Skip to comments.1882: Charles Guiteau, James Garfield’s colorful assassin
Posted on 06/29/2020 9:10:06 PM PDT by CheshireTheCat
On this date in 1882, Americas weirdest assassin recited fourteen verses of the Gospel of Matthew and (sans requested orchestral accompaniment) a poem of his own composition entitled I am Going to the Lordy, and was hanged in the District of Columbia jail for shooting forgettable Gilded Age president James Garfield.
Mad as a march hare, Charles Julius Guiteau had irritated the obscure reaches of the Republic near four decades, trying his hand at free love, law, newspapering* and evangelism....Having failed at each characteristic American monkeyshine more comprehensively than the last, he naturally gravitated to politics; while today Guiteau might tilt with his psychoses on some vituperative blog, in 1880 he published and delivered as a speech a widely-ignored crackpot encomium** for his eventual victim. Guiteau reckoned the GOP carried the 1880 elections on the strength of such rhetorical thunderbolts as some people say he [Garfield] got badly soiled in that Credit Mobilier transaction but I guess he is clean-handed.
Stunned that his contributions did not earn him a diplomatic posting to France, Guiteau stepped out of obscurity and into this blogs pages by shooting the ungrateful (and unguarded) executive in the back at a Washington, D.C. train station (since demolished, and today occupied by the National Gallery of Art)...
(Excerpt) Read more at executedtoday.com ...
Today he would be in prison for 20 years waiting while his appeals ran out, and then some judge would find a technicality, and there would be more appeals, and so on and on . . .
I don’t know if this usage is still used. In older texts, Garfield was assassinated on July 2, 1881, but didn’t die until September 19, 1881. Thus the assassination is the fatal attack, but not the death of the victim.
The guy sounds like a Bernie Bot.
The dude was crazier than an outhouse rat. (I cleaned that up a bit.) He was probably the only presidential assassin who was legitimately 100% bat-fecal matter nuts. He should have been sent to an asylum. In any event, as he noted in one of his lucid moments; “I only shot him (Garfield). His doctors killed him.”
Giteau didn’t kill Garfield. He just put a bullet hole in him. It was the doctor’s lack of sterilized practice that killed him. They stuck too many dirty fingers in the wound until it became septic. It was the septicemia that killed him.
July 1, 1882 edition of the New York Tribune.
I dont appreciate the flippancy of the headline. Youre right: he wasnt colorful; he was instance. My eyes welled up a couple times reading Destiny of the Republic. Theres no telling how grievous the damage to our country the loss of this great and good man was. And he certainly didnt deserve to die like a miserable dog at the hands of his incompetent treating physician. That guy should have been charged with manslaughter
Forgettable? He was one of the most brilliant men ever elected to the presidency. He was a college president and a general in the Union Army in the civil war. He could write with both hands simultaneously, one writing in Latin and the other in Greek. The fact that he was assassinated just a few months into his first term may be why many people dont know that much about him but he was anything but forgettable.
Robert Lincoln, Abe’s son, was present when this happened. I believe it was after this that he avoided being in the presence of a President. I think he thought himself a jinx of sorts.
I have been watching a lot of videos lately on Jim Jones cult that killed over 900 people. Giteau was named as a member of another ‘Peoples’s Temple’-like cult by one of Jim Jones’ biographers.
The doctors also tried to use a metal detector to find the bullet, but declared the machine useless as it kept beeping at everything. They forgot he was on a bed with a metal frame. So they kept probing blindly trying to find the bullet.
I agree. We listened to “Destiny of the Republic” on audiobook earlier this year, because one of my sons was interested in Charles Guiteau. I had no idea what a great man James Garfield was, and I’m really glad we took the time to find out.
You’re right; I’ve read that the mourning rivaled that for Lincoln.
Great Johnny Cash song: “Mister Garfield”
Wait! What? Hanged with a noose? A noose? Wasn’t that racist?
Here’s an old song about Charles Guiteau and his journey to the SKAY-fold...
Robert Todd Lincoln’s strange luck reared its head again in 1901. Lincoln traveled to Buffalo at the invitation of President William McKinley to attend the Pan-American Exposition. Although he arrived a bit late to the event, Lincoln was on his way to meet McKinley when anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot the president twice at close range.
Ah, I think that was the incident that made him decide not to be around US Presidents.
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