidential advisers? >> not the way we know it today. he had a secretary, mr. brown, who was his surrogate son and who married his daughter. but they had much smaller staff.
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they relied on their cabinet a lot more. today, presidents don't rely on their cabinets as much. i'm trying to think of when obama had a cabinet meeting point all the cabinet members come together. they did that all the time. so his staff was more the cabinet. there was no national security council. there was no domestic policy adviser for the president. it was much smaller and similar. -- simpler. great question. >> you mentioned how free installer? >> those are the two names used. both names were nicknames used for the republican wing of the party. >> given the examples of garfield's brilliance, how is he rated or ranked as a president or was his term to brief?
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>> his term was to shore. -- his term was too short. they never had time to do anything. with garfield, it is this unlimited potential that is wiped out. the one we are going to discuss next week, make and lay, more people -- the more people are looking at him, the better his ratings are going. during the presidency of mckinley -- we will talk about this next week -- the united states moved from being just a domestic country to be coming a world international player. so mckinley's ratings are going up. garfield's don't really count. tarzan, it was good to see you. yes, claudia. >> at the very beginning of your talk, he said something i thought was interesting. >> just at the beginning.
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[laughter] >> i was so mesmerized by that one thing. many, many interesting things, as you know. you said that he was opposed to slavery, called it evil. and that he specifically talked about education for african americans. yet you said he was not an abolitionist. you want to help us understand that piece? >> he viewed the abolitionists as trying to end slavery through violence and he did not think that was the right way to go about it. as soon as the civil war broke out, -- when the civil war broke out, lincoln try to make a case that the civil war was to preserve the union. garfield said, no, the civil war is to end slavery. he really in his gut felt it was
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wrong. i'm so glad we have these questions. >> can you think of any specific ways the country's history would have been different if garfield had done one or even two terms? >> what a great question. historians love the what if. if you wonder what is it historians do when they're sitting around and nobody is paying attention, we play the what if game. that is a great question. if garfield had survived and served out his term, i think he might have been able to restructure the way reconstruction was going. it was going terribly. grant was not good on it. hayes was worse. hayes withdrew the troops that were protecting the
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african-americans in the south. garfield understood their plight and wanted to educate them. could he have overcome the racism that existed in the south? probably not. but could he have helped increase literacy among african-americans at the time which was well off -- well under 30% and he was talking about education for them -- could he have improved the scientific methods used by american farmers in agriculture to improve production, to improve the economy of the country? probably. he was very interested in financial matters. could he have helped america to become more prosperous? that was something he would have worked on. he certainly wanted to move forward with the civil service reform. whether he had would have passed it or got it passed? i don't know. it wasn't moving until he had died. so those are the issues he was focusing on.
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certainly looking back on him and particularly reading his inaugural address, you get the impression that he had some really good ideas and he was a legislative strategist. it is all most like lyndon johnson knowing how to work things through the system. he had been in commerce for 18 years. he knew how it worked. he might have been able to get more done than somebody like rutherford hayes who antagonized everyone in congress. great question. >> yes, i was wondering -- >> i'm sorry. >> i was wondering if grant would he considered a halfbreed or a stalwart? and if the reason that conkling wanted grant is because he thought he was somebody who could be elected and would have been well known and well loved as the general of the union army or because he thought he was somebody he could control. >> you just answered your own question with the last sentence. grant was not well.
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conkling felt he would have been his guy. grant did not want to run for president. conkling convinced him to run for president. conkling felt, if grant were elected president it would have been because of conkling and he would have been the deaf act of president. grant was neither stalwart nor halfbreed. he was sort of above it all. he was not a particularly strong president. particularly when you look at reconstruction during this period, a lot of problems when you look at corruption during this period when people look back on corrupt presidencies they jump out with grant and harding as the ones who lead the list. an ill grant, weakened by bad health, not doing well would not have been a strong figure elected in 1880.
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conkling felt that the only reason he was pushing grant was not because it was grand, but he wanted to block blaine. he just wanted to make sure blaine didn't get it. >> can you say more about how he could be serving -- >> microphone, please. >> how he can be serving in the civil war and be elected to congress and he could not be there? did it happen a lot and how did that work? >> anyone can be elected to congress. if you just look down the block. [laughter] anyone can be elected to congress as long as they are 25 years of age and residents of the state they live in and resident of the state in the senate. you don't necessarily have to show up. today, they count votes. you get elected.
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it doesn't necessarily mean you have to show up. obviously, if you do not show up enough, your constituents won't reelect you. but since he was a significant general in the civil war everyone understood he wasn't physically there. i want to find out what is happening in the hockey game, so next week, mckinley, another set of fascinating stories. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend. like us on facebook at c-spanhistory. each week, american history tv's real america


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