Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Moment for James Garfield

While you all are busy celebrating Independence Day here in the United States, Bahia, or Belarus, take a moment to reflect on poor old James Abram Garfield, who was shot on this date in 1881 by Charles Guiteau.

Apparently, Garfield (who had the second shortest presidency after William Henry Harrison) would've been one of our better presidents if he had lived. Nevertheless, he appointed more Supreme Court Justices than presidents Carter, Taylor, or Johnson. President Garfield argued for a bi-metal monetary system, modernizing agriculture, educating the electorate, and greater civil rights for African Americans. He also proposed civil service reform to decrease the number of jobs filled due to political patronage. However it was not until his assassination that these reforms would get the necessary push to be passed. Charles Guiteau, who had expected a job in the government for supporting the Republican Party's nominee, took out his frustrations by shooting Garfield. The president would later die of his wounds on September 19th.  

Before being featured in the musical Assassins, Charlie inspired a folk song about his exploits:

On an unrelated note, today is also the 140th anniversary of the fall of Rome to the Italian Army.

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